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 9. Hearings and Judicial Review [1701 - 1822]

  ( Chapter 9 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

ARTICLE 1. Hearings [1701 - 1711]
  ( Article 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

1701.
  

(a) All hearings, investigations, and proceedings shall be governed by this part and by rules of practice and procedure adopted by the commission, and in the conduct thereof the technical rules of evidence need not be applied. No informality in any hearing, investigation, or proceeding or in the manner of taking testimony shall invalidate any order, decision, or rule made, approved, or confirmed by the commission.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 11425.10 of the Government Code, Articles 1 to 15, inclusive, of Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 11400) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code do not apply to a hearing by the commission under this code. The Administrative Adjudication Code of Ethics (Article 16 (commencing with Section 11475) of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) shall apply to administrative law judges of the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 808, Sec. 6. (SB 512) Effective January 1, 2017.)

1701.1.
  

(a) The commission shall determine whether each proceeding is a quasi-legislative, an adjudication, or a ratesetting proceeding. The commission’s decision as to the nature of the proceeding shall be subject to a request for rehearing within 10 days of the date of that decision or of any subsequent ruling that expands the scope of the proceeding. Only those parties who have requested a rehearing within that time period shall subsequently have standing for judicial review and that review shall only be available at the conclusion of the proceeding. The commission shall render its decision regarding the rehearing within 30 days. The commission shall establish rules regarding ex parte communication on case categorization issues.

(b) (1) The commission, upon initiating an adjudication proceeding or ratesetting proceeding, shall assign one or more commissioners to oversee the case and an administrative law judge when appropriate. The assigned commissioner shall schedule a prehearing conference and shall prepare and issue by order or ruling a scoping memo that describes the issues to be considered and the applicable timetable for resolution and that, consistent with due process, public policy, and statutory requirements, determines whether the proceeding requires a hearing.

(2) The administrative law judge shall either preside over and conduct, or assist the assigned commissioner or commissioners in presiding over and conducting, any evidentiary or adjudication hearing that may be required.

(c) The commission, upon initiating a quasi-legislative proceeding, shall assign one or more commissioners to oversee the case and an administrative law judge, when appropriate, who may be assisted by a technical advisory staff member in conducting the proceeding. The assigned commissioner shall prepare and issue by order or ruling a scoping memo that describes the issues to be considered and the applicable timetable for resolution and that, consistent with due process, public policy, and statutory requirements, determines whether the proceeding requires a hearing.

(d) (1) Quasi-legislative cases, for purposes of this article, are cases that establish policy, including, but not limited to, rulemakings and investigations that may establish rules affecting an entire industry.

(2) Adjudication cases, for purposes of this article, are enforcement cases and complaints except those challenging the reasonableness of any rates or charges as specified in Section 1702.

(3) Ratesetting cases, for purposes of this article, are cases in which rates are established for a specific company, including, but not limited to, general rate cases, performance-based ratemaking, and other ratesetting mechanisms.

(e) (1) (A) “Ex parte communication,” for purposes of this article, means any oral or written communication between a decisionmaker and an interested person concerning any matter before the commission that the commission has not specified in its Rules of Practice and Procedure as being a procedural matter and that does not occur in a public hearing, workshop, or other public proceeding, or on the official record of the proceeding on the matter. The commission shall specify in its Rules of Practice and Procedure, enacted by rulemaking, the types of issues considered procedural matters under this article.

(B) “Interested person,” for purposes of this article, means any of the following:

(i) Any applicant, an agent or an employee of the applicant, or a person receiving consideration for representing the applicant, or a participant in the proceeding on any matter before the commission.

(ii) Any person with a financial interest, as described in Article 1 (commencing with Section 87100) of Chapter 7 of Title 9 of the Government Code, in a matter before the commission, an agent or employee of the person with a financial interest, or a person receiving consideration for representing the person with a financial interest. A person involved in issuing credit ratings or advising entities or persons who invest in the shares or operations of any party to a proceeding is a person with a financial interest.

(iii) A representative acting on behalf of any civic, environmental, neighborhood, business, labor, trade, or similar organization who intends to influence the decision of a commission member on a matter before the commission.

