The following list and information include actions by the Governor since the September 15, 2017 legislative deadline ending the 2017 legislative session. This list will change as we reach the October 15, 2017 deadline as the Governor either veto, signs, or allows other bills to become law by not vetoing them before the deadline.
The Governor signed the following bills.
California Public Utilities Commission:
SB 19 (Hill): Public Utilities Commission: Governance
This bill, among other things: 1) prohibits an executive of a public utility from serving as a commissioner within 2 years after leaving the employment of the utility, 2) requires the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) to maintain an updated Conflict of Interest Code and Statement of Incompatible Activities, 3) establishes an ethics officer within the legal division of the PUC that would be designated by the general counsel of the PUC and would be responsible for instituting a program of enhanced ethics training for all commissioners and employees of the PUC and would additionally be responsible for providing confidential advice to commissioners and employees of the commission relative to the PUC’s Conflict of Interest Code, Statement of Incompatible Activities, and limitations on ex parte communications, 4) authorizes the executive director to authorize PUC employees to undertake temporary training and development assignments with other agencies, departments, and commissions that undertake coordinated activities with the PUC including the California Energy Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, 5) requires the PUC to appoint a chief administrative law judge and a chief internal auditor, to hold office at the pleasure of the PUC and to perform specified functions, 6) clarifies that the requirement that the PUC comply with specified requirements when entering into contracts for consultant or advisory service do not apply to contracts for legal services by attorneys who are not employees of the PUC, 7) requires the commission to notify the Attorney General when contracting for legal services by attorneys who are not employees of the commission, 8) authorizes the PUC to conduct financial and performance audits of any entity or program created by any order, decision, motion, settlement, or other action of the PUC, 9) authorizes the PUC to conduct additional follow up work that is related to any findings and recommendations related to the audit, 10) if the PUC undertakes an audit pursuant to this authority, the bill requires the PUC to transmit a copy of the audit report to the Legislature and to the Governor immediately upon completion of the audit and to make the report available to the public, 11) requires the public advisor to receive complaints and comments from members of the public concerning how the PUC is carrying out its functions, and 12) requires the public advisor to assess the nature of substantive complaints and comments from members of the public and take them into consideration when analyzing and recommending options for resolution of the matters underlying those complaints and comments. The public advisor is required to maintain the confidentiality of the identity of a member of the public who makes a complaint or comment unless the member of the public expressly indicates a desire to communicate his or her identity to the PUC.
SB 385 (Hueso): Public Utilities Commission: Ex Parte Communication Reports
(I) The California Constitution establishes the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) and authorizes the commission to exercise ratemaking and rulemaking authority over all public utilities, as defined, subject to control by the Legislature. Existing law requires the PUC to report various information to the Legislature and requires the PUC to submit to the Legislature by January 1, 1993, and on each January 1 thereafter, a detailed budget for expenditure of railroad corporation fees for the ensuing budget year. This bill: 1) moves certain of the PUC’s reporting requirements within the Public Utilities Act to an article pertaining to reports by the commission to the Legislature and make other conforming changes, and 2) moves that provision to the article within the Public Utilities Act pertaining to reports by the commission to the Legislature. (II) Existing law requires the PUC to report annually on its efforts to identify ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar to programs administered by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. This bill: 3) instead requires the commission to, on or before December 31, 2018, and biennially thereafter, as part of a specified report, identify and report to the Legislature on electrical and gas corporation ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar to programs administered by those state agencies, 4) revises various laws relating to ex parte communications in regard to commission proceedings, 5) requires the coordinator of a California area code and commission staff to notify representatives of local jurisdictions and the public in affected areas, and instead of requiring them would authorize them, at the discretion of the PUC to conduct one or more meetings both for representatives of local jurisdictions and for members of the public in affected geographic areas for those same purposes, and 6) repeals obsolete auditing, reporting, and other similar requirements on the PUC.
SB 549 (Bradford): Public Utilities: Maintenance and Safety Funds Reductions
This bill: 1) requires an electrical or gas corporation to notify the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) as part of an ongoing proceeding or in a report otherwise required to be submitted to the PUC, of each time that capital or expense revenue authorized by the PUC for maintenance, safety, or reliability was redirected by the electrical or gas corporation to other purposes, and 2) requires the PUC to ensure that the notification is also made available in a timely fashion to the Office of the Safety Advocate, Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and parties on the service list of any relevant proceeding.
SB 598 (Hueso): Electric and Natural Gas Disconnects by Utilities
Existing law requires the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) to designate a baseline quantity of electricity and gas necessary for the reasonable energy needs of the average residential customer, and to establish a higher energy allowance above this baseline for residential customers dependent on life-support equipment. Existing law requires certain notice be given before an electrical or gas corporation terminates residential service for nonpayment of a delinquent account and prohibits termination of service for nonpayment in certain circumstances. This bill: 1) requires the PUC to develop policies or regulations with a goal of reducing, by January 1, 2024, the levels of gas and electric service disconnections for nonpayment by residential customers to the levels reported by each gas and electrical corporation in 2010, as specified, 2) requires the PUC, in each gas and electrical corporation general rate case to, among other things, assess and identify the impact of any proposed increase in rates on disconnections for nonpayment, 3) requires the PUC to include in a report to the Legislature information on residential household gas and electric service disconnections, separated by certain customer categories, 4) requires the PUC to adopt a measurable data point for residential utility disconnections for nonpayment and incorporate the data point into each gas and electrical corporation general rate case, 5) requires a gas or electrical corporation to incorporate this data point in all of its reports to the PUC that measure or address service reliability, public safety, and affordability, 6) prohibits a gas or electrical corporation from disconnecting service for nonpayment by a residential customer who depends on life-support equipment who is unable to pay for service, who is willing to enter into an amortization agreement, and who satisfies certain other conditions, and 7) authorizes the PUC to identify strategies for reasonable cost recovery for costs incurred by the gas or electrical corporation in providing gas or electric service to customers whom the corporation was unable to disconnect due to compliance with that prohibition.
SB 711 (Hill): Electrical and Gas Corporations: Rates and Charges
This bill: 1) requires the PUC to make efforts to minimize bill volatility for residential customers, including by modifying the length of baseline seasons or defining additional baseline seasons, 2) for each gas corporation and electrical corporation that, for some portion of residential customers, employs every-other-month meter reading and estimates bills for months when the customer’s meter is not read, the bill requires the PUC to direct the gas corporation or electrical corporation to include in its tariffs the methodology it employs to estimate bills for those months during which the meter is not read, and 3) incorporates additional changes to Section 739 of the Public Utilities Code proposed by AB 1292 to be operative only if this bill and AB 1292 are enacted and this bill is enacted last.
Integrated Resource Planning, GHG, and Renewable Energy
SB 338 (Skinner): Net-Load Peak Energy
Existing law requires the Public Utilities Commission to adopt a process for each load-serving entity to file an integrated resource plan and a schedule for periodic updates to the plan to ensure that the load-serving entity meets, among other things, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and the requirement to procure at least 50% of its electricity from eligible renewable resources by December 31, 2030. Existing law requires a local publicly owned electric utility with an annual electrical demand exceeding 700 gigawatthours, on or before January 1, 2019, to adopt an integrated resources plan and a process for updating the plan at least once every 5 years to ensure that the utility satisfies, among other things, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and the requirement to procure at least 50% of its electricity from eligible renewable resources by December 31, 2030. This bill requires the commission and the governing boards of local publicly owned electric utilities to consider, as a part of the integrated resource plan process, the role of distributed energy resources and other specified energy- and efficiency-related tools, in helping to ensure that each load-serving entity or local publicly owned electric utility, as applicable, meets energy needs and reliability needs while reducing the need for new electricity generation and new transmission in achieving the state’s energy goals at the least cost to ratepayers. This bill incorporates additional changes to Section 454.52 of the Public Utilities Code proposed by AB 759 to be operative only if this bill and AB 759 are enacted and this bill is enacted last.
SB 618 (Bradford): Load-Serving Entities: Integrated Resource Planning
This bill requires that the integrated resource plan filed by a load-serving entity contribute to a diverse and balanced portfolio of resources needed to ensure a reliable electricity supply that provides optimal integration of renewable energy in a cost-effective manner, meets the specified emissions reduction goals for greenhouse gases, and prevents cost shifting among load-serving entities.
Greenhouse Gases/Climate Change:
AB 184 (Berman): Sea Level Rise Planning Database
Existing law requires the Natural Resources Agency, in collaboration with the Ocean Protection Council, to create, update biannually, and post on an Internet Web site a Planning for Sea Level Rise Database describing steps being taken throughout the state to prepare for, and adapt to, sea level rise. Existing law further requires that various public agencies and private entities provide to the agency, on a biannual basis, sea level rise planning information, as defined, that is under the control or jurisdiction of the public agencies or private entities, and requires the agency to determine the information necessary for inclusion in the database, as prescribed. Existing law repeals these provisions on January 1, 2018. This bill postpones that repeal until January 1, 2023.
AB 109 (Ting): Budget Act of 2017 allocating GHG Reduction Funds
This bill, among other things, allocates funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to various programs, offices, and agencies, as specified.
AB 134 (Committee on Budget): Budget Act of 2017 allocating GHG Reduction Funds
This bill, among other things, funds local assistance from the Air Resources Board through the GHG Reduction Fund.
This bill: 1) on or before September 30, 2018, for a city, including a charter city, county, or city and county with a population of 200,000 or more residents, or January 31, 2019, for a city, including a charter city, county, or city and county with a population of less than 200,000 residents, requires the city, county, or city and county to make all documentation and forms associated with the permitting of advanced energy storage, as defined, available on a publicly accessible Internet Web site, except as specified, 2) requires a city, county, or city and county to allow for the electronic submittal of a permit application and associated documentation, as specified, 3) authorizes the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to provide guidance on energy storage permitting, including streamlining, best practices, and potential factors for consideration by local government in establishing fees for permitting and inspection, as specified, and 4) makes findings and declarations that implementation of consistent statewide standards to achieve the timely and cost-effective installation of energy storage systems is a matter of statewide concern.
Existing law requires the Department of Toxic Substances Control to implement a procedure to electronically report all permit modifications for hazardous waste facilities, to the extent the Secretary for Environmental Protection determines that the procedure is compatible with the electronic reporting standards adopted by the secretary. Existing law authorizes the department to require a person to submit report or data in an electronic format. This bill: 1) repeals the first stated provision, and 2) authorizes the department to require a person submitting a work plan, schedule, notice, request, application, or other document, for purposes of compliance with laws and regulations, to submit the document in an electronic format.
The Governor vetoed the following bills.
AB 79 (Levine): Electrical Generation: Hourly Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Unspecified Sources
This bill would have: 1) required, by January 1, 2019, the State Air Resources Board, in consultation with California balancing authorities, as defined, to update its inputs or methodology for the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity from unspecified sources, a term defined in existing law but revised for this purpose, 2) required the inputs or methodology to distinguish between those emissions associated with electricity from unspecified sources that is purchased within California balancing authority areas, as defined, and those emissions associated with electricity from unspecified sources imported into California from different subregions of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, 3) required the state board to regularly update the inputs to its methodology and authorize the state board to incorporate additional measures and forms of differentiation that are designed to improve the accuracy of the calculations and that support the state’s initiatives for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, 4) authorized the state board to not update its inputs or methodology for the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity from unspecified sources if it determines that updating the inputs or methodology is infeasible or is not appropriate because the administrative burden is excessive and differentiating is unlikely to materially improve the accuracy of the calculations needed for the state programs designed to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases, 5) required the state board, in consultation with the Independent System Operator and California balancing authorities, to report to the Legislature by January 1, 2019, on any barriers to developing an enhanced methodology, based on recorded generation operations data, for the calculation of hourly greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity from unspecified sources, as specified, and 6) required the Public Utilities Commission and the Energy Commission to incorporate the methodology into programs addressing the disclosure of the emissions of greenhouse gases and the procurement of electricity by entities under the respective jurisdiction of each.
AB 524 (Bigelow): Fines and Settlements: 2015 Butte Fire
This bill would have appropriated moneys resulting from 2 specified citations, issued by the Public Utilities Commission to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company for violations relating to the 2015 Butte Fire, to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to be expended for the department’s program known as the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund and Tree Mortality Grant Program. This bill would have declared that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
The veto message can be found here.