Today's Law As Amended


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SB-1135 Electric service: rates: Family Electric Rate Assistance program.(2017-2018)



As Amends the Law Today
As Amends the Law on Nov 08, 2018


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Many of California’s working families earn enough income to exceed the eligibility limits for the state’s low-income programs, yet still struggle to afford daily necessities, including electricity.
(b) Pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 382 of the Public Utilities Code, the Public Utilities Commission is required to ensure that low-income customers are not jeopardized or overburdened by monthly energy expenditures, which may be reduced through the establishment of different levels of rate assistance.
(c) In Decision 04-02-057 (February 26, 2004) Final Opinion on Phase 2 Issues, the Public Utilities Commission ordered the state’s three largest electrical corporations to provide for tier-exempted rate relief for customers in large households with income levels between 175 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline level. The decision acknowledged that the average electricity usage of households with three or more occupants is higher than the average usage of smaller households that are similar in other respects, with usage typically exceeding 130 percent of baseline quantities year-round and with higher usage in peak summer months. The decision also acknowledged that large households are unlikely to be able to conserve as much as other households as a means of maintaining affordable energy bills.
(d) In Decision 05-10-044 (October 27, 2005), Interim Opinion Approving Various Emergency Program Changes In Light of Anticipated High Natural Gas Prices in the Winter of 2005–06, the Public Utilities Commission required electrical corporations to expand the Family Electric Rate Assistance program to residential customers that are families of three or more persons with total household annual gross income levels between 200 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline level.
(e) In Decision 15-07-001 (July 3, 2015), Decision on Residential Rate Reform for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, and San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Transition to Time-of-Use Rates, the Public Utilities Commission revised the Family Electric Rate Assistance program to provide qualified households with a 12 percent line-item discount.
(f) Electrical corporations can assist California’s working families by increasing the Family Electric Rate Assistance program benefits and expanding outreach to increase participation by eligible customers.

SEC. 2.

 Section 739.12 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

739.12.
 (a) The commission shall continue a program of assistance to residential customers of the state’s three largest electrical corporations consisting of households of three or more persons with total household annual gross income levels between 200 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline level. The program shall continue to be referred to as the Family Electric Rate Assistance or FERA program.
(b) The FERA program discount shall be an 18 percent line-item discount applied to an eligible customer’s bill calculated at the applicable rate for the billing period.
(c) The commission shall authorize the state’s three largest electrical corporations to increase or expand marketing and outreach efforts beyond those in effect as of December 31, 2018, to increase eligible customer participation in the FERA program.
SEC. 3.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.