(iv) Other categories of individuals deemed by the commission, by rule, to be an interested person.

(2) The commission shall by rule adopt and publish a definition of decisionmakers and interested persons for purposes of this article, along with any requirements for written reporting of ex parte communications and appropriate sanctions for noncompliance with any rule proscribing ex parte communications. The definition of decisionmakers shall include, but is not limited to: each commissioner; the personal staff of a commissioner if the staff is acting in a policy or legal advisory capacity; the chief administrative law judge of the commission; and the administrative law judge assigned to the proceeding. The commission shall, by rule, explicitly ban both of the following:

(A) The practice of one-way ex parte communications from a decisionmaker to an interested person.

(B) Any communication between an interested person and a decisionmaker regarding which commissioner or administrative law judge may be assigned to a matter before the commission.

(3) For adjudication cases, the rules shall provide that ex parte communications shall be prohibited, as required by this article. The rules shall provide that if an ex parte communication occurs that is prohibited by this article, or if an ex parte communication occurs in a ratesetting case, whether initiated by a decisionmaker or an interested person, all of the following shall be required:

(A) The interested person shall report the communication within three working days of the communication by filing a notice with the commission that includes all the following:

(i) The date, time, and location of the communication, whether the communication was oral or written, or a combination of both, and the communication medium used.

(ii) The identity of the decisionmaker, the identity of the person initiating the communication, and the identities of any other persons present.

(iii) The topic of the communication, including applicable proceeding numbers.

(iv) A substantive description of the interested person’s communication and its content.

(v) A copy of any written material or text used during the communication.

(B) Any decisionmaker who participated in the communication shall promptly log the ex parte communication by filing a notice that includes all the following:

(i) The date, time, and location of the communication, whether the communication was oral or written, or a combination of both, and the communication medium used.

(ii) The identity of the interested person, the identity of the person initiating the communication, and the identities of any other persons present.

(iii) The topic of the communication, including any applicable proceeding numbers.

(iv) A brief description of the communication.

(C) If the interested person who participated in the communication has not timely submitted the notice required by subparagraph (A), the decisionmaker shall refer the matter to the attorney for the commission, and an assigned commissioner, by ruling, shall order the interested person to submit the required notice. The interested person shall be subject to any applicable penalties for the initial violation and, if the interested person does not submit the required notice within the time period specified in the assigned commissioner’s ruling, the interested person shall be subject to continuing violations pursuant to Section 2108.

(4) The requirements of paragraph (3) shall not apply to any oral ex parte communication occurring at a meeting if all parties are invited to participate and given not less than three working days’ notice.

(5) The commission shall not take any vote on a matter in which a notice of a prohibited ex parte communication has been filed pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (3) until all parties to the proceeding have been provided a reasonable opportunity to respond to the communication.

(6) If an ex parte communication is not disclosed as required by this subdivision until after the commission has issued a decision on the matter to which the communication pertained, a party not participating in the communication may file a petition to rescind or modify the decision. The party may seek a finding that the ex parte communication significantly influenced the decision’s process or outcome as part of any petition to rescind or modify the decision. The commission shall process the petition in accordance with the commission’s procedures for petitions for modification and shall issue a decision on the petition no later than 180 days after the filing of the petition.

(7) (A) Ex parte communications that occur at conferences and that are within the scope of an adjudication or ratesetting proceeding shall be subject to the requirements of this article.

(B) Ex parte communications that occur at conferences and that are within the scope of a quasi-legislative proceeding shall be governed by the ex parte communication disclosure requirements developed by the commission.

(C) For purposes of this section, “ex parte communications that occur at conferences” includes, but is not limited to, communications in a private setting or during meals, entertainment events, and tours, and informal discussions among conference attendees.

(8) The commission shall render its decisions based on the law and on the evidence in the record. Ex parte communications shall not be a part of the evidentiary record of the proceedings.

(f) The commission may meet in a closed session to discuss administrative matters so long as no collective consensus is reached or vote taken on any matter requiring a vote of the commissioners. The commission shall, by rule, adopt and publish a definition of “administrative matters” for purposes of this section.

