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SB-385 Public Utilities Commission: reports.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/04/2017 04:00 AM
SB385:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 03, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 385


Introduced by Senator Hueso

February 14, 2017


An act to amend Section 1103 Sections 421, 776, 883, 913.9, 1103, and 1202 of, and to add Section 911.2 Sections 381.4, 911.2, and 916.5 to, and to repeal Sections 765.7 and 7937 of, the Public Utilities Code, relating to natural gas. the Public Utilities Commission.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 385, as amended, Hueso. Natural gas storage wells. Public Utilities Commission: reports.
(1) The California Constitution establishes the Public Utilities Commission and authorizes the commission to exercise ratemaking and rulemaking authority over all public utilities, as defined, subject to control by the Legislature. Existing law requires the commission to report various information to the Legislature.
This bill would recast certain of the commission’s reporting requirements to an article within the Public Utilities Act pertaining to reports by the commission to the Legislature and make other conforming changes.
(2) Existing law requires the commission to submit to the Legislature by January 1, 1993, and on each January 1 thereafter, a detailed budget for expenditure of railroad corporation fees for the ensuing budget year.
This bill would recast that provision to the article within the Public Utilities Act pertaining to reports by the commission to the Legislature.
(3) Existing law requires the commission or the California State Auditor’s Office, as specified, to, commencing with the 1993–94 fiscal year and in each subsequent fiscal year until the 1999–2000 fiscal year, conduct an audit of the expenditure of specified funds. Existing law requires the results of these audits to be reported, in writing, to the appropriate policy and budget committees of the respective houses of the Legislature.
This bill would repeal those provisions.
(4) Existing law requires the commission, in conjunction with the California Environmental Protection Agency, to request, no later than July 1, 1992, the appropriate federal agencies to take specified actions relating to hazardous substances and materials. Existing law requires the commission to report to the Legislature on the status of its requests no later than September 30, 1992, and every 6 months thereafter until September 30, 1995.
This bill would repeal these provisions.
(5) Existing law requires the commission to, in a single rulemaking or other appropriate proceeding, not to exceed 18 months in duration, consider the need for performance reliability standards for all backup power systems installed on the property of residential and small commercial customers by a facilities-based provider of telephony services. Existing law requires the commission, before January 1, 2008, to prepare and submit to the Legislature a report on the results of the proceeding.
This bill would repeal these provisions.
(6) Existing law requires the commission to, on or before February 1, 2001, issue an order initiating an investigation and opening a proceeding to examine the current and future definitions of universal service. Existing law requires the commission to complete its investigation and report to the Legislature its findings and recommendations on or before January 1, 2002.
This bill would repeal the provision requiring the commission to take those actions on or before January 1, 2002.
(7) Existing law requires the commission to report annually on its efforts to identify ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar to programs administered by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority.
This bill would instead require the commission to, on or before December 31, 2018, and biennially thereafter, identify and report to the Legislature on electrical and gas corporation ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar to programs administered by those state agencies.
(8) Existing law provides that it is the intent of the Legislature that the commission may authorize specified pilot programs relating to rail crossings prior to January 1, 2003, and requires the commission to report to the Legislature by March 31, 2004, on the outcome of those pilot programs.
This bill would repeal those provisions.
(9) Existing law requires the commission to, on or before March 1, 2000, request from each telephone corporation doing business in this state that possesses one or more telephone number prefixes, or a portion thereof, the specific telephone numbers and the quantities within the possession of the provider, both in use and not in use. Existing law requires the commission to use that information and any other information required by the commission, to prepare and submit to the Legislature, on or before, July 1, 2001, a study of telecommunications industry use rates.
This bill would repeal those provisions.

Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including gas corporations. The Public Utilities Act prohibits any gas corporation from beginning the construction of, among other things, a line, plant, or system, or of any extension thereof, without having first obtained from the commission a certificate that the present or future public convenience and necessity require or will require that construction. Existing law requires, if a new underground gas storage facility is proposed, the commission to ensure that a risk assessment evaluating the potential impact of a leak from the facility on public and environmental health, safety, and welfare is conducted by the project proponent, as specified. Existing law requires that the findings of any risk assessment conducted pursuant to these provisions be subjected to peer review by independent experts and reported to the Legislature, as specified

This bill would move the requirement that the report be submitted to the Legislature to a part of the code where commission reports to the Legislature are listed.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 381.4 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

381.4.
 The commission shall require an electrical or gas corporation to revise a ratepayer-funded energy efficiency program identified pursuant to Section 913.9 as necessary to ensure that the program compliments and does not duplicate a program administered by a state agency.

SEC. 2.

