Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 1. REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES [201 - 3260]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

PART 1. PUBLIC UTILITIES ACT [201 - 2120]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 2. The Public Utilities Commission: Organization [301 - 327]
  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

301.
  

The membership of the Public Utilities Commission, and the qualifications and tenure of the members of the commission are as provided in Section 1 of Article XII of the Constitution of this state.

(Amended by Stats. 1974, Ch. 489.)

302.
  

Each commissioner shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the constitutional oath of office.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

303.
  

(a) A public utilities commissioner may not hold an official relation to, nor have a financial interest in, a person or corporation subject to regulation by the commission. If any commissioner acquires a financial interest in a corporation or person subject to regulation by the commission other than voluntarily, his or her office shall become vacant unless within a reasonable time he or she divests himself or herself of the interest.

(b) No executive of a public utility may serve as commissioner within two years after leaving the employment of the utility.

(c) The commission shall maintain an updated Conflict of Interest Code and Statement of Incompatible Activities in a manner consistent with applicable law.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 12. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

304.
  

The annual salary of each commissioner is provided for by Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11550) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. The commissioners shall be civil executive officers, and their salaries as fixed by law shall be paid in the same manner as are the salaries of other state officers.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 142, Sec. 127.)

305.
  

The Governor shall designate a president of the commission from among the members of the commission. The president shall direct the executive director, the attorney, and other staff of the commission, except for the staff of the division described in Section 309.5, in the performance of their duties, in accordance with commission policies and guidelines. The president shall preside at all meetings and sessions of the commission.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 509, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

306.
  

(a) The office of the commission shall be in the City and County of San Francisco. The office shall always be open, legal holidays and nonjudicial days excepted. The commission shall hold its sessions at least once in each calendar month. The commission may also meet at such other times and in such places as may be expedient and necessary for the proper performance of its duties, and for that purpose may rent quarters or offices.

(b) The meetings of the commission shall be open and public in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

In addition to the requirements of Section 11125 of the Government Code, the commission shall include in its notice of meetings the agenda of business to be transacted, and no item of business shall be added to the agenda subsequent to the notice in the absence of an unforeseen emergency situation. A rate increase shall not constitute an unforeseen emergency situation. As used in this subdivision, “meeting” shall include all investigations, proceedings, and showings required by law to be open and public.

(c) The commission shall have a seal, bearing the inscription “Public Utilities Commission State of California.” The seal shall be affixed to all writs and authentications of copies of records and to such other instruments as the commission shall direct.

(d) The commission may procure all necessary books, maps, charts, stationery, instruments, office furniture, apparatus, and appliances.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 808, Sec. 1. (SB 512) Effective January 1, 2017.)

307.
  

(a) The commission may appoint as attorney to the commission an attorney at law of this state, who shall hold office during the pleasure of the commission.

(b) The attorney shall represent and appear for the people of the State of California and the commission in all actions and proceedings involving any question under this part or under any order or act of the commission. If directed to do so by the president, except as otherwise directed by vote of the commission, the attorney shall intervene, if possible, in any action or proceeding in which any such question is involved.

(c) The attorney shall commence, prosecute, and expedite the final determination of all actions and proceedings directed or authorized by the president, except as otherwise directed or authorized by vote of the commission, advise the commission and each commissioner, when so requested, in regard to all matters in connection with the powers and duties of the commission and the members thereof, and generally perform all duties and services as attorney to the commission that the president, or vote of the commission, may require of him.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 509, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2000.)

307.2.
  

There is within the legal division of the commission an ethics officer who shall be designated by the general counsel. The ethics officer shall be responsible for both of the following:

(a) Instituting a program of enhanced ethics training for all commissioners and employees of the commission, including training concerning the commission’s Conflict of Interest Code, Statement of Incompatible Activities, and limitations upon ex parte communications.

(b) Providing confidential advice to commissioners and employees of the commission on compliance with the commission’s Conflict of Interest Code, Statement of Incompatible Activities, and limitations upon ex parte communications. The ethics officer shall maintain the confidentiality of the commissioner’s or employee’s identity unless the commissioner or employee expressly indicates a desire to communicate his or her identity to the commission.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 13. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

307.5.
  

(a) The commission shall appoint a chief administrative law judge, who shall hold office at the pleasure of the commission.

(b) The chief administrative law judge shall be responsible for the oversight of the administrative law judge division and shall organize, coordinate, supervise, and direct the operations of the division as directed by the commission, consistent with commission policies and priorities.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 14. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

307.6.
  

(a) The commission shall appoint a chief internal auditor, who shall hold office at the pleasure of the commission.

(b) The chief internal auditor shall be responsible for the oversight of the internal audit unit and shall plan, initiate, and perform audits of key financial, management, operational, and information technology functions within the commission to improve accountability and transparency to executive and state management.

(c) The chief internal auditor shall report his or her findings and recommendations directly to an audit subcommittee of the commission.

(d) The chief internal auditor shall comply with Part 3.5 (commencing with Section 13885) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 15. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

308.
  

(a) The commission shall appoint an executive director, who shall hold office during its pleasure. The executive director shall be responsible for the commission’s executive and administrative duties and shall organize, coordinate, supervise, and direct the operations and affairs of the commission and expedite all matters within the commission’s jurisdiction.

(b) The executive director shall keep a full and true record of all proceedings of the commission, issue all necessary process, writs, warrants, and notices, and perform such other duties as the president, or vote of the commission, prescribes. The president may authorize the executive director to dismiss complaints or applications when all parties are in agreement thereto, in accordance with rules that the commission may prescribe.

(c) The commission may appoint assistant executive directors who may serve warrants and other process in any county or city and county of this state.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 509, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2000.)

308.5.
  