(g) The commission shall permit written comments received from the public to be included in the record of its proceedings, but the comments shall not be treated as evidence. The commission shall provide parties to the proceeding a reasonable opportunity to respond to any public comments included in the record of proceedings.

(h) It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission, and any entity or person seeking to influence actions taken by the commission, shall be subject to all applicable ethical standards, including any applicable obligations under the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code), including, but not limited to, any applicable lobbying obligations.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 519, Sec. 1. (SB 1358) Effective January 1, 2019.)

1701.2.
  

(a) This section shall apply to adjudication cases only.

(b) If the commissioner assigned pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1701.1 has determined that an adjudication case requires a hearing, the assigned commissioner or the assigned administrative law judge shall hear the case in the manner described in the scoping memo. The scoping memo shall designate whether the assigned commissioner or the assigned administrative law judge shall preside in the case.

(c) The commission shall provide by rule for peremptory challenges and challenges for cause of the administrative law judge. Challenges for cause shall include, but not be limited to, financial interests and prejudice. The rule shall provide that all parties are entitled to one peremptory challenge of the assignment of the administrative law judge in all cases. All parties are entitled to unlimited peremptory challenges in any case in which the administrative law judge has within the previous 12 months served in any capacity in an advocacy position at the commission, been employed by a regulated public utility, or has represented a party or has been an interested person in the case.

(d) The assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge shall prepare and file a decision setting forth recommendations, findings, and conclusions. The decision shall be filed with the commission and served upon all parties to the action or proceeding without undue delay, not later than 60 days after the matter has been submitted for decision. The decision of the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge shall become the decision of the commission if no further action is taken within 30 days. Any party may appeal the decision to the commission, provided that the appeal is made within 30 days of the issuance of the decision. The commission may itself initiate a review of the proposed decision on any grounds.

(e) The commission’s decision shall be supported by findings of fact on all issues material to the decision, and the findings of fact shall be based on the record developed by the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge. A decision different from that of the assigned commissioner or the administrative law judge shall be accompanied by a written explanation of each of the changes made to the decision.

(f) Notwithstanding Section 307, an officer, employee, or agent of the commission that is personally involved in the prosecution or in the supervision of the prosecution of an adjudication case before the commission shall not participate in the decision of the case or any factually related adjudicatory proceeding, including participation in or advising the commission as to findings of fact, conclusions of law, or orders. An officer, employee, or agent of the commission that is personally involved in the prosecution or in the supervision of the prosecution of an adjudication case may participate in reaching a settlement of the case, but shall not participate in the decision of the commission to accept or reject the settlement, except as a witness or counsel in an open hearing or a hearing closed pursuant to subdivision (h). The Legislature finds that the commission performs both prosecutorial and adjudicatory functions in an adjudication case and declares its intent that an officer, employee, or agent of the commission, including its attorneys, may perform only one of those functions in any adjudication case or factually related adjudicatory proceeding.

(g) (1) Ex parte communications shall be prohibited in adjudication cases.

(2) Any oral or written communications concerning procedural matters in adjudication cases between interested persons and decisionmakers, except the assigned administrative law judge, shall be prohibited.

(h) Notwithstanding any other law, the commission may meet in a closed hearing to consider the decision that is being appealed. The vote on the appeal shall be in a public meeting and shall be accompanied with an explanation of the appeal decision.

(i) Adjudication cases shall be resolved within 12 months of initiation unless the commission makes findings why that deadline cannot be met and issues an order extending that deadline. In the event that a rehearing of an adjudication case is granted, the parties shall have an opportunity for final oral argument.

(j) (1) The commission may determine that the respondent lacks, or may lack, the ability to pay potential penalties, fines, or restitution that may be ordered by the commission.

(2) If the commission determines that a respondent lacks, or may lack, the ability to pay, the commission may order the respondent to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the commission, sufficient ability to pay potential penalties, fines, or restitution that may be ordered by the commission. The respondent shall demonstrate the ability to pay, or make other financial arrangements satisfactory to the commission, within seven days of the commission commencing an adjudication case. The commission may delegate to the attorney to the commission the determination of whether a sufficient showing has been made by the respondent of an ability to pay.

