Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 1. REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES [201 - 3297]

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

PART 1. PUBLIC UTILITIES ACT [201 - 2120]

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

CHAPTER 4. Regulation of Public Utilities [701 - 922]

  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

ARTICLE 5. Stocks and Security Transactions [816 - 830]
  ( Article 5 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

816.
  

The power of public utilities to issue stocks and stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership and bonds, notes, and other evidences of indebtedness and to create liens on their property situated within this State is a special privilege, the right of supervision, regulation, restriction, and control of which is vested in the State, and such power shall be exercised as provided by law under such rules as the commission prescribes.

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

816.5.
  

Nothing in this article or in Article 6 (commencing with Section 851) requires a common carrier by railroad subject to the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U.S.C. Sec. 10101 et seq.) or passenger stage corporation to secure from the commission authority to execute any conditional sales contract for the purchase of motor vehicle or railroad equipment or any note or chattel mortgage on that equipment securing the payment of all, or any part, of the purchase price.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 1042, Sec. 22. Effective September 29, 1996.)

817.
  

A public utility may issue stocks and stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership, and bonds, notes, and other evidences of indebtedness payable at periods of more than 12 months after the date thereof, for any one or more of the following purposes and no others:

(a) For the acquisition of property.

(b) For the construction, completion, extension, or improvement of its facilities.

(c) For the improvement or maintenance of its service.

(d) For the discharge or lawful refunding of its obligations.

(e) For the financing of the acquisition and installation of electrical and plumbing appliances and agricultural equipment which are sold by other than a public utility, for use within the service area of the public utility.

(f) For the reorganization or readjustment of its indebtedness or capitalization upon a merger, consolidation, or other reorganization.

(g) For the retirement of or in exchange for one or more outstanding stocks or stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership of such public utility, or bonds, notes, or other evidence of indebtedness of such public utility, with or without the payment of cash.

(h) For the reimbursement of moneys actually expended from income or from any other money in the treasury of the public utility not secured by or obtained from the issue of stocks or stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness of the public utility, for any of the aforesaid purposes except maintenance of service and replacements, in cases where the applicant has kept its accounts and vouchers for such expenditures in such manner as to enable the commission to ascertain the amount of money so expended and the purposes for which such expenditure was made.

(Amended by Stats. 1959, Ch. 1370.)

818.
  

No public utility may issue stocks and stock certificates, or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness payable at periods of more than 12 months after the date thereof unless, in addition to the other requirements of law it shall first have secured from the commission an order authorizing the issue, stating the amount thereof and the purposes to which the issue or the proceeds thereof are to be applied, and that, in the opinion of the commission, the money, property, or labor to be procured or paid for by the issue is reasonably required for the purposes specified in the order, and that, except as otherwise permitted in the order in the case of bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness, such purposes are not, in whole or in part, reasonably chargeable to operating expenses or to income.

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

819.
  

To enable it to determine whether it will issue the order, the commission may hold a hearing and may make such additional inquiry or investigation, examine such witnesses, books, papers, documents, and contracts, and require the filing of such data as it deems of assistance. The commission may by its order grant permission for the issue of such stocks or stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness in the amount applied for, or in a lesser amount, or refuse such permission, or grant it subject to such conditions as it deems reasonable and necessary. The commission may authorize issues of bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness, less than, equivalent to or greater than the authorized or subscribed capital stock of a public utility corporation.

(Amended by Stats. 1953, Ch. 702.)

820.
  

The commission shall have no power to authorize the capitalization of the right to be a corporation, or the capitalization of any franchise or permit, or the right to own, operate, or enjoy any such franchise or permit, in excess of the amount (exclusive of any tax or annual charge) actually paid to the State or to a political subdivision thereof as the consideration for the grant of such franchise, permit, or right. No contract for consolidation or lease shall be capitalized, nor shall any public utility issue any bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness against or as a lien upon any contract for consolidation or merger.

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

821.
  

Subject to the provisions of this article, any public utility may issue bonds, or other interest bearing securities maturing at periods of more than 12 months after the date thereof, and may issue one or more classes of preferred stock which may have attached thereto warrants entitling the holder to subscribe for shares of common stock in such amounts, at such future dates, at such prices and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in the warrants. Such bonds, or other interest bearing obligations and such preferred stock also may be issued with provision therein that they may be converted into shares of common stock in such amounts, at such future dates, at such prices, and on such terms and conditions as may be specified therein.

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

822.
  

Pursuant to this part the commission may, upon an application for an order to issue stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, or other securities or to deliver other consideration in exchange for one or more bona fide outstanding stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, or other securities, claims or property interests, or partly in such exchange and partly for cash, approve the terms and conditions of such issuance and exchange or such delivery and exchange and the fairness of such terms and conditions, after a hearing upon the fairness thereof. All persons to whom it is proposed to issue stocks, bonds, debentures, notes or other securities or to deliver such other consideration in such exchange may appear at such hearing.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 235.)

823.
  

(a) No public utility shall, without the consent of the commission, apply any part of the issue of any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, or any proceeds thereof, to any purpose not specified in the commission’s order, or to any purpose specified in the order in excess of the amount authorized for such purpose, or issue or dispose thereof on any terms less favorable than those specified in the order, or a modification thereof.

(b) A public utility may issue notes, for proper purposes and not in violation of any provision of law, payable at periods of not more than 12 months after the date of issuance of the notes without the consent of the commission.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (b), no public utility as defined in Section 201(e) of the Federal Power Act (49 Stat. 847, 16 U.S.C. 824) shall, without the consent of the commission, issue notes payable at periods of not more than 12 months after the date of issuance of the notes if such notes and all other notes payable at periods of not more than 12 months after the date of issuance of such notes on which such public utility is primarily or secondarily liable would exceed in aggregate amount 5 percent of the par value of the other securities then outstanding. In the case of securities having no par value, the par value for the purposes of this subsection shall be the fair market value as of the date of issue.

(d) No note payable at a period of not more than 12 months after the date of issuance of such note shall, in whole or in part, be refunded by any issue of stocks or stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership, or of bonds, notes of any term or character, or any other evidence of indebtedness, without the consent of the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 700.)

824.
  

The commission may require public utilities to account for the disposition of the proceeds of all sales of stocks and stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership, and bonds, notes, and other evidences of indebtedness, in such form and detail as it deems advisable, and may establish such rules as it deems reasonable and necessary to insure the disposition of such proceeds for the purposes specified in its order.

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

825.
  

All stock and every stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, and every bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, of a public utility, issued without an order of the commission authorizing the issue thereof then in effect or not conforming in its provisions to any of the provisions which it is required by the order of authorization to contain, is void. No failure in any other respect to comply with the terms or conditions of the order of authorization of the commission shall render void any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or any bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, except as to a corporation or person taking it otherwise than in good faith and for value and without actual notice.

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

826.
  

Every public utility which, directly or indirectly issues or causes to be issued, any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, in nonconformity with the order of the commission authorizing the issue, or contrary to the provisions of this part, or of the Constitution of this State, or which applies any part of the proceeds from the sale thereof, to any purpose other than the purpose or purposes specified in the commission’s order or in an amount in excess of the amount authorized for a specified purpose in the order, is subject to a penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500), nor more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for each offense.

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

827.
  

Every officer, agent, or employee of a public utility, and every other person is guilty of a felony who does any of the following acts:

(a) Knowingly authorizes, directs, aids in, issues, or executes, or causes to be issued or executed, any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, in nonconformity with the order of the commission authorizing the issue, or contrary to the provisions of this part or of the Constitution of this State.

(b) Knowingly makes any false statement or representation in any proceeding before the commission or with knowledge of its falsity files or causes to be filed with the commission any false statement or representation which tends in any way to influence the commission to make an order authorizing the issue of any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or any bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, or which results in procuring from the commission the making of any such order.

(c) With knowledge that any false statement or representation was made to the commission, in any proceeding, tending in any way to influence the commission to make such order, issues or executes or negotiates, or causes to be issued, executed, or negotiated any such stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness.

(d) Directly or indirectly, knowingly applies, or causes or assists to be applied any part of the proceeds from the sale of any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, to any purpose not specified in the commission’s order, or to any purpose specified in the commission’s order in excess of the amount authorized for such purpose.

(e) With knowledge that any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, has been issued or executed in violation of any of the provisions of this part, negotiates, or causes the same to be negotiated.

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

828.
  

No provision of this part, and no act done or performed under or in connection therewith, shall obligate the State to pay or guarantee, in any manner whatsoever, any stock or stock certificate or other evidence of interest or ownership, or bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness, authorized, issued, or executed under the provisions of this part.

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

829.
  

(a) This article shall not apply to any person or corporation which transacts no business subject to regulation under this part, except performing services or delivering commodities for or to public utilities or municipal or other public corporations primarily for resale or use in serving the public or any portion thereof. This article shall apply to any public utility if the commission finds, in a proceeding to which the public utility is or may become a party, that the application of this article is required by the public interest.

(b) (1) Except for Section 828, a telephone corporation that is not regulated under a rate-of-return regulatory structure is exempt from this article. This subdivision does not exempt a telephone corporation that is also an electrical corporation or a gas corporation, unless the commission determines the telephone corporation is exempt pursuant to subdivision (c). As used in this subdivision, a “rate-of-return regulatory structure” means a system under which the rates and charges of the telephone corporation are limited by a maximum permissible price that may be charged for a specific service. Telephone corporations regulated by a framework under which they may exercise pricing flexibility for all or most of the services offered are not regulated under a rate-of-return regulatory structure.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the commission may impose any requirement of this article on a telephone corporation if the commission finds, in a proceeding in which the telephone corporation is or may become a party, that the application of any provision of this article is required by the public interest.

(c) The commission may from time to time by order or rule, and subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed therein, exempt any public utility or class of public utility from this article if it finds that the application thereof to such public utility or class of public utility is not necessary in the public interest.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 239, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)

830.
  

No public utility shall assume any obligation or liability as guarantor, endorser, surety, or otherwise in respect of the securities of any other person, firm, or corporation, when such securities are payable at periods of more than 12 months after the date thereof, without having first secured from the commission an order authorizing it so to do. Every such assumption made other than in accordance with the order of the commission authorizing it is void.

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

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