Energy and Utilities

Major legislation to be considered by the Legislature in energy was Governor’s Reorganization Plan No. 3 restructuring the energy planning agencies of government. On August 25, 2005, the Senate passed SR 19 (Escutia) defeating the Governor’s plan. Another piece of legislation was SB 1 (Murray) establishing the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, the goal of which is to place one million solar energy systems, or the equivalent 3,000 megawatts of capacity, on new or existing residential and commercial buildings by 2018. The Governor’s Administration dropped its sponsorship of SB 1 with the addition of language which the unions wanted. At the time of this writing, the Governor has submitted a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), for their consideration, similar to SB 1, without the union language.

Other significant energy and utilities legislation enacted includes: SB 15 (Escutia) extending from 10 days to 30 days the minimum public review/comment period for alternate decisions published by a member of the PUC; SB 76 (Budget and Fiscal Review Committee) implementing the Energy Budget trailer bill to implement the California Hydrogen Blueprint Plan to establish demonstration hydrogen fueling stations, and lease and purchase hydrogen-powered vehicles; SB 210 (Bowen) extending the sunset date on the PUC’s authority to charge telephone customers a surcharge to subsidize all disabled and deaf customers; SB 580 (Escutia) expanding the jurisdiction of the Low-Income Oversight Board of the PUC; SB 608 (Escutia) expanding and clarifying the role of the Office of the Ratepayer Advocate within the PUC; SB 1037 (Kehoe) requiring that investor-owned utilities, natural gas suppliers and municipal utilities first invest on all available demand reduction technologies before acquiring new generation or supply resources; AB 67 (Levine) expressing legislative intent for the PUC to reduce electricity and natural gas to the lowest amount possible; AB 380 (Nunez) establishing resource adequacy standards for electric utilities and their providers of electric service; AB 515 (Richman) encouraging the development of solar generation panels along the State Water Project; AB 610 (Calderon) requiring cellular telephone companies to provide subscribers a means to obtain reasonably current information about the Internet and text message usage and charges associated with their service by January 1, 2007; AB 728 (Negrete McLeod) expanding an existing pilot project allowing net energy metering for customer-owned electric generation projects fueled by manure methane products; AB 746 (Blakeslee) allowing energy utilities to accept credit and debit cards and to levy fees on the user, under specified circumstances; AB 1104 (Levine) ensuring that video service customers are not billed after requesting to have their service ended; AB 1182 (Calderon) requiring the PUC to post its annual work plan on its Internet web site; AB 1576 (Nunez) requiring the PUC to approve a rate adjustment for a replacement or repowering project; AB 1585 (Blakeslee) requiring the California Energy Commission (CEC) to review the feasibility of increasing the renewable resources target to 33 percent by 2020; AB 1660 (Pavley) enacting the California Energy-Efficient Vehicle Group Purchase Program to encourage the purchase of energy-efficient vehicles by local and state agencies through a group purchasing program; AB 1723 (La Malfa) requiring utilities and other retail electricity providers to provide the CEC their forecasts of local loss to competition and requiring the CEC to submit its assessment of local loss forecasts to the PUC; and AB 1732 (La Malfa) enabling the CEC to administer the natural gas public interest research and development program.

Significant energy and utilities legislation vetoed by the Governor includes: AB 1380 (Gordon) establishing a telephone number inventory system to prevent the premature exhaustion of numbers and splitting of area codes; and AB 1383 (Pavley) establishing the Low-Income Housing Development Revolving Loan Program to help finance solar energy systems in low-income housing.

Note: Railroad legislation in this book can be found in the Transportation section.