Persons employed as investigators and investigator supervisors by the commission, who are designated by the commission’s executive director and approved by the commission, have the authority of peace officers, as specified in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 830.11 of the Penal Code, while engaged in exercising the powers granted to or performing the duties imposed upon them in investigating the laws, orders, or regulations administered by the commission or commencing directly or indirectly any criminal prosecution arising from any investigation conducted under these laws. All persons herein referred to shall be deemed to be acting within the scope of employment with respect to all acts and matters set forth in this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 842, Sec. 5. (SB 1222) Effective January 1, 2017.)

309.
  

(a) The executive director may employ such officers, administrative law judges, experts, engineers, statisticians, accountants, inspectors, clerks, and employees as the executive director deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this part or to perform the duties and exercise the powers conferred upon the commission by law. All officers and employees shall receive such compensation as is fixed by the commission.

(b) The executive director may authorize commission employees to undertake temporary training and development assignments with other agencies, departments, and commissions that undertake coordinated activities with the commission, including the Energy Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 16. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

309.1.
  

The Governor may appoint one adviser for each member of the commission upon the request of the commission member. Each adviser shall receive a salary fixed by the commission with the approval of the Department of Human Resources. The total number of advisers exempt from civil service may not exceed five.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 665, Sec. 187. (SB 1308) Effective January 1, 2013.)

309.5.
  

(a) There is within the commission an independent Office of Ratepayer Advocates to represent and advocate on behalf of the interests of public utility customers and subscribers within the jurisdiction of the commission. The goal of the office shall be to obtain the lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels. For revenue allocation and rate design matters, the office shall primarily consider the interests of residential and small commercial customers.

(b) The director of the office shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The director shall annually appear before the appropriate policy committees of the Assembly and the Senate to report on the activities of the office.

(c) The director shall develop a budget for the office that shall be subject to final approval of the Department of Finance. As authorized in the approved budget, the office shall employ personnel and resources, including attorneys and other legal support staff, at a level sufficient to ensure that customer and subscriber interests are effectively represented in all significant proceedings. The office may employ experts necessary to carry out its functions. The director may appoint a lead attorney who shall represent the office, and shall report to and serve at the pleasure of the director. The lead attorney for the office shall obtain adequate legal personnel for the work to be conducted by the office from the commission’s attorney appointed pursuant to Section 307. The commission’s attorney shall timely and appropriately fulfill all requests for legal personnel made by the lead attorney for the office, provided the office has sufficient moneys and positions in its budget for the services requested.

(d) The commission shall develop appropriate procedures to ensure that the existence of the office does not create a conflict of roles for any employee. The procedures shall include, but shall not be limited to, the development of a code of conduct and procedures for ensuring that advocates and their representatives on a particular case or proceeding are not advising decisionmakers on the same case or proceeding.

(e) The office may compel the production or disclosure of any information it deems necessary to perform its duties from any entity regulated by the commission, provided that any objections to any request for information shall be decided in writing by the assigned commissioner or by the president of the commission, if there is no assigned commissioner.

(f) There is hereby created the Public Utilities Commission Ratepayer Advocate Account in the General Fund. Moneys from the Public Utilities Commission Utilities Reimbursement Account in the General Fund shall be transferred in the annual Budget Act to the Public Utilities Commission Ratepayer Advocate Account. The funds in the Public Utilities Commission Ratepayer Advocate Account shall be a budgetary program fund administered and utilized exclusively by the office in the performance of its duties as determined by the director. The director shall annually submit a staffing report containing a comparison of the staffing levels for each five-year period.

(g) On or before January 10 of each year, the office shall provide to the chairperson of the fiscal committee of each house of the Legislature and to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee all of the following information:

(1) The number of personnel years utilized during the prior year by the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.

(2) The total dollars expended by the Office of Ratepayer Advocates in the prior year, the estimated total dollars expended in the current year, and the total dollars proposed for appropriation in the following budget year.

(3) Workload standards and measures for the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.

(h) The office shall meet and confer in an informal setting with a regulated entity prior to issuing a report or pleading to the commission regarding alleged misconduct, or a violation of a law or a commission rule or order, raised by the office in a complaint. The meet and confer process shall be utilized in good faith to reach agreement on issues raised by the office regarding any regulated entity in the complaint proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 356, Sec. 42. (SB 96) Effective September 26, 2013.)

309.6.
  

(a) The commission shall adopt procedures on the disqualification of commissioners and administrative law judges due to bias or prejudice similar to those of other state agencies and superior courts.

(b) (1) For ratesetting and adjudicatory proceedings, a commissioner or administrative law judge shall be disqualified for bias or prejudice based on either of the following:

(A) Actions taken during the proceeding that demonstrate bias or prejudice.

(B) Actions taken outside the public record of a proceeding demonstrating any commitment to provide relief to a party.

(2) Past work experience by the commissioner or administrative law judge shall not be a sufficient basis for demonstrating bias or prejudice pursuant to paragraph (1).

(c) The commission procedures shall not authorize a commissioner or administrative law judge to rule on a motion made by a party to a proceeding to disqualify the commissioner or administrative law judge due to bias or prejudice.

(d) The commission shall develop the procedures with the opportunity for public review and comment.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 807, Sec. 1. (SB 215) Effective January 1, 2017.)

309.7.
  

(a) The division of the commission responsible for railroad safety shall be responsible for inspection, surveillance, and investigation of the rights-of-way, facilities, equipment, and operations of railroads and public mass transit guideways, and for enforcing state and federal laws, regulations, orders, and directives relating to transportation of persons or commodities, or both, of any nature or description by rail. The division of the commission responsible for railroad safety shall advise the commission on all matters relating to rail safety, and shall propose to the commission rules, regulations, orders, and other measures necessary to reduce the dangers caused by unsafe conditions on the railroads of the state. The delegation of enforcement responsibility to the division of the commission responsible for railroad safety shall not diminish the power of other agencies of state government to enforce laws relating to employee or environmental safety, pollution prevention, or public health and safety.

(b) In performing its duties, the division of the commission responsible for railroad safety shall exercise all powers of investigation granted to the commission, including rights to enter upon land or facilities, inspect books and records, and compel testimony. The commission shall employ sufficient federally certified inspectors to ensure at the time of inspection that railroad locomotives and equipment and facilities located in class I railroad yards in California are inspected not less frequently than every 180 days, and all main and branch line tracks are inspected not less frequently than every 12 months. In performing its duties, the division of the commission responsible for railroad safety shall consult with representatives of railroad corporations, labor organizations representing railroad employees, and the Federal Railroad Administration.

(c) The general counsel shall assign to the division of the commission responsible for railroad safety the personnel and attorneys necessary to fully utilize the powers granted to the commission by any state law and by any federal law relating to rail transportation, to enforce safety laws, rules, regulations, and orders, and to collect fines and penalties resulting from the violation of any safety rule or regulation.

(d) The activities of the division of the commission responsible for railroad safety that relate to safe operation of common carriers by rail, other than those relating to grade crossing protection, shall also be supported by the fees paid by railroad corporations, if any, pursuant to Sections 421 to 424, inclusive. The activities of the division of the commission responsible for railroad safety that relate to grade crossing protection shall be supported by funds appropriated therefor from the State Highway Account in the State Transportation Fund.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 842, Sec. 6. (SB 1222) Effective January 1, 2017.)

309.8.
  

(a) There is hereby established within the commission the Office of the Safety Advocate to advocate for the continuous, cost-effective improvement of the safety management and safety performance of public utilities.

(b) The office shall promote public utility safety by doing all of the following:

(1) Advocating, as a party to commission proceedings and on behalf of the interests of public utility customers, for effective public utility safety management and infrastructure improvements and for the transparency of safety information, including, but not limited to, information relating to past performance.

(2) Recommending improvements to the commission’s safety management policy and procedures and its safety culture.

(3) Informing the official record on safety-related risks in applicable commission proceedings and assisting the commission in its efforts to hold public utilities accountable for their safe operation.

(c) On or before January 10 of each year, the office shall provide to the chairpersons of the appropriate fiscal and policy committees of each house of the Legislature all of the following information:

(1) The actions taken by the office to recommend improvements to the commission’s safety management policy and procedures and its safety culture related to the oversight of utilities.

(2) The actions taken by the office to recommend improvements to public utility safety management policy and procedures and safety culture.

(3) The proceedings in which the office participated and a brief description of the testimony it filed.

(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2020, deletes or extends that date.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 806, Sec. 1. (SB 62) Effective January 1, 2017. Repealed as of January 1, 2020, by its own provisions.)

310.
  

No vacancy in the commission impairs the right of the remaining commissioners to exercise all the powers of the commission. A majority of the commissioners constitutes a quorum for the transaction of any business, for the performance of any duty, or for the exercise of any power of the commission. Any investigation, inquiry, or hearing which the commission may undertake or hold may be undertaken or held by or before any commissioner or commissioners designated for the purpose by the commission. The evidence in any investigation, inquiry, or hearing may be taken by the commissioner or commissioners to whom the investigation, inquiry, or hearing has been assigned or, in his, her, or their behalf, by an administrative law judge designated for that purpose. Every finding, opinion, and order made by the commissioner or commissioners so designated, pursuant to the investigation, inquiry, or hearing, when approved or confirmed by the commission and ordered filed in its office, is the finding, opinion, and order of the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 160, Sec. 160.)

311.
  

(a) The commission, each commissioner, the executive director, and the assistant executive directors may administer oaths, certify to all official acts, and issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, waybills, books, accounts, documents, and testimony in any inquiry, investigation, hearing, or proceeding in any part of the state.

(b) The administrative law judges may administer oaths, examine witnesses, issue subpoenas, and receive evidence, under rules that the commission adopts.

(c) The evidence in any hearing shall be taken by the commissioner or the administrative law judge designated for that purpose. The commissioner or the administrative law judge may receive and exclude evidence offered in the hearing in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure of the commission.

(d) Consistent with the procedures contained in Sections 1701.1, 1701.2, 1701.3, and 1701.4, the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge shall prepare and file an opinion setting forth recommendations, findings, and conclusions. The opinion of the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge is the proposed decision and a part of the public record in the proceeding. The proposed decision of the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge shall be filed with the commission and served upon all parties to the action or proceeding without undue delay, not later than 90 days after the matter has been submitted for decision. The commission shall issue its decision not sooner than 30 days following filing and service of the proposed decision by the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge, except that the 30-day period may be reduced or waived by the commission in an unforeseen emergency situation or upon the stipulation of all parties to the proceeding or as otherwise provided by law. The commission may, in issuing its decision, adopt, modify, or set aside the proposed decision or any part of the decision. Where the modification is of a decision in an adjudicatory hearing it shall be based upon the evidence in the record. Every finding, opinion, and order made in the proposed decision and approved or confirmed by the commission shall, upon that approval or confirmation, be the finding, opinion, and order of the commission.

(e) Any item appearing on the commission’s public agenda as an alternate item to a proposed decision or to a decision subject to subdivision (g) shall be served upon all parties to the proceeding without undue delay and shall be subject to public review and comment before it may be voted upon. For purposes of this subdivision, “alternate” means either a substantive revision to a proposed decision that materially changes the resolution of a contested issue or any substantive addition to the findings of fact, conclusions of law, or ordering paragraphs. The commission shall adopt rules that provide for the time and manner of review and comment and the rescheduling of the item on a subsequent public agenda, except that the item may not be rescheduled for consideration sooner than 30 days following service of the alternative item upon all parties. The alternate item shall be accompanied by a digest that clearly explains the substantive revisions to the proposed decision. The commission’s rules may provide that the time and manner of review and comment on an alternate item may be reduced or waived by the commission in an unforeseen emergency situation.

(f) The commission may specify that the administrative law judge assigned to a proceeding involving an electrical, gas, telephone, railroad, or water corporation, or a highway carrier, initiated by customer or subscriber complaint need not prepare, file, and serve an opinion, unless the commission finds that to do so is required in the public interest in a particular case.

(g) (1) Prior to voting on any commission decision not subject to subdivision (d), the decision shall be served on parties and subject to at least 30 days public review and comment. Any alternate to any commission decision shall be subject to the same requirements as provided for alternate decisions under subdivision (e). For purposes of this subdivision, “decision” also includes resolutions, including resolutions on advice letter filings.

(2) The 30-day period may be reduced or waived in an unforeseen emergency situation, upon the stipulation of all parties in the proceeding, for an uncontested matter in which the decision grants the relief requested, or for an order seeking temporary injunctive relief.

(3) This subdivision does not apply to uncontested matters that pertain solely to water corporations, or to orders instituting investigations or rulemakings, categorization resolutions under Sections 1701.1 to 1701.4, inclusive, or orders authorized by law to be considered in executive session. Consistent with regulatory efficiency and the need for adequate prior notice and comment on commission decisions, the commission may adopt rules, after notice and comment, establishing additional categories of decisions subject to waiver or reduction of the time period in this section.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, amendments, revisions, or modifications by the commission of its Rules of Practice and Procedure, shall be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for prior review in accordance with Sections 11349, 11349.3, 11349.4, 11349.5, 11349.6, and 11350.3 of, and subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 11349.1 of, the Government Code. If the commission adopts an emergency revision to its Rules of Practice and Procedure based upon a finding that the revision is necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, or general welfare, this emergency revision shall only be reviewed by the Office of Administrative Law in accordance with subdivisions (b) to (d), inclusive, of Section 11349.6 of the Government Code. The emergency revision shall become effective upon filing with the Secretary of State and shall remain in effect for no more than 120 days. A petition for writ of review pursuant to Section 1756 of a commission decision amending, revising, or modifying its Rules of Practice and Procedure shall not be filed until the regulation has been approved by the Office of Administrative Law, the Governor, or a court pursuant to Section 11350.3 of the Government Code. If the period for filing the petition for writ of review would otherwise have already commenced under Section 1733 or 1756 at the time of that approval, then the period for filing the petition for writ of review shall continue until 30 days after the date of that approval. Nothing in this subdivision shall require the commission to comply with Article 5 (commencing with Section 11346) of Chapter 3.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. This subdivision is only intended to provide for the Office of Administrative Law review of procedural commission decisions relating to commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, and not general orders, resolutions, or other substantive regulations.

(i) The commission shall immediately notify the Legislature whenever the commission reduces or waives the time period for public review and comment due to an unforseen emergency situation, as provided in subdivision (d), (e), or (g).

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 591, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2006.)

311.1.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the commission shall not consider or require, in determining qualified bidders for, or in awarding contracts, that any facilities be located within a particular area of the state, or within geographical proximity of any particular area of the state.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 67, Sec. 39. Effective July 6, 1999.)

311.2.
  

The commission shall adopt procedures authorizing the submittal of electronic signatures and documents by all parties on contracts involving the commission.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 334, Sec. 1. (AB 2746) Effective January 1, 2017.)

311.4.
  

(a) On or after July 1, 2001, the commission shall establish procedures to permit the submission of informal complaints through electronic means in accordance with this section.

(b) On or before January 1, 2002, the commission shall provide on its Internet Web site the means by which consumers may submit informal complaints through electronic means.

(c) For the purpose of this section, “electronic means” includes, but shall not be limited to, email or the Internet, or both.

(d) Upon the receipt of an informal complaint submitted by electronic means, the commission shall immediately forward the complaint to the entity named in the complaint.

(e) The commission shall permit the submission of informal complaints through electronic means, if, as determined by the commission, both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The dollar amount in the complaint does not exceed the jurisdictional limit of a small claims court specified in subdivision (a) of Section 116.220 or Section 116.221 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(2) The commission has addressed any impediments in the electronic systems employed by the commission that would prevent or substantially adversely affect the ability of the commission to receive informal complaints by electronic means.

(f) The commission shall include a notice on its Internet Web site of the availability of the procedures described in subdivision (a).

(g) For the purposes of implementing this section, the commission shall make available to the public an industry specific online complaint form that allows a customer to specify information that the commission determines to be relevant for purposes of resolving a dispute, including the account number, the type of dispute, and the opportunity to make general comments.

(h) This act may not be implemented, and no information technology-related preparatory work may be undertaken in connection with this act prior to July 1, 2001, without the concurrence of the commission and the authorization of the Department of Information Technology pursuant to Executive Order D-3-99.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 612, Sec. 5. (SB 697) Effective January 1, 2016.)

311.5.
  

(a) (1) Prior to commencement of any meeting at which commissioners vote on items on the public agenda, the commission shall make available to the public copies of the agenda, and upon request, any agenda item documents that are proposed to be considered by the commission for action or decision at a commission meeting.

(2) In addition, the commission shall publish the agenda, agenda item documents, and adopted decisions in a manner that makes copies of them easily available to the public, including publishing those documents on the Internet. Publication of the agenda and agenda item documents shall occur on the Internet at the same time as the written agenda and agenda item documents are made available to the public.

(b) The commission shall publish and maintain the following documents on the Internet:

(1) Each of the commission’s proposed and alternate proposed decisions and resolutions, until the decision or resolution is adopted and published.

(2) Each of the commission’s adopted decisions and resolutions. The publication shall occur within 10 days of the adoption of each decision or resolution by the commission.

(3) The then-current version of the commission’s general orders and Rules of Practice and Procedure.

(4) Each of the commission’s rulings. The commission shall maintain those rulings on its Internet Web site until final disposition, including disposition of any judicial appeals, of the respective proceedings in which the rulings were issued.

(5) A docket card that lists, by title and date of filing or issuance, all documents filed and all decisions or rulings issued in those proceedings, including the public versions of all prepared oral and written testimony and advice letter filings, protests, and responses. The commission shall maintain the docket card until final disposition, including disposition of any judicial appeals, of the corresponding proceedings.

(c) The commission shall make the following information available on the Internet:

(1) Information on how members of the public and ratepayers can gain access to the commission’s ratemaking process and information regarding the specific matters to be decided.

(2) Information on the operation of the office of the public advisor established in Section 321 and how the public advisor can connect members of the public to persons responsible for specific cases and matters to be decided.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 808, Sec. 2. (SB 512) Effective January 1, 2017.)

312.
  

The commission and each commissioner may issue writs of summons, subpenas, warrants of attachment, warrants of commitment, and all necessary process in proceedings for contempt, in like manner and to the same extent as courts of record. The process issued by the commission or any commissioner, extends to all parts of the State and may be served by any person authorized to serve process of courts of record, or by any person designated by the commission or a commissioner. The person executing any such process shall receive such compensation as is allowed by the commission, not to exceed the fees prescribed by law on August 8, 1915, for similar services, and such fees shall be paid in the same manner as provided in this part for payment of the fees of witnesses.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

313.
  

The commission may require, by order served on any public utility, the production within this State at such time and place as it designates, of any books, accounts, papers, or records kept by the public utility in any office or place without this State, or, at its option, verified copies in lieu thereof, so that an examination thereof may be made by the commission or under its direction.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

314.
  

(a) The commission, each commissioner, and each officer and person employed by the commission may, at any time, inspect the accounts, books, papers, and documents of any public utility. The commission, each commissioner, and any officer of the commission or any employee authorized to administer oaths may examine under oath any officer, agent, or employee of a public utility in relation to its business and affairs. Any person, other than a commissioner or an officer of the commission, demanding to make any inspection shall produce, under the hand and seal of the commission, authorization to make the inspection. A written record of the testimony or statement so given under oath shall be made and filed with the commission.

(b) Subdivision (a) also applies to inspections of the accounts, books, papers, and documents of any business that is a subsidiary or affiliate of, or a corporation that holds a controlling interest in, an electrical, gas, or telephone corporation, or a water corporation that has 2,000 or more service connections, with respect to any transaction between the water, electrical, gas, or telephone corporation and the subsidiary, affiliate, or holding corporation on any matter that might adversely affect the interests of the ratepayers of the water, electrical, gas, or telephone corporation.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 224, Sec. 1. (SB 1364) Effective January 1, 2013.)

314.5.
  

The commission shall inspect and audit the books and records for regulatory and tax purposes (1) at least once every three years in the case of every electrical, gas, heat, telegraph, telephone, and water corporation serving over 1,000 customers, and (2) at least once every five years in the case of every electrical, gas, heat, telegraph, telephone, and water corporation serving 1,000 or fewer customers. An audit conducted in connection with a rate proceeding shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements of this section. The commission shall post reports of the inspections and audits and other pertinent information on its Internet Web site.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 805, Sec. 3. (AB 2168) Effective January 1, 2017.)

314.6.
  

(a) The commission may conduct financial and performance audits of any entity or program created by any order, decision, motion, settlement, or other action of the commission.

(b) The commission shall complete any audit in a timely manner consistent with the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards.

(c) After performing an audit pursuant to this section, the commission may conduct additional followup work that is related to any findings and recommendations related to the audit.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 17. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

315.
  

The commission shall investigate the cause of all accidents occurring within this State upon the property of any public utility or directly or indirectly arising from or connected with its maintenance or operation, resulting in loss of life or injury to person or property and requiring, in the judgment of the commission, investigation by it, and may make such order or recommendation with respect thereto as in its judgment seems just and reasonable. Neither the order or recommendation of the commission nor any accident report filed with the commission shall be admitted as evidence in any action for damages based on or arising out of such loss of life, or injury to person or property. Every public utility shall file with the commission, under such rules as the commission prescribes, a report of each accident so occurring of such kinds or classes as the commission from time to time designates.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

316.
  

(a) Each electrical corporation shall cooperate fully with the commission in an investigation into any major accident or any reportable incident, as these terms are defined by the commission, concerning overhead electric supply facilities, regardless of pending litigation or other investigations, including, but not limited to, those that may be related to a commission investigation.

(b) After the scene of the incident has been made safe and service has been restored, each electrical corporation shall provide the commission, upon its request, immediate access to all of the following:

(1) Any factual or physical evidence under the electrical corporation’s, or its agent’s, physical control, custody, or possession related to the incident.

(2) The name and contact information of any known percipient witness.

(3) Any employee percipient witness under the electrical corporation’s control.

(4) The name and contact information of any person or entity that has taken possession of any physical evidence removed from the site of the incident.

(5) Any and all documents under the electrical corporation’s control that are related to the incident and are not subject to attorney-client privilege or attorney work product doctrine.

(c) Each electrical corporation shall preserve any and all documents or evidence it collects as part of its own investigation related to the incident for at least five years or a shorter period of time as authorized by the commission.

(d) Any and all documents collected by an electrical corporation pursuant to this section shall be catalogued and preserved in an accessible manner for assessment by commission investigators as determined by the commission.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 262, Sec. 1. (AB 2584) Effective January 1, 2013.)

317.
  

The commission may request the local agency formation commission to advise it as to any special districts as defined in Section 54775 of the Government Code who are authorized and capable of performing comparable utility service within an area for which a public utility is seeking certification.

(Added by Stats. 1967, Ch. 920.)

319.
  

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Direct seller,” “prepaid consumer,” “prepaid mobile telephony services,” “prepaid MTS provider,” “prepaid MTS surcharge,” and “Public Utilities Commission surcharges,” have the same meaning as defined in Section 42004 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

(2) “Reimbursement fee” means a charge imposed by the commission pursuant to Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 401).

(3) “Universal service surcharge” means any charge imposed by the commission to support programs funded through one of the state’s universal service funds created pursuant to Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 270).

(b) The commission shall annually, on or before October 1 of each year, commencing October 1, 2015, compute a reimbursement fee as a percentage of the sales price for prepaid mobile telephony services, to be effective on January 1 of the following year and to be collected and remitted pursuant to the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Surcharge Collection Act (Part 21 (commencing with Section 42001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code). On or before October 8 of each year, commencing October 8, 2015, the commission shall post notice of the reimbursement fee on its Internet Web site and notify both the Office of Emergency Services and the State Board of Equalization of this information as well as the computation method used to determine the reimbursement fee.

(c) The commission shall annually, on or before October 1 of each year, commencing October 1, 2015, compute the individual and cumulative amounts of the telecommunications universal service surcharges as a percentage of the sales price for prepaid mobile telephony services, to be effective on January 1 of the following year and to be collected and remitted pursuant to the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Surcharge Collection Act (Part 21 (commencing with Section 42001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code). On or before October 8 of each year, commencing October 8, 2015, the commission shall post notice of the individual percentages and the cumulative surcharge on its Internet Web site and notify both the Office of Emergency Services and the State Board of Equalization of this information as well as the computation method used to determine the cumulative surcharge.

(d) (1) Except for that portion of the prepaid MTS surcharge that is the Public Utilities Commission surcharges, computed pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c), this section neither restricts the commission’s authority to adjust reimbursement fees or universal service surcharges nor requires that they only be adjusted once annually.

(2) In annually computing reimbursement fees and universal service surcharges to be collected and remitted to the commission pursuant to this section, the commission shall adjust the fees and surcharges to account for any past overcollection or undercollection of fees or surcharges from prepaid consumers resulting from a reduction or increase in the surcharges made subsequent to December 31 of the previous year.

(3) If both upward and downward adjustments are made to reimbursement fees and universal service surcharges subsequent to December 31, the commission may adjust how collections are deposited into the reimbursement and universal service accounts so that overcollections or undercollections are minimized.

(4) It is the intent of the Legislature that reimbursement fees and universal service surcharges be applied, as much as possible, in a competitively neutral manner that does not favor either prepaid or postpaid payment for mobile telephony services, and that, over time, collections of state charges from prepaid and postpaid consumers balance out so that neither pay a disproportionate amount.

(5) At least 30 days prior to adopting any adjustment to a reimbursement fee or universal service surcharge to be collected and remitted to the commission on both postpaid and prepaid intrastate service, the commission shall prepare a resolution or other public document proposing the fee or surcharge adjustment and explaining the calculation of the fee or surcharge. The commission shall make the resolution or other public document available to the public and on the commission’s Internet Web site and it shall include all of the following:

(A) The prior year revenues from the fee or surcharge, including, but not limited to, revenues from prepaid service.

(B) Projected expenses and revenues from all sources, including, but not limited to, prepaid service, for the purposes of the fee or surcharge.

(C) The rationale for adjustment to the reimbursement fee or universal service surcharge, including, but not limited to, all impacts from prepaid MTS surcharge collection.

(e) The commission shall have enforcement authority to ensure the proper remittances over retail transactions of a prepaid MTS provider pursuant to the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Surcharge Collection Act (Part 21 (commencing with Section 42001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code).

(f) (1) A prepaid MTS provider shall remit to the commission the fee established for telephone corporations pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 431 on the intrastate portion of the revenues received for prepaid mobile telephony service through December 31, 2015.

(2) A prepaid MTS provider shall remit to the commission the telecommunications universal service surcharges established for telephone corporations on the intrastate portion of the revenues received for prepaid mobile telephony service through December 31, 2015.

(g) (1) This section does not relieve a prepaid MTS provider or direct seller of their continuing obligation to report prepaid mobile telephony service revenues to the commission in a manner prescribed by the commission.

(2) When reporting prepaid mobile telephony service revenues to the commission, a prepaid MTS provider or direct seller shall report the intrastate revenue portion subject to the reimbursement fee and the telecommunications universal service surcharges, as well as total state mobile telephony service revenue.

(3) Reports made pursuant to this subdivision are subject to Section 583 and any related orders of the commission.

(h) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2020, deletes or extends that date.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 885, Sec. 1. (AB 1717) Effective September 30, 2014. Repealed as of January 1, 2020, by its own provisions.)

320.
  

The Legislature hereby declares that it is the policy of this state to achieve, whenever feasible and not inconsistent with sound environmental planning, the undergrounding of all future electric and communication distribution facilities which are proposed to be erected in proximity to any highway designated a state scenic highway pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 260) of Chapter 2 of Division 1 of the Streets and Highways Code and which would be visible from such scenic highways if erected above ground. The commission shall prepare and adopt by December 31, 1972, a statewide plan and schedule for the undergrounding of all such utility distribution facilities in accordance with the aforesaid policy and the rules of the commission relating to the undergrounding of facilities.

The commission shall coordinate its activities regarding the plan with local governments and planning commissions concerned.

The commission shall require compliance with the plan upon its adoption.

This section shall not apply to facilities necessary to the operation of any railroad.

(Added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1697.)

321.
  

(a) The commission shall appoint a public advisor and establish an office of the public advisor, including a separate office in the Los Angeles office of the commission. The commission may employ staff as necessary to carry out the duties of the office of the public advisor. The office of the public advisor shall assist members of the public and ratepayers who desire to testify before or present information to the commission in any hearing or proceeding of the commission. The public advisor shall advise the commission on procedural matters relating to public participation in proceedings of the commission.

(b) The public advisor and executive director shall publicize the commission’s programs for encouraging and supporting participation in the commission’s proceedings.

(c) The public advisor shall receive complaints and comments from members of the public concerning how the commission is carrying out its functions. The public advisor shall maintain the confidentiality of the identity of a member of the public who makes a complaint or comment unless the member of the public expressly indicates a desire to communicate his or her identity to the commission. The public advisor shall assess the nature of substantive complaints and comments from members of the public and take them into consideration when analyzing and recommending options for resolution of the matters underlying those complaints and comments.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 421, Sec. 18. (SB 19) Effective January 1, 2018.)

321.1.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission assess the consequences of its decisions, including economic effects, and assess and mitigate the impacts of its decision on customer, public, and employee safety, as part of each ratemaking, rulemaking, or other proceeding, and that this be accomplished using existing resources and within existing commission structures. The commission shall not establish a separate office or department for the purpose of evaluating and mitigating consequences of commission activities.

(b) The commission shall take all necessary and appropriate actions to assess the economic effects of its decisions and to assess and mitigate the impacts of its decisions on customer, public, and employee safety.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 552, Sec. 1. (SB 900) Effective January 1, 2015.)

321.6.
  

The president of the commission shall annually appear before the appropriate policy committees of the Senate and Assembly to present the annual report of the commission required pursuant to Section 910.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 612, Sec. 6. (SB 697) Effective January 1, 2016.)

322.
  

(a) The commission shall periodically, at least once each year, compile its rules of procedure together with every order and decision of the commission relating to the conduct of the commission’s hearings and proceedings.

(b) The compilation shall include, but not be limited to, matters relating to all of the following:

(1) Pleadings.

(2) Public notice.

(3) Public attendance.

(4) Specification of issues.

(5) Prehearing procedures.

(6) Discovery.

(7) Evidence.

(8) Supporting documentation.

(9) Submission of briefs and arguments.

(10) Meetings of the commission.

(11) All other rules of procedure governing participation in hearings and proceedings of the commission by public utilities, commission staff, and other persons.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 193, Sec. 174. Effective January 1, 2005.)

322.5.
  

The commission shall determine, as part of the proceeding in Rulemaking 98-07-038 (Rulemaking for purposes of Revising General Order 96-A Regarding Informal Filings at the Commission) or any other appropriate proceeding, as determined by the commission, the feasibility of submitting advice letters to the commission through electronic means. If determined to be feasible, the commission shall, within six months, propose a plan for submitting advice letters by electronic means. For purposes of this section, “electronic means” include electronic mail and electronic forms developed or approved by the commission and submitted through the commission’s Internet Web site.

(Added by Stats. 2005, Ch. 372, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2006.)

323.
  

(a) Commencing January 1, 1989, the commission shall cause the complete text of each of its orders and decisions to be published within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year after issuance. The commission shall, on or before January 1, 1990, publish every significant decision or order issued, but not published, as of January 1, 1989.

(b) With respect to the order or decision in any proceeding not assigned to an administrative law judge pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 311, the commission may comply with subdivision (a) by publishing the docket number or other identifying number used in its recordkeeping system, the name of the case, the parties to the case, and the ordering language in the case.

(c) If the commission participates in or uses an electronic means of publication of its orders and decisions, the commission shall assure reasonable public access to that system upon the payment of reasonable fees or charges.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 814, Sec. 1. Effective September 26, 1989.)

323.5.
  

(a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Demand-side energy management programs” mean all energy efficiency, demand-side response, clean distributed generation, energy conservation, energy savings, or weatherization programs of the state or a local government, electrical corporations, gas corporations, or a local publicly owned electric or gas utility.

(2) “Small business” has the same meaning as defined in Section 14837 of the Government Code.

(b) The commission shall ensure that the Internet Web site for the Energy Upgrade California program be revised to include information related to demand-side energy management programs for small business customers.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 290, Sec. 3. (AB 2137) Effective January 1, 2015.)

324.
  

The executive director of the commission may release to the Director of Industrial Relations any information concerning any person, corporation, or other entity under the jurisdiction and control of the commission relevant to the enforcement of the workers’ compensation laws of this state.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 1071, Sec. 3.)

324.5.
  

(a) The Public Utilities Commission shall publish any data it collects for its clearinghouse minority and women business data base that it deems to be nonconfidential, including, but not limited to, company name, address, telephone number, fax number, point of contact, federal Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, ethnicity code, gender code, and business description, for use by governmental agencies and the public who request the information. Publication of the data base shall be done on a semiannual basis and shall be made available in hardcopy and softcopy (computer disk). The data base shall also be made available electronically via a computer-accessed bulletin board service (BBS).

(b) The commission may impose fees on the requesters of information commensurate with its cost to publish, duplicate, or provide computer access to the data base.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1064, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1994.)

324.7.
  

No less frequently than once a year, the commission shall make the following information about each contract that the commission enters into available free of charge on its Internet Web site:

(a) The names, addresses, and points of contact of the parties to the contract.

(b) The goods and services requested, as applicable.

(c) The contract value.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 815, Sec. 2. (AB 1651) Effective January 1, 2017.)

324.8.
  

The commission shall make available on its Internet Web site audits conducted by the Department of General Services of the commission’s contracting practices.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 815, Sec. 3. (AB 1651) Effective January 1, 2017.)

325.
  

(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the commission should have the authority to act swiftly to expedite planning for the long-term recovery in parts of the state which have been declared national disaster areas and in which severe damage to or destruction of existing utility facilities has occurred and to adopt expedited procedures for that purpose.

(b) The commission shall, therefore, review existing rules, regulations, and orders and develop and adopt new rules, regulations, or orders, as may be appropriate or necessary to establish expedited procedures to be followed in the event that a determination is made by the President of the United States that an emergency exists, of the severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that federal assistance is necessary pursuant to Section 5191 of Title 42 of the United States Code Annotated. The procedures shall require a determination by the commission, upon application of a utility or other interested party, that the emergency has resulted in severe damage or destruction to an existing utility’s facilities or existing utilities’ facilities under the jurisdiction of the commission. The rules and regulations shall be developed consistent with existing rules and regulations pursuant to the authority granted to the commission in Sections 701 and 1701. The expedited procedures shall not prevent or otherwise interfere with a utility’s ability promptly to restore service to its customers requiring the service, and to recover the reasonable costs associated with the restoration of service, as determined by the commission. The expedited procedures shall be adopted by the commission on or before January 1, 1994.

(c) In developing the expedited procedures, the commission shall consider, among other things, the following:

(1) Once the President declares that an emergency exists, the extent to which the expedited procedures should become effective.

(2) The extent to which the expedited procedures should take precedence over any conflicting rule, regulation, or order which may impede any appropriate or necessary decisions and actions by the commission.

(3) If the expedited procedures become effective, the scope of relief which may be sought and granted pursuant thereto, including, but not limited to, the following:

(A) A determination of the applicability of existing commission rules, regulations, and orders.

(B) An exemption from those existing rules and regulations.

(4) The time period following the date of the declaration of an emergency by the President, within which any affected city or county within the declared disaster area or public utility serving all or a portion of the county or city thereof, may apply to the commission for relief.

(5) The need, if any, for referral of any application to an administrative law judge, and the need, if any, for formal evidentiary hearings.

(d) No utility shall be required to proceed to incur any costs pursuant to commission order issued under these expedited procedures until arrangements satisfactory to the affected utility have been made for payment of the excess, if any, of the estimated costs of completing the work contemplated by the commission order over the amount of the costs allocated to the ratepayers by the commission order.

(e) The expedited procedures shall preserve the right of interested parties to reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard, as required by applicable law. The expedited procedures shall provide that in the event of an emergency as defined in this section, the commission has the authority to waive the referral of the application to an administrative law judge, and has the authority to act on the application.

(f) In the event that the President has declared that an emergency exists, pursuant to federal law, after January 1, 1993, and before the adoption of emergency procedures by the commission, the commission is authorized, and empowered to act expeditiously upon the direct request of any affected city or county or public utility serving all or a portion of the city or county, for relief; and to adopt expedited measures and procedures which the commission determines to be necessary or appropriate, including, but not limited to, the considerations set forth above in subdivision (c).

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 752, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1993.)

327.
  

(a) The electrical corporations and gas corporations that participate in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program, as established pursuant to Section 739.1, shall administer low-income energy efficiency and rate assistance programs described in Sections 382, 739.1, 739.2, and 2790, subject to commission oversight. In administering the programs described in Section 2790, the electrical corporations and gas corporations, to the extent practicable, shall do all of the following:

(1) Continue to leverage funds collected to fund the program described in subdivision (a) with funds available from state and federal sources.

(2) Work with state and local agencies, community-based organizations, and other entities to ensure efficient and effective delivery of programs.

(3) Encourage local employment and job skill development.

(4) Maximize the participation of eligible participants.

(5) Work to reduce consumers electric and gas consumption, and bills.

(6) For electrical corporations, target energy efficiency and solar programs to upper-tier and multifamily customers in a manner that will result in long-term permanent reductions in electricity usage at the dwelling units, and develop programs that specifically target nonprofit affordable housing providers, including programs that promote weatherization of existing dwelling units and replacement of inefficient appliances.

(7) For electrical corporations and for public utilities that are both electrical corporations and gas corporations, allocate the costs of the CARE program on an equal cents per kilowatthour or equal cents per therm basis to all classes of customers that were subject to the surcharge that funded the program on January 1, 2008.

(b) If the commission requires low-income energy efficiency programs to be subject to competitive bidding, the electrical and gas corporations described in subdivision (a), as part of their bid evaluation criteria, shall consider both cost-of-service criteria and quality-of-service criteria. The bidding criteria, at a minimum, shall recognize all of the following factors:

(1) The bidder’s experience in delivering programs and services, including, but not limited to, weatherization, appliance repair and maintenance, energy education, outreach and enrollment services, and bill payment assistance programs to targeted communities.

(2) The bidder’s knowledge of the targeted communities.

(3) The bidder’s ability to reach targeted communities.

(4) The bidder’s ability to utilize and employ people from the local area.

(5) The bidder’s general contractor’s license and evidence of good standing with the Contractors’ State License Board.

(6) The bidder’s performance quality as verified by the funding source.

(7) The bidder’s financial stability.

(8) The bidder’s ability to provide local job training.

(9) Other attributes that benefit local communities.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), the commission may modify the bid criteria based upon public input from a variety of sources, including representatives from low-income communities and the program administrators identified in subdivision (b), in order to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of high quality low-income energy efficiency programs.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 337, Sec. 1. (SB 695) Effective October 11, 2009.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC