Energy and Utilities

Energy and utilities legislation of note that was chaptered into law included: SB 380 (Kehoe) providing that the three largest investor-owned utilities (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric) must purchase renewable energy produced by any customer and pay the customer a market price determined by the Public Utilities Commission; SB 780 (Wiggins) extending the sunset date on the Public Utilities Commission’s California High Cost Fund-A program from 1/1/09 to 1/1/13, and California High Cost Fund-B program from 1/1/09 to 1/1/12; SB 1040 (Kehoe) providing for a surcharge on Voice over Internet Protocol service phone providers and users that connect to the 911 system to pay into the State Emergency Telephone Number Account; SB 1149 (Wiggins) extending, from 1/1/09 to 1/1/13, the Public Utilities Commission Rural Telecommunications Infrastructure Grant Program; SB 1193 (Padilla) establishing until 1/1/13, the California Advanced Services Fund to help promote the deployment of broadband infrastructure; SB 1399 (Simitian) exempting from the Solar Shade Control Act, any three or shrub planted prior to the installation of a solar collector; SB 1754 (Kehoe) permitting the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority to enter into power purchase agreements with public and private entities for the purchase and sale of alternative source energy or projects; SB 1772 (Senate Rules Committee) requiring any member of the five-member Public Utilities Commission to report any payment of $5,000 or more that is made at the behest of that member for a legislative, governmental, or charitable purpose; AB 578 (Blakeslee) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to study and submit a report to the Legislature and the Governor on the impacts of distributed energy generation on the state’s distribution and transmission grid; AB 811 (Levine) permitting counties and cities to use contractual assessments to finance the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial, industrial, or other real property; AB 1451(Leno) continuing a property tax exclusion for projects that utilize solar panel energy and expanding the exclusion to builders-installed solar energy systems in new homes; AB 1510 (Plescia) exempting specified solar and biogas projects from the requirements of the Subdivision Map Act; AB 1763 (Blakeslee) requiring each electrical and gas corporation to disclose and itemize the charges for each rate block on residential customers’ billing statements; AB 2176 (Caballero) requiring the California Energy Commission to administer funds allocated to the state from the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 for cost-effective energy efficiency measures; AB 2180 (Lieu) requiring homeowners association to respond to a request from a member to install a solar energy system within 60 days; AB 2232 (De La Torre) requiring that a background check be conducted for all individuals entering a home of a customer on behalf of a video franchise holder, a telephone corporation, or a satellite television provider; AB 2267 (Fuentes) requiring the California Energy commission to give priority to California-based entities in making awards pursuant to the Public Interest Energy Research program; AB 2404 (Salas) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to recommend whether electric and gas utilities could achieve cost-effective energy efficiency improvements via water conservation projects, based on the outcome of pilot programs previously approved by the Commission;

AB 2466 (Laird) establishing a program for local governments to produce renewable energy and sell that energy to the electric utility at the same rate as the generation portion of the electricity bill; AB 2578 (Lieu) enhancing the ability of the California Public Utilities commission to collect fines and restitution from individuals who engaged in fraudulent activities that are regulated by the Commission; AB 2768 (Levine) providing solar energy customers the option to use time-variant pricing tariffs through the authority of the Public Utilities Commission; AB 2804 (Hayashi) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to grant extensions on the time frame after a school district or community college has applied for a rebate under the California Solar Initiative; AB 2857 (Lieber) prohibiting the Public Utilities Commission from denying eligibility for the California Alternative Rates for Energy program for residents or tenants of a master-metered mobilehome park on the basis that some units in the complex are not submetered; AB 2863 (Leno) exempting an “independent solar energy producer,” as defined, from regulation as an electricity producer; AB 2885 (De La Torre) providing the Public Utilities Commission authority to enforce regulations over the use of prepaid calling cards; AB 3058 (Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee) requiring the Public Utilities Commission, for any contract for the purchase of electricity by the Department of Water Resources, to determine whether the cost and administration of the proposed modification or renegotiation is just and reasonable.

Vetoed Energy and Utilities legislation of note included: SB 312 (Kehoe) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to post on its Internet web site all documents, testimony, or other materials filed with the Commission in any rate-setting or quasi-legislative proceedings; SB 980 (Padilla) requiring the California Energy Commission to evaluate the adequacy of the electric distribution system of specified local publicly owned electric utilities; SB 1491 (McClintock) prohibiting any electric utility from operating a remote controlled device without prior consent of the subscriber; SB 1645 (Wiggins) requiring the Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to update its Energy Aware Planning Guide to include model general plan elements to address energy and climate changes with specified elements; SB 1700 (Steinberg) ensuring that a gas corporation that constructs and operates an underground natural gas storage facility possess liability insurance commensurate with the risks; SB 1760 (Perata) formalizing the structure and duties of the Climate Action Team to coordinate climate policy and expenditures of state funds; SB 1762 (Perata) creating the California Climate Change Institute at the University of California to identify and support research, education and workforce training projects through grants to California universities and national labs to reduce or mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; AB 1755 (Fuentes) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to review its Plant Held for Future Use Guidelines; and AB 2309 (DeSaulnier) requiring the Public Utilities Commission to determine whether to require electrical corporations to provide in-home owner-requested energy efficiency audits for owner occupied residential buildings built before 1/1/06.

There were two ballot measures on the November General Election Ballot, Proposition 7 relating to renewable energy generation and Proposition 10 relating to alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy bonds. Both were voted down by the voters.