(3) Within seven days of the commission’s determination of the respondent’s ability to pay potential penalties, fines, or restitution, the respondent shall be entitled to an impartial review by an administrative law judge of the sufficiency of the showing made by the respondent of the respondent’s ability to pay. The review by an administrative law judge of the ability of the respondent to pay shall become part of the record of the adjudication and is subject to the commission’s consideration in its order resolving the adjudication case. The administrative law judge may enter temporary orders modifying any financial requirement made of the respondent pending the review by the administrative law judge.

(4) A respondent that is a public utility regulated under a rate of return or rate of margin regulatory structure or that has gross annual revenues of more than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) generated within California is presumed to be able to pay potential penalties, fines, or restitution that may be ordered by the commission, and, therefore, paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, do not apply to that respondent.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 519, Sec. 2. (SB 1358) Effective January 1, 2019.)

1701.3.
  

(a) This section shall apply only to ratesetting cases, except, if the commissioner assigned pursuant to Section 1701.1 has determined that a ratesetting case does not require a hearing, the procedures prescribed by subdivisions (b), (d), (f), and (i) shall not apply.

(b) The assigned commissioner shall determine prior to the first hearing whether the commissioner or the assigned administrative law judge shall be designated as the principal hearing officer. The principal hearing officer shall be present for more than one-half of the hearing days. The decision of the principal hearing officer shall be the proposed decision.

(c) An alternate decision may be issued by the assigned commissioner or the assigned administrative law judge who is not the principal hearing officer. Any alternate decision may be filed with the commission and served upon all parties to the proceeding any time prior to issuance of a final decision by the commission, consistent with the requirements of Section 311.

(d) The commission shall establish a procedure for any party to request the presence of a commissioner at a hearing. The assigned commissioner shall be present at any closing arguments in the case.

(e) The principal hearing officer shall present the proposed decision to the full commission in a public meeting. The alternate decision, if any, shall also be presented to the full commission at that public meeting.

(f) The presentation to the full commission shall contain a record of the number of days of the hearing, the number of days that each commissioner was present, and whether the decision was completed on time.

(g) The commission shall provide by rule for peremptory challenges and challenges for cause of the administrative law judge. Challenges for cause shall include, but not be limited to, financial interests and prejudice. All parties shall be entitled to unlimited peremptory challenges in any case in which the administrative law judge has within the previous 12 months served in any capacity in an advocacy position at the commission, been employed by a regulated public utility, or has represented a party or has been an interested person in the case.

(h) (1) Ex parte communications in ratesetting cases are subject to the disclosure requirements of this article. The commission, by order or ruling, may prohibit ex parte communications in a ratesetting case.

(2) Oral communications may be permitted by a decisionmaker if all parties are given not less than three working days’ notice. No individual ex parte meetings shall be held during the three business days before the commission’s scheduled vote on the decision.

(3) (A) If an ex parte communication meeting is granted to any party, all other parties, upon request, shall also be granted individual ex parte meetings of a substantially equal period of time and shall be sent a notice of that opportunity at the time the request is granted.

(B) Subparagraph (A) shall not apply if the decisionmaker participating in the ex parte communication meeting is a member of the personal staff of a commissioner acting in a policy or legal advisory capacity and no other decisionmaker to whom subparagraph (A) applies is a participant.

(4) Written ex parte communications by any interested person may be permitted if copies of the communication are transmitted to all parties on the same day as the original communication.

(5) Written and oral ex parte communications shall not be part of the evidentiary record of the proceeding.

(6) (A) The commission may establish a “quiet period” during which no oral or written ex parte communications may be permitted and the commission may meet in closed session during that period.

(B) A quiet period may be established only during the following periods:

(i) After a proposed decision or order is issued and is scheduled for a vote.

(ii) After a proposed decision is scheduled for a vote, but is then held and rescheduled for a vote.

(C) The commission shall establish a quiet period during the three business days before the commission’s scheduled vote on a decision.

(D) (i) Any meeting of the commission during a quiet period shall require a minimum of three days’ advance public notice.

