AB 987

  • California Assembly Bill
  • 2021-2022 Regular Session
  • Introduced in Assembly
  • Assembly
  • Senate
  • Governor

Public utilities: civil penalties: unplanned electrical outages and deenergization events.

Abstract

(1) Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including electrical corporations. Existing law authorizes the commission to establish rules for all public utilities, subject to control by the Legislature. The Public Utilities Act provides for civil penalties for any violation of the act or for or a failure to comply with any part of any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission. This bill would require the commission to require any penalty imposed on a public utility, person, or corporation for a violation of the act, or for a violation of any order, decision, decree, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission, to be paid no later than 2 years from the date the penalty was imposed, as provided. (2) Existing law requires the commission to adopt inspection, maintenance, repair, and replacement standards for the distribution systems of electrical corporations in order to provide high-quality, safe, and reliable service. Existing law requires the commission to conduct a review to determine whether the standards have been met and to perform the review after every major outage. This bill would require an electrical corporation to pay a customer who lost electricity because of an outage a penalty of $250 per 24-hour period, or any part thereof, in which the customer was without electricity if the outage was caused, in whole or in part, by the failure of the utility's electric plant, as defined, or equipment that is older than its expected lifetime and was not adequately maintained or upgraded. The bill would require an electrical corporation to pay a customer who lost electricity because of a deenergization event a penalty of $250 per 24-hour period, or any part thereof, in which the customer was without electricity if the deenergization event was undertaken in substantial part because the utility either failed to undertake required vegetation management or failed to timely undertake electrical system upgrades necessary to provide resilience for reasonably foreseeable adverse weather events. The bill would require an electrical corporation to establish a memorandum account by June 1, 2023, to track expenses paid to customers, local governments, and others for claims or penalties resulting from an electrical outage, including a deenergization event, and would require the commission to establish rules to determine whether the expenses paid can be recovered from ratepayers, but would prohibit an electrical corporation from recovering the above-described $250 penalties. (3) Existing law requires an electrical corporation to file an annual reliability report with the commission that includes information on the reliability of service to end-use customers. Existing law requires the electrical corporation to conspicuously post its annual report on its internet website. This bill would require an electrical corporation to report the age and anticipated or rated operating life, whichever is less, of its electric plant to the commission and to annually update that information to reflect replacement or upgrades to its electric plant. The bill would require the commission to review the report for accuracy and adequacy. Upon the commission's acceptance of the report as being sufficient, the bill would require the electrical corporation to post the report on its internet website and require the commission to maintain a Uniform Resource Locator link to each electrical corporation's most current report on the commission's internet website. The bill would authorize a city or county to request that the electrical corporation identify any electric plant that is used to supply service within the city or county that is beyond its anticipated or rated operating life. If an electrical corporation has an unplanned outage of electrical service to 100 or more service connections within its service territory and determines that the outage resulted from a failure of the electrical corporation's electric plant, the bill would require the electrical corporation to report that failure to the commission and include that information in an annual reliability report. If an electrical corporation has an unplanned outage of electrical service to 100 or more service connections within its service territory, the bill would require the electrical corporation to (A) promptly notify consumers of the outage by telephone or text message using the contact information that the electrical corporation has in its possession and provide an estimate of how long it will take to restore electrical service to the customer, and (B) promptly notify all public safety offices, critical first responders, including police, sheriff's and fire departments, health care facilities, city offices, and operators of telecommunications infrastructure with premises within the footprint of the outage of the existence of the outage and an estimate of how long it will take to restore electrical service to the area experiencing the outage. (4) Existing law requires each electrical corporation to annually prepare and submit a wildfire mitigation plan to the commission for review and approval, as specified. Following approval, the commission is required to oversee compliance with the plans. Existing law requires a wildfire mitigation plan of an electrical corporation to include, among other things, protocols for deenergizing portions of the electrical distribution system that consider the associated impacts on public safety. As part of these protocols, an electrical corporation is required to include protocols related to mitigating the public safety impacts of deenergizing portions of the electrical distribution system that consider customers that receive medical baseline allowances. Existing law authorizes an electrical corporation to deploy backup electrical resources or provide financial assistance for backup electrical resources to a customer receiving a medical baseline allowance if the customer meets specified conditions. This bill would require an electrical corporation's wildfire mitigation plan include mitigating protocols that consider impacts on customers who rely on life-support equipment that operates on electricity or who have medical conditions that may put them at risk during a deenergization event. The bill would require that the protocols require the provision of backup generators or other suitable backup electrical resources to those customers residing in an area planned for deenergization who rely on life-support equipment that operates on electricity and the provision of reasonable accommodation for those customers residing in an area planned for deenergization who may be at risk from a medical condition during a deenergization event. Existing law requires a wildfire mitigation plan of an electrical corporation to also include appropriate and feasible procedures for notifying a customer who may be impacted by the deenergizing of electrical lines and requires these procedures to direct notification to all public safety offices, critical first responders, health care facilities, and operators of telecommunications infrastructure with premises within the footprint of potential deenergization for a given event. This bill would require that a wildfire mitigation plan include appropriate and feasible procedures for notifying a customer 48 hours in advance who may be impacted by a deenergization event, including procedures for those customers who rely on life-support equipment that operates on electricity or who have medical conditions that may put them at risk during a deenergization event. The bill would require that the procedures direct notification to all public safety offices, critical first responders, health care facilities, city offices, and operators of telecommunications infrastructure with premises within the footprint of potential deenergization for a given event. The bill would require an electrical corporation to promptly post notice of a planned deenergization event on its internet website when it determines that it will, or may, institute a deenergization event. The bill would require that an electrical corporation's customer notification procedures enable public media outlets to request notifications of a planned deenergization event along with procedures for providing the requested notification. The bill would require an electrical corporation that undertakes a deenergization event that either lasts longer than 12 hours or, if the temperature is 100 degrees or hotter, lasts 5 hours or longer, to provide a check for $250 prior to the next billing cycle to every residential customer to compensate the residential customer for anticipated expenses of traveling to, and staying at, a location with electrical service and any incidental expenses, such as spoiled food, unless the consumer elects otherwise. (5) Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act, or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission, is a crime. Because certain provisions of the bill would be included in the act, a violation of which would be a crime, and certain requirements of the bill would be implemented or enforced by the commission, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Bill Sponsors (1)

Votes


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Actions


Apr 19, 2021

Assembly

In committee: Hearing postponed by committee.

Mar 26, 2021

Assembly

Re-referred to Com. on U. & E.

  • Referral-Committee
Com. on U. & E.

Mar 25, 2021

Assembly

Referred to Com. on U. & E.

  • Referral-Committee
Com. on U. & E.

Assembly

From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to Com. on U. & E. Read second time and amended.

Feb 19, 2021

Assembly

From printer. May be heard in committee March 21.

Feb 18, 2021

Assembly

Read first time. To print.

Bill Text

Bill Text Versions Format
AB987 HTML
02/18/21 - Introduced PDF
03/25/21 - Amended Assembly PDF

Related Documents

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