 Section 421 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

421.
 (a) The commission shall annually determine a fee to be paid by every passenger stage corporation, charter-party carrier of passengers, pipeline corporation, for-hire vessel operator, common carrier vessel operator, railroad corporation, and commercial air operator, and every other common carrier and related business subject to the jurisdiction of the commission, except as otherwise provided in Article 3 (commencing with Section 431) of this chapter and Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 5001) of Division 2.
(b) The annual fee shall be established to produce a total amount equal to the amount established in the authorized commission budget for the same year, including adjustments appropriated by the Legislature and an appropriate reserve, to regulate common carriers and related businesses, less the amount to be paid from special accounts or funds pursuant to Section 403, reimbursements, federal funds, other revenues, and unencumbered funds from the preceding year.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the fees paid by railroad corporations shall be used for state-funded railroad investigation and enforcement activities of the commission, other than the rail safety activities funded by the Transportation Planning and Development Account pursuant to Section 99315. The railroad fees shall be set annually at a level which that generates not less than the amount sufficient to fund activities pursuant to Sections 765.5, 916.2, and 7712.
(d) On January 1, 1992, the commission shall submit to the Legislature a detailed budget implementing this section for the 1992–93 fiscal year. The commission shall also submit to the Legislature by January 1, 1993, and on each January 1 thereafter, a detailed budget for expenditure of railroad corporation fees for the ensuing budget year. The budget for expenditure of railroad corporation fees, for each of the 1996–97 and 1997–98 fiscal years, shall not exceed the amount of three million dollars ($3,000,000). Expenditures of this the detailed budget for the expenditure of railroad corporation fees submitted to the Legislature pursuant to Section 916.5 shall be limited to the following items:
(1) Expenditures for employees occupying, and actually performing service in, railroad-safety personnel positions that are directly involved in inspecting railroads and enforcing rail safety regulations. The commission shall expend the funds budgeted pursuant to this subdivision for the salaries, per diem, and travel expenses of employees specified in this paragraph, unless, by statute, the commission is specifically prohibited from expending all or part of those funds.
(2) Expenditures for employees occupying, and actually performing service in, clerical and support staff positions that are directly associated with railroad-safety inspections.
(3) Expenditures for legal personnel who actually pursue violations of rail safety regulations beyond the informal complaint level.

(4)Expenditures for an audit by the California State Auditor’s Office pursuant to subdivision (f), not to exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000).

(5)

(4) Expenditures for the pro rata share of the commission’s overhead costs while state personnel are actually occupying the positions, positions and are performing the duties specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), (3), inclusive.
(e) The Department of Finance shall notify the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, pursuant to Section 28.00 of the annual Budget Act, prior to authorizing any change in the Budget Act appropriation for railroad corporation fees that is larger than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), or 10 percent of the amount budgeted, whichever is less.

(f)Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, commencing with the 1993–94 fiscal year, and in each subsequent fiscal year until the 1999–2000 fiscal year, the commission shall conduct an audit of the expenditure of the funds received pursuant to this section, except that for the 1996–97 fiscal year and fiscal years thereafter the audit shall be conducted by the California State Auditor’s Office. The results of this audit shall be reported, in writing, commencing on or before February 15, 1995, with respect to the audit for the 1993–94 fiscal year, and on or before January 15 of each year thereafter, with respect to the audit for the fiscal year ending on the previous June 30, to the appropriate policy and budget committees of the respective houses of the Legislature. The commission shall reimburse the California State Auditor’s Office for the costs of the audits beginning with the 1996–97 fiscal year.

(g)

(f) On or before January 1, 1994, the commission shall hire a minimum of four additional operating practices inspectors, exclusive of supervisory personnel, who are, or shall become by July 1, 1994, federally certified, for the purpose of enforcing compliance by railroads operating in this state with state and federal safety regulations.

(h)

(g) The commission, in performing its duties, shall limit the expenditure of funds for rail safety purposes to those railroad corporation fees collected pursuant to subdivision (d). In no event, shall the commission fund railroad safety activities utilizing funds from other commission accounts unrelated to railroad safety.

SEC. 3.

 Section 765.7 of the Public Utilities Code is repealed.
765.7.

The commission, in conjunction with the California Environmental Protection Agency, shall request, no later than July 1, 1992, the appropriate federal agencies to do all of the following:

(a)Investigate and review other chemical compounds not presently considered to be hazardous or toxic for possible reclassification as hazardous substances.

(b)Require the use of safer cars in rail transportation of all hazardous materials.

(c)Increase the amount of information required on the manifest with regard to any hazardous materials being transported so as to be capable of being understood by personnel involved in emergency, and include information on environmental effects.

(d)The commission shall report to the Legislature on the status of its requests no later than September 30, 1992, and every six months thereafter until September 30, 1995.