(ii) The requirement specified in subparagraph (F) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 11123 of the Government Code shall not apply to a meeting of the commission during a quiet period that is held by teleconference.

(i) Any party has the right to present a final oral argument of its case before the commission. Those requests shall be scheduled in a timely manner. A quorum of the commission shall be present for the final oral arguments.

(j) The commission may, in issuing its decision, adopt, modify, or set aside the proposed decision or any part of the decision based on evidence in the record. The final decision of the commission shall be issued not later than 60 days after the issuance of the proposed decision. Under extraordinary circumstances the commission may extend this date for a reasonable period. The 60-day period shall be extended for 30 days if any alternate decision is proposed pursuant to Section 311.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 519, Sec. 3. (SB 1358) Effective January 1, 2019.)

1701.4.
  

(a) This section shall apply only to quasi-legislative cases, except, if the commissioner assigned pursuant to Section 1701.1 has determined that a quasi-legislative case does not require a hearing, the procedures prescribed by subdivisions (b), (d), and (e) shall not apply.

(b) The assigned administrative law judge and any assigned technical advisory staff shall act as an assistant to the assigned commissioner in quasi-legislative cases. The assigned commissioner shall prepare the proposed rule or order with the assistance of the administrative law judge and any assigned technical advisory staff. The assigned commissioner shall present the proposed rule or order to the full commission in a public meeting. The report shall include the number of days of hearing and the number of days that the commissioner was present.

(c) Ex parte communications in quasi-legislative proceedings are permitted and not subject to the disclosure requirements of this article, except when the commission, by order or ruling, determines either of the following:

(1) That ex parte communications are subject to the disclosure requirements of this article.

(2) That ex parte communications are prohibited and subject to the disclosure requirements of this article.

(d) Any party has the right to present a final oral argument of its case before the commission. Those requests shall be scheduled in a timely manner. A quorum of the commission shall be present for the final oral arguments.

(e) The commission may, in issuing its rule or order, adopt, modify, or set aside the proposed decision or any part of the rule or order. The final rule or order of the commission shall be issued not later than 60 days after the issuance of the proposed rule or order. Under extraordinary circumstances the commission may extend this date for a reasonable period. The 60-day period shall be extended for 30 days if any alternate rule or order is proposed pursuant to Section 311.

(f) No informality in the manner of taking testimony or evidence shall invalidate any order, decision, or rule made, approved, or confirmed by the commission in quasi-legislative cases.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 519, Sec. 4. (SB 1358) Effective January 1, 2019.)

1701.5.
  

(a) Except as specified in subdivision (b), in a ratesetting or quasi-legislative case, the commission shall resolve the issues raised in the scoping memo within 18 months of the date the proceeding is initiated, unless the commission makes a written determination that the deadline cannot be met, including findings as to the reason, and issues an order extending the deadline.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the commission may specify in a scoping memo a resolution date later than 18 months from the date the proceeding is initiated, if that scoping memo includes specific reasons for the necessity of a later date and the commissioner assigned to the case approves the date.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 807, Sec. 6. (SB 215) Effective January 1, 2017.)

1701.6.
  

(a) In addition to any penalty, fine, or other punishment applicable pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 2100), the commission may assess civil sanctions upon any entity or person, other than a decisionmaker or employee of the commission, who violates, fails to comply with, or procures, aids, or abets any violation of, the ex parte communication requirements of this article or those adopted by the commission pursuant to this article. The civil sanctions may include civil penalties, adverse consequences in commission proceedings, or other appropriate commission orders directed at the entity, person, or both the entity and person, committing the violation.

(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a civil penalty assessed shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per violation. Each day of a continuing violation is a separate violation. If the violation consists of engaging in a communication that is prohibited by the ex parte communication requirements, each day that the violation is not disclosed to the commission and to parties of record in the formal proceeding in which the communication occurred shall constitute a separate violation.

(2) If the entity or person may obtain, by violating the ex parte communication requirements, financial benefits that exceed the maximum amount of civil penalty allowable pursuant to paragraph (1), the commission may impose a civil penalty up to the amount of those financial benefits.

(c) Civil penalties assessed pursuant to subdivision (b) upon entities whose rates are determined by the commission shall be in the form of credits to the customers of that entity. Civil penalties collected from other entities shall be deposited into the General Fund.

(d) In determining the appropriate civil sanctions, the commission shall consider the following factors:

(1) The severity of the violation.

(2) The conduct of the entity or person, including the level of experience of the entity or person in participating in commission proceedings and whether the entity or person knowingly violated the ex parte communication requirements.

(3) The financial resources of the entity or person.

(4) The totality of the circumstances in furtherance of the public interest.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 807, Sec. 7. (SB 215) Effective January 1, 2017.)

1701.7.
  

(a) The Attorney General may bring an enforcement action in superior court against a decisionmaker or employee of the commission who knowingly and willfully violates, fails to comply with, or procures, aids or abets any violation of, the ex parte communication requirements in this article or those adopted by the commission pursuant to this article.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 1759, in an enforcement action brought pursuant to this section, the court may grant appropriate relief, including disqualification of the decisionmaker from one or more proceedings and civil penalties as provided in Section 2111.

(c) In determining the appropriate relief, the court may consider the following factors:

(1) The severity of the violation.

(2) The conduct of the decisionmaker or employee.

(3) The financial resources of the decisionmaker or employee.

(4) The totality of the circumstances in furtherance of the public interest.

(d) The Attorney General may compromise the enforcement action subject to approval by the court.

(e) Civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Litigation Deposits Fund established pursuant to Article 9 (commencing with Section 16425) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 807, Sec. 8. (SB 215) Effective January 1, 2017.)

1702.
  

Complaint may be made by the commission of its own motion or by any corporation or person, chamber of commerce, board of trade, labor organization, or any civic, commercial, mercantile, traffic, agricultural, or manufacturing association or organization, or any body politic or municipal corporation, by written petition or complaint, setting forth any act or thing done or omitted to be done by any public utility, including any rule or charge heretofore established or fixed by or for any public utility, in violation or claimed to be in violation, of any provision of law or of any order or rule of the commission. No complaint shall be entertained by the commission, except upon its own motion, as to the reasonableness of any rates or charges of any gas, electrical, water, or telephone corporation, unless it is signed by the mayor or the president or chairman of the board of trustees or a majority of the council, commission, or other legislative body of the city or city and county within which the alleged violation occurred, or by not less than 25 actual or prospective consumers or purchasers of such gas, electricity, water, or telephone service.

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

1702.1.
  

(a) The commission shall entertain complaints against any electrical, gas, water, heat, or telephone company under Sections 734, 735, and 736 when the amount of money claimed does not exceed the jurisdictional limit of the small claims court as set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 116.220 or Section 116.221 of the Code of Civil Procedure. However, when the public interest so requires, the commission or presiding officer may, at any time prior to the filing of a decision, terminate the expedited complaint procedure and recalendar the matter for hearing under the commission’s regular procedure.

(b) No attorney at law shall represent any party other than himself or herself under the expedited complaint procedure.

(c) No pleading other than the complaint and answer is necessary. A hearing without a reporter shall be held within 30 days after the answer is filed.

(d) The parties may file applications for rehearing pursuant to Section 1731. If the commission grants an application for rehearing, the rehearing shall be conducted under the commission’s regular hearing procedure.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 167, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2007.)

1702.2.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), any funds entrusted to the commission by any person or corporation filing a complaint against a public utility shall be deposited in trust by the commission in the custody of the Treasurer, as specified in Section 16305.3 of the Government Code.

(b) If the amount of the funds entrusted to the commission by a person or corporation filing a complaint against a public utility exceeds twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), the commission may deposit the funds in trust in an insured account with a bank or a federal or state savings and loan association, bearing interest at rates up to the maximum permitted by law. The commission shall pay these funds, together with the interest paid thereon, to the party specified in the commission’s order or decision on that complaint.

(Added by Stats. 1983, Ch. 748, Sec. 2.)

1702.5.
  

(a) The commission shall, in an existing or new proceeding, develop and implement a safety enforcement program applicable to gas corporations and electrical corporations which includes procedures for monitoring, data tracking and analysis, and investigations, as well as issuance of citations by commission staff, under the direction of the executive director. The enforcement program shall be designed to improve gas and electrical system safety through the enforcement of applicable law, or order or rule of the commission related to safety using a variety of enforcement mechanisms, including the issuance of corrective actions, orders, and citations by designated commission staff, and recommendations for action made to the commission by designated commission staff.

(1) When considering the issuance of citations and assessment of penalties, the commission staff shall take into account voluntary reporting of potential violations, voluntary removal or resolution efforts undertaken, the prior history of violations, the gravity of the violation, and the degree of culpability.

(2) The procedures shall include, but are not limited to, providing notice of violation within a reasonable period of time after the discovery of the violation.

(3) The commission shall adopt an administrative limit on the amount of monetary penalty that may be set by commission staff.

(b) The commission shall develop and implement an appeals process to govern the issuance and appeal of citations or resolution of corrective action orders issued by the commission staff. The appeals process shall provide the respondent a reasonable period of time, upon receiving a citation, to file a notice of appeal, shall afford an opportunity for a hearing, and shall require the hearing officer to expeditiously provide a draft disposition.

(c) The commission shall, within a reasonable time set by the commission, conclude a safety enforcement action with a finding of violation, a corrective action order, a citation, a determination of no violation, approval of the corrective actions undertaken by the gas corporation or electrical corporation, or other action. The commission may institute a formal proceeding regarding the alleged violation, potentially resulting in additional enforcement action, regardless of any enforcement action taken at the commission staff level.

(d) The commission shall implement the safety enforcement program for gas safety by July 1, 2014, and implement the safety enforcement program for electrical safety no later than January 1, 2015.

(e) This section does not apply to an exempt wholesale generator, a qualifying small power producer, or qualifying cogenerator, as defined in Section 796 of Title 16 of the United States Code and the regulations enacted pursuant thereto. Nothing in this section affects the commission’s authority pursuant to Section 761.3.

(Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 601, Sec. 1. (SB 291) Effective January 1, 2014.)

1703.
  

All matters upon which complaint may be founded may be joined in one hearing, and no motion shall be entertained against a complaint for misjoinder of causes of action or grievances or misjoinder or nonjoinder of parties. In any review by the courts of orders or decisions of the commission the same rule shall apply with regard to the joinder of causes and parties as herein provided. The commission shall not be required to dismiss any complaint because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.

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

1704.
  

Upon the filing of a complaint, the commission shall cause a copy thereof to be served upon the corporation or person complained of. Service in all hearings, investigations, and proceedings pending before the commission may be made upon any person upon whom a summons may be served in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, and may be made personally or by mailing in a sealed envelope, registered, with postage prepaid. The commission shall fix the time when and place where a hearing will be had upon the complaint and shall serve notice thereof, not less than 10 days before the time set for such hearing, unless the commission finds that public necessity requires that such hearing be held at an earlier date.

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

1705.
  

At the time fixed for any hearing before the commission or a commissioner, or the time to which the hearing has been continued, the complainant and the corporation or person complained of, and such corporations or persons as the commission allows to intervene, shall be entitled to be heard and to introduce evidence. The commission shall issue process to enforce the attendance of all necessary witnesses. After the conclusion of the hearing, the commission shall make and file its order, containing its decision. Except for decisions filed after hearings held under Section 1702.1, the decision shall contain, separately stated, findings of fact and conclusions of law by the commission on all issues material to the order or decision. A copy of such order, certified under the seal of the commission, shall be served upon the corporation or person complained of, or his or its attorney. The order shall, of its own force, take effect and become operative 20 days after the service thereof except as otherwise provided by the commission, and shall continue in force either for a period designated in it or until changed or abrogated by the commission. If the commission believes that an order cannot be complied with within 20 days, it may prescribe such additional time as in its judgment is reasonably necessary to comply with the order, and may on application and for good cause shown, extend the time for compliance fixed in its order. Decisions rendered in response to complaints filed and processed pursuant to Section 1702.1 shall not be considered as precedent or binding on the commission or the courts of this state.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1091.)

1706.
  

A complete record of all proceedings and testimony before the commission or any commissioner on any formal hearing shall be taken down by a reporter appointed by the commission, and the parties shall be entitled to be heard in person or by attorney. In case of an action to review any order or decision of the commission, a transcript of that testimony, together with all exhibits or copies thereof introduced, and of the pleadings, record, and proceedings in the cause, shall constitute the record of the commission, but if the petitioner and the commission stipulate that certain questions alone and a specified portion only of the evidence shall be certified to the Supreme Court or the court of appeal for its judgment, the stipulation and the questions and the evidence therein specified shall constitute the record on review. The provisions of this section shall not apply to hearings held pursuant to Section 1702.1.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 886, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 1999.)

1707.
  

Any public utility may complain on any of the grounds upon which complaints are allowed to be filed by other parties, and the same procedure shall be adopted and followed as in other cases, except that the complaint may be heard ex parte by the commission or may be served upon any parties designated by the commission.

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

1708.
  

The commission may at any time, upon notice to the parties, and with opportunity to be heard as provided in the case of complaints, rescind, alter, or amend any order or decision made by it. Any order rescinding, altering, or amending a prior order or decision shall, when served upon the parties, have the same effect as an original order or decision.

(Amended by Stats. 1971, Ch. 514.)

1708.5.
  

(a) The commission shall permit interested persons to petition the commission to adopt, amend, or repeal a regulation.

(b) (1) The commission shall consider a petition and, within six months from the date of receipt of the petition, either deny the petition or institute a proceeding to adopt, amend, or repeal the regulation.

(2) The commission may extend the six month period for consideration of a petition pursuant to paragraph (1) to allow public review and comment pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 311.

(c) If the commission denies a petition, the order or resolution of the commission shall include a statement of the reasons of the commission for that denial.

(d) If the commission finds that it is precluded by law from granting a petition, the statement of reasons for denial pursuant to subdivision (c) shall identify the relevant provisions of law.

(e) The commission shall implement this section under the Rules of Practice and Procedure in effect on January 1, 2000. On or before July 1, 2001, the commission shall amend the Rules of Practice and Procedure to provide more specific procedures for handling a petition pursuant to this section.

(f) Notwithstanding Section 1708, the commission may conduct any proceeding to adopt, amend, or repeal a regulation using notice and comment rulemaking procedures, without an evidentiary hearing, except with respect to a regulation being amended or repealed that was adopted after an evidentiary hearing, in which case the parties to the original proceeding shall retain any right to an evidentiary hearing accorded by Section 1708.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 568, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

1709.
  

In all collateral actions or proceedings, the orders and decisions of the commission which have become final shall be conclusive.

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

1710.
  

No documents or records of a public utility or person or corporation which purport to be statements of fact shall be admitted into evidence or shall serve as any basis for the testimony of any witness, unless the documents or records have been certified under penalty of perjury by the person preparing or in charge of preparing them as being true and correct. If the person preparing them is dead or has been declared incompetent, any other person having knowledge of such statements of fact may certify the records. If certification pursuant to this section is not possible for any reason, the documents or records shall not be admitted into evidence unless admissible under the Evidence Code.

This section shall not apply to any documents not prepared, directly or indirectly, by, or under the supervision or direction of, the public utility or person or corporation offering the documents into evidence.

(Added by renumbering Section 2115 by Stats. 1982, Ch. 618, Sec. 1.)

1711.
  

(a) Where feasible and appropriate, except for adjudication cases, before determining the scope of the proceeding, the commission shall seek the participation of those who are likely to be affected, including those who are likely to benefit from, and those who are potentially subject to, a decision in that proceeding. The commission shall demonstrate its efforts to comply with this section in the text of the initial scoping memo of the proceeding.

(b) (1) The Policy and Planning Division of the commission shall undertake one or more studies of outreach efforts undertaken by other state and federal utility regulatory bodies and make recommendations to the commission to promote effective outreach, including metrics for use in evaluating success.

(2) This subdivision shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and shall have no force or effect on or after that date, unless a later enacted statute that is chaptered before January 1, 2020, deletes or extends that date.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 808, Sec. 7. (SB 512) Effective January 1, 2017.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC