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On May 26, 2016, the Commission held its regularly scheduled meeting. While the Commission’s discussion and public comment was focused on a discussion of possible new power plants in Oxnard, the Commission did adopt “Fire Map 1” in the pole safety proceeding.  The Commission held consideration of proposed modifications to GO 133-D that would impose fines for failures to meet service quality reporting thresholds.  These and other items of interest are more fully described below.

REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA

Fire Map 1 Adopted in Pole Safety Proceeding  (ItemNo. 11, adopted on consent)  –  The Commission adopted the decision endorsing what has been termed “Fire Map 1” in the fire safety proceeding.  This map was intended to identify environmental factors relevant to designating areas as High Fire Threat zones.  At present, the function of “Fire Map 1” is to serve as basis for developing “Fire Map 2.”

Fire Map 1 depicts areas in California where there is “an elevated hazard for the ignition and rapid spread of power-line fires due to strong winds, abundant dry vegetation, and other environmental conditions.”  A print copy of “Fire Map 1” is contained in Appendix A of the decision.

The decision acknowledges certain limitations in the mapping:

(1) The spatial resolution of “Fire Map 1” is 4 km2 for each cell, and it assigns a single Utility Fire Threat Index rating to each cell.

 

(2) The climate reconstruction model used to produce the Fosberg Fire Weather Index (“FFWI”) for each cell makes several simplifying assumptions regarding the maximum wind-gust speed that occurred in a cell during each hour over a ten-year period.

 

(3) The FFWI for each cell is based on historical weather data for spatial scales that exceed the cell size of 4 km2.

 

(4) The FFWI for each cell is based on ten years of historical weather data, which may not adequately represent the frequency and magnitude of severe fire weather.

 

(5) “Fire Map 1” was not validated against historical fires.

 

(6) “Fire Map 1” is based on a snapshot of weather and vegetation patterns that need to be updated periodically.

The Commission created the Fire Map 2 Work Plan to address: (1) the matters identified in the Assigned Commissioner’s Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling that as issued in R.08-11-005 on May 15, 2013, at 10-12, to the extent that these matters pertain to the Fire Map; (2) validation of Fire Map 1 against historical fire information; (3) incorporating additional factors and conditions that affect fire hazards associated with overhead facilities, such as terrain, vegetation, high hazard zones pursuant to the Governor’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency in response to widespread tree mortality, microclimates, historical powerline fires, other than the October 2007 fires in Southern California, and other historical fires; and (4) other matters deemed appropriate by the parties.

Following the adoption of the consent agenda, Commissioner Florio underscored the importance of this item, articulating that the Fire Map is “part of long running review” of rules and regulations to address fire safety in high fire locations across the state.  He acknowledged CAL FIRE’s role in creating the Fire Map and stated that the Commission will begin working “immediately” on Fire Map 2.

A copy of this decision is available at the following link.

Determinations Reached Regarding Public Requests for Records  (ItemNos. 4, 9, adopted on consent)   –  The Commission reached two determinations regarding public records requests made to the agency.  Item 4 mirrors prior decisions on the disclosure of investigation records under the California Public Records Act. The Commission ordered release of the investigation records that were sought.  Item 9 concerned a formal subpoena that was served on the Commission and evaluated the Commission’s obligation to produce discovery and to be a witness under the California Codes of Civil Procedure and Evidence.  The Commission ordered the release of the investigation records that were sought.

Copies of these resolutions are available at the following links.
Item 4
Item 9

Anza Electric Co-Operative Granted a CPCN  (ItemNo. 6, adopted on consent)   –  The Commission granted Anza Electric Co-Operative, Inc. (“Anza”) a certificate of public convenience and necessity (“CPCN”) to provide full facilities-based and resold competitive local exchange and access service in the service territory of Frontier California, Inc., and interexchange service in California.  Anza currently provides electric service in Riverside County.

A copy of this decision is available at the following link.

KDDI’s Denied CPCN Based on Lack of Commission Authority Over Wireless Entry  (ItemNo. 10, adopted on consent)   –  KDDI America, Inc. (“KDDI”) was registered as a wireless reseller with the Commission until its registration was revoked for its failure to remit user fees and surcharges.  Subsequently, KDDI applied for a CPCN to operate as a reseller of wireless telecommunication services.  The Commission denied KDDI’s application for a CPCN, because the Commission cannot regulate wireless market entrants other than to require registration and KDDI was directed to file a wireless ID registration application.

A copy of this decision is available at the following link.

Small Business Utility Advocates Awarded $34,182.75 for Participation in Southern California Edison Company’s Rate Case Proceeding
   (ItemNo. 36a, adopted during the regular agenda)   –  The Commission adopted Commissioner Florio’s alternate decision that awarded the Small Business Utility Advocates $24,182.75 after waiving the requirements of Rule 1.15, which state: “[i]f an act occurs after 5:00 p.m., it is deemed as having been performed on the next day.”  The proposed decision would have denied compensation completely. 

A copy of this decision is available at the following link.

SIGNIFICANT HELD ITEMS

Proposed Decision Adopting General Order 133-D  (Item No. 39, held by Commissioner Sandoval until June 23, 2016, for further review)  –  This decision would adopt revisions to General Order 133, which sets forth service quality rules for California’s public utility corporations.

The proposed changes to GO-133 include the imposition of penalties as follows:

  • The Daily Base Fine for failing to meet the Out of Service standard would be $25,000.  The Daily Base Fine would be scaled for each utility according to its relative number of access lines.
1 to 2 Consecutive Months
of OOS Standard Not Met
3 or more Consecutive Months
of OOS Standard Not Met
Fine
Per Day
 

$0
per day
 

$25,00
per day
Days
in a Month
 

30
days
 

30
days
Total
Fine Per Month
 

$0
 

$750,000
  • The Daily Base Fine for failing to meet the Customer Trouble Reports standard would be based on the number of consecutive months that carriers fail to meet the standard, increasing from $0 for one to two months, up to $2,000 per day at 12 or more consecutive months, scaled according to access lines.
Consecutive
Months
1
to 2
3
to 5
6
to 8
9
to 11
12
or More
Fine
Per Day
$0 $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000
Days
in Month
30 30 30 30 30
Total
Fine Per
Month
$0 $15,000 $30,000 $45,000 $60,000
  • The Daily Base Fine for failing to meet the Answer Time standard would be based on the number of consecutive months the carrier fails to meet the standard, increasing from $0 for one to two months, up to $2,000 per day at 12 or more consecutive months, scaled according to access lines.
Consecutive
Months
1
to 2
3
to 5
6
to 8
9
to 11
12
or More
Fine
Per Day
$0 $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000
Days
in Month
30 30 30 30 30
Total
Fine Per
Month
$0 $15,000 $30,000 $45,000 $60,000
  • Fines would be suspended if the carrier provided an expenditure proposal for incremental actions directed at improving compliance with the service quality standard that led to the fine in an amount that is no less than two times the incurred fine.

Finally, the proposed decision would find that the Commission could exercise its authority under Public Utilities Code section 710(f), to “monitor and discuss VoIP services” by requiring VoIP providers to submit NORS reports to the Commission. The Commission would cancel the subsequent phase scheduled in this proceeding to address wireless service quality.

A copy of the proposed decision is available at the following link.

Proposed Decision for Kerman Telephone Co.’s General Rate Case (Item No. 40. held by staff until June 9, 2016)  –  The proposed decision was held by Staff for further review.  According to the agenda for this meeting at which the matter was to be considered, the proposed decision would authorize (a) an intrastate revenue requirement for Kerman Telephone Co. of $6,826,853; (b) a rate of return of 8.97%; and (c) California High Cost Fund-A support of $1.8 million. In addition, the proposed decision would adopt a basic residential rate of $30 monthly, and basic business service rates of $36.30 monthly (inclusive of Extended Area Service Charges and Access Recovery charges), and it would adopt affiliate transaction requirements proposed by the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.

A copy of the redlined version of the current proposed decision is available at the following link.

SIGNIFICANT WITHDRAWN ITEMS

Decision Granting Compensation to the National Asian American Coalition for Substantial Contribution to Decision 15-03-037 is Withdrawn (Item No. 28, withdrawn)   –  The decision would have ordered Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable Inc., Time Warner Cable Information Services (California), LLC, and Bright House Networks Information Services (California), LLC to pay National Asian American Coalition their respective shares of the award, based on their California-jurisdictional telecommunications revenues for the 2014 calendar year, to reflect the year in which the proceeding was primarily litigated.  The decision would have found that NAAC has made a substantial contribution to D.15-07-036; the requested hourly rates for NAAC’s representatives are comparable to market rates paid to experts and advocates having comparable training and experience and offering similar services; and the claimed costs and expenses are reasonable and commensurate with the work performed.  The decision would have concluded that the total of reasonable compensation is $160,580.60.

A copy of the Proposed Decision is available at the following link.

SIGNIFICANT CLOSED SESSION ITEMS

Conference with Legal Counsel Application for Rehearing (Item No. 53, Commissioners took a unanimous vote in favor of a motion to adopt an order on rehearing)  –  Disposition of Applications for Rehearing of Resolution T-17495 filed by ColfaxNet and Smarter Broadband, Inc. In Resolution T-17495, the Commission approved grant funding in the amount of $16,156,322 and loan funding of $500,000 from the California Advanced Service Fund in response to the grant application from Bright Fiber Network, Inc., which proposes to install a fiber-to-the-premises network system in Rural Nevada County (Bright Fiber Project).

A copy of this decision is available at the following link.

COMMISSIONER REPORTS
During Commissioner Reports, Commissioners Peterman and Sandoval discussed their recent attendance at the NARUC Utility Rate School.  Commissioner Sandoval was a panelist at the Rate School, where she presented on topics including universal service and the nexus between communications and the energy and water utilities and discussed the direct impact of communications on public safety.  As an example, Commissioner Sandoval explained how communications are vital to preventing power outages that result from the failure of substations to adequately communicate with one another and preventing fires through the deployment of weather telemetry networks.

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