SEC. 4.

 Section 776 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

776.
 (a) The commission shall, in a single rulemaking or other appropriate proceeding, not to exceed 18 months in duration, consider the need for performance reliability standards and, upon making the determination pursuant to subdivision (c), develop and implement performance reliability standards, standards for all backup power systems installed on the property of residential and small commercial customers by a facilities-based provider of telephony services. Those standards shall do all the following:
(1) Establish minimum operating life.
(2) Establish minimum periods of time during which a telephone system with a charged backup power system will provide the customer with sufficient electricity for emergency usage.
(3) Establish means to warn a customer when the backup power system’s charge is low or when the system can no longer hold a charge.
(b) The commission, in developing and implementing any standards in accordance with subdivision (a), shall consider current best practices and technical feasibility for establishing battery backup requirements.
(c) The commission shall not implement standards in accordance with this section unless it determines that the benefits of the standards exceed the costs.

(d)Before January 1, 2008, the commission shall prepare and submit to the Legislature a report on the results of the proceeding.

SEC. 5.

 Section 883 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

883.
 (a) The commission shall, on or before February 1, 2001, issue an order initiating an investigation and opening a proceeding to examine the current and future definitions of universal service. That proceeding shall include public hearings that encourage participation by a broad and diverse range of interests from all areas of the state, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Consumer groups.
(2) Communication service providers, including all providers of high-speed access services.
(3) Facilities-based telephone providers.
(4) Information service providers and Internet access providers.
(5) Rural and urban users.
(6) Public interest groups.
(7) Representatives of small and large businesses and industry.
(8) Local agencies.
(9) State agencies, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) The Government Operations Agency.
(B) The State Department of Education.
(C) The State Department of Public Health.
(D) The California State Library.
(10) Colleges and universities.
(b) The objectives of the proceeding set forth in subdivision (a) shall include all of the following:
(1) To investigate the feasibility of redefining universal service in light of current trends toward accelerated convergence of voice, video, and data, with an emphasis on the role of basic telecommunications and Internet services in the workplace, in education and workforce training, access to health care, and increased public safety.
(2) To evaluate the extent to which technological changes have reduced the relevance of existing regulatory regimes given their current segmentation based upon technology.
(3) To receive broad-based input from a cross section of interested parties and make recommendations on whether video, data, and Internet service providers should be incorporated into an enhanced Universal Lifeline Service program, as specified, including relevant policy recommendations regarding regulatory and statutory changes and funding options that are consistent with the principles set forth in subdivision (c) of Section 871.7.
(4) To reevaluate prior definitions of basic service in a manner that will, to the extent feasible, effectively incorporate the latest technologies to provide all California residents with all of the following:
(A) Improved quality of life.
(B) Expanded access to public and private resources for education, training, and commerce.
(C) Increased access to public resources enhancing public health and safety.
(D) Assistance in bridging the “digital divide” through expanded access to new technologies by low income, disabled, or otherwise disadvantaged Californians.
(5) To assess projected costs of providing enhanced universal lifeline service in accordance with the intent of this article, and to delineate the subsidy support needed to maintain the redefined scope of universal service in a competitive market.
(6) To design and recommend an equitable and broad-based subsidy support mechanism for universal service in competitive markets in a manner that conforms with subdivision (c) of Section 871.7.
(7) To develop a process to periodically review and revise the definition of universal service to reflect new technologies and markets consistent with subdivision (c) of Section 871.7.
(8) To consider whether similar regulatory treatment for the provision of similar services is appropriate and feasible.
(c) In conducting its investigation, the commission shall take into account the role played by a number of diverse but convergent industries and providers, even though many of these entities are not subject to economic regulation by the commission or any other government entity.
(d) The recommendations of the commission shall be consistent with state policies for telecommunications as set forth in Section 709, and with all of the following principles:
(1) Universal service shall, to the extent feasible, be provided at affordable prices regardless of linguistic, cultural, ethnic, physical, financial, and geographic considerations.
(2) Consumers shall be provided access to all information needed to allow timely and informed choices about telecommunications products and services that are part of the universal service program and how best to use them.
(3) Education, health care, community, and government institutions shall be positioned as early recipients of new and emerging technologies so as to maximize the economic and social benefits of these services.

(e)The commission shall complete its investigation and report to the Legislature its findings and recommendations on or before January 1, 2002.

SECTION 1.SEC. 6.

 Section 911.2 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

911.2.
 The commission shall report the findings of any risk assessment required by Section 1103 to the Legislature.

SEC. 7.

 Section 913.9 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

913.9.
 The On or before December 31, 2018, and biennially thereafter, the commission shall identify and report annually on its efforts to identify to the Legislature on electrical and gas corporation ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar to programs administered by the Energy Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority in its annual report prepared pursuant to Section 913 and to require revisions to ratepayer-funded programs as necessary to ensure that the ratepayer-funded programs complement and do not duplicate programs of other state agencies. Authority, and on those programs revised pursuant to Section 381.4.

SEC. 8.

 Section 916.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

916.5.
 By January 1 of each year, the commission shall submit to the Legislature a detailed budget for the expenditure of railroad corporation fees for the ensuing budget year, consistent with Section 421.

SEC. 2.SEC. 9.

 Section 1103 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

1103.
 (a) If a new underground gas storage facility is proposed, the commission shall ensure that a risk assessment evaluating the potential impact of a leak from the facility on public and environmental health, safety, and welfare is conducted by the project proponent. Both acute and chronic exposures from a range of expected emissions and emissions rates shall be evaluated. The evaluation shall include consideration of population density in proximal communities, environmentally sensitive areas, emergency response times, evacuation times, possible leak duration, possible chemical species emitted, and local meteorology.
(b) In evaluating the potential risks and impacts of acute and chronic exposures from emissions from a proposed new gas storage facility, the project proponent shall assess or cause to be assessed risks associated with the proposed facility’s proximity to any living quarters, including private homes, condominiums, apartments, retirement homes, prisons, dormitories, or other housing; education resources, including preschools and schools operating kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive; day care centers; and health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care and hospice facilities. Based on the risk analysis, appropriate setbacks to the listed structure types shall be determined by the commission.
(c) The risk assessment conducted pursuant to this section shall be subjected to peer review by independent experts whose demonstrated expertise includes, but is not limited to, the fields of public health, epidemiology, and toxicology.
(d) The findings of any risk assessment required by this section shall be reported pursuant to Section 911.2.

SEC. 10.

 Section 1202 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

1202.
 The commission has the exclusive power:
(a) To determine and prescribe the manner, including the particular point of crossing, and the terms of installation, operation, maintenance, use, and protection of each crossing of one railroad by another railroad or street railroad, and of a street railroad by a railroad, and of each crossing of a public or publicly used road or highway by a railroad or street railroad, and of a street by a railroad or of a railroad by a street.
(b) To alter, relocate, or abolish by physical closing any crossing set forth in subdivision (a).
(c) To require, where in its judgment it would be practicable, a separation of grades at any crossing established and to prescribe the terms upon which the separation shall be made and the proportions in which the expense of the construction, alteration, relocation, or abolition of crossings or the separation of grades shall be divided between the railroad or street railroad corporations affected or between these corporations and the state, county, city, or other political subdivision affected.
(d) (1)To authorize on an application-by-application basis and supervise the operation of pilot projects to evaluate proposed crossing warning devices, new technology, or other additional safety measures at designated crossings, with the consent of the local jurisdiction, the affected railroad, and other interested parties, including, but not limited to, represented railroad employees.

(2)The Legislature finds and declares that for the communities of the state that are traversed by railroads, there is a growing need to mitigate train horn noise without compromising the safety of the public. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that the commission may authorize the following pilot projects, after an application is filed and approved by the commission:

(A)To test the utility and safety of stationary, automated audible warning devices as an alternative to trains having to sound their horns as they approach highway-rail crossings in the communities of Roseville, Fremont, Newark, and Lathrop, and in any other location determined to be suitable by the commission.

(B)To authorize supplementary safety measures, as defined in Section 20153 (a)(3) of Title 49 of the United States Code, for use on rail crossings.

No new pilot project may be authorized after January 1, 2003. The commission shall report to the Legislature by March 31, 2004, on the outcome of this pilot project.

(3)In light of the pending proposed ruling by the Federal Railroad Administration on the use of locomotive horns at all highway-rail crossings across the nation, it would be in the best interest of the state for the commission to expedite the pilot projects authorized under paragraph (2) in order to contribute data to the federal rulemaking process regarding the possible inclusion of stationary, automated warning devices as a safety measure option to the proposed federal rule.

SEC. 11.

 Section 7937 of the Public Utilities Code is repealed.
7937.

(a)On or before March 1, 2000, the commission shall request from each telephone corporation doing business in this state that possesses one or more telephone number prefixes, or a portion thereof, the specific telephone numbers and the quantities within the possession of the provider, both in use and not in use. The commission, for the purpose of this section, shall define the terms “in use” and “not in use.” The commission shall determine the reporting requirements for the information provided to the commission pursuant to Section 7940.

(b)Notwithstanding Section 7550.5 of the Government Code, the commission shall use the information obtained pursuant to subdivision (a) and any other information required by the commission, to prepare and submit to the Legislature, on or before, July 1, 2001, a study of telecommunications industry use rates.