On February 25, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting. The agenda was brief; the only matter voted upon individually after discussion was the adoption of an order continuing implementation of time-of-day pricing for electric customers. During the public comment period, there was some discussion of the Rural Telephone Bank stock matter which was held until the March 11, 2010 meeting.
REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
- Application of Pacific Gas and Electric Company for Approval of its 2009 Rate Design Window Proposals for Dynamic Pricing and Recovery of Incremental Expenditures Required for Implementation (Item 26, adopted on regular agenda) – The Commission adopted a decision continuing implementation of dynamic pricing for all electric customers by adopting default and optional critical peak pricing and time-of-use rates, by mandating customer outreach and education activities, and providing recovery of implementation costs through the Company’s annual electric true -up advice letter filing. The implementation of time-of-day rates using Smart Meter technology is a key component of the Commission’s demand-side management and greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. The draft decision upon which the Commission voted is available here.
- Application to Clarify Rules for the California High-Cost Fund-A Program (Item 11, adopted on consent agenda) – The Commission denied an application to modify D. 91-09-042 to limit the increases in small incumbent local exchange carrier rates that could be adopted pursuant to the California High Cost Fund-A mechanism; instead, the Commission capped the basic exchange rates which might otherwise be increased pursuant to the existing mechanism at $20.25 per month pending completion of a new rulemaking proceeding to be instituted within ninety days to review the fund comprehensively. A recent draft of the proposed decision upon which the Commission voted is available here.
- Public Utilities Code Section 851 Advice Letter Pilot Program (Item 48, adopted on consent agenda) – This decision extends until August 23, 2011, and modifies the Section 851 advice letter pilot program to permit the Executive Director and the Division Directors to approve certain Section 851 advice letters when no protest has been filed, no environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act is required, and the transaction does not materially impact ratebase or require more extensive Commission review. A recent draft of the resolution is available here.
- Termination of the Public Policy Payphone Program (Item 10, Res. T-17226, adopted on consent agenda) – This decision terminates the public policy payphone program due to lack of interest by payphone providers. A recent draft of the resolution is available here.
- Funding for Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications from the California Advanced Services Fund (Item 20, Res. T -17230, adopted on consent agenda) – The Commission approved broadband funding of $1.7 million from the CASF, representing ten percent of the total project cost, for a middle-mile project in Plumas, Sierra, and Lassen counties contingent on receipt of a grant for 80% of the project cost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A recent draft of the resolution adopted by the Commission is available here.
- Annual Fee to Implement the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 (Item 26, Res. T-17260, adopted on consent agenda) – The Commission set the annual fee to be paid by each video franchise holder at $0.0434 per household in its video franchise territory. A recent draft of the resolution adopted by the Commission is available here.
SIGNIFICANT HELD AND WITHDRAWN ITEMS
- Determination of Ratemaking Treatment for Rural Telephone Bank Stock Redemption Proceeds (Item 5, held until March 11, 2010) – The Proposed Decision in this matter would resolve the Small LECs’ application, prompted by previous Commission directives in certain Small LEC rate cases, to address “gain on sale” issues involved in the recent stock redemptions associated with the dissolution of the Rural Telephone Bank. The Proposed Decision would depart from the Commission’s “gain on sale” rules by allocating the full value of redeemed RTB stock to ratepayers, including the value of patronage shares received by RTB borrowers, subject to jurisdictional adjustments. During the public comment period, Commissioner Ryan stated she is scheduling an all-party meeting to discuss the matter further before a decision is adopted. President Peevey and Commissioner Simon expressed concerns about the current Proposed Decision. A further updated Proposed Decision made available just before the Commission meeting is available here.
NOTES AND COMMISSIONER REPORTS
- Chief ALJ Clopton Report on “Soup to Nuts” Process Review – The Chief Administrative Law Judge reported on the process review now underway to streamline procedures and improve public accessibility, including the updated agenda format, the subject matter compendiums under development, and the results of the working groups established to examine issues related to practice and procedure, ex parte communications, and public participation and access.
- Commissioner Reports on NARUC Meeting – Commissioners Simon, Grueneich, and Bohn reported on the Winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners with particular attention to energy efficiency projects, in addition to updates on their latest activities promoting the interests of the Commission.
- Commissioner Ryan Names Sepideh Khosrowjah as Chief of Staff – Commissioner Ryan announced the appointment of Sepideh KhosrowjahSep as her chief of staff. Ms. Khosrowjah was previously a policy advisor for the Division of Ratepayer Advocates.
- President Peevey Names Karl Meeusen as Energy Advisor – President Peevey announced the appointment of Karl Meeusen to his staff as energy advisor. Previously, he worked in the Energy Division on demand response issues.
- Commission Remembers Eddie Quon – Executive Director Clanon noted the passing of fifty-five year Commission employee Eddie Quon, who began work at the PUC in November 1954 and continued at his job in the Transportation Division until his recent death. President Peevey adjourned the meeting in his memory.