SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The State Legislature unanimously approved a package of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reform measures proposed by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). They now await the Governor’s signature. Assembly Bill 825 establishes a suite of transparency and oversight measures over the CPUC, including creating an “Inspector General” with independent authority to investigate the CPUC.
It also creates “all party conferences” that require commissioners to convene meetings to discuss issues with parties and the public rather than behind-closed-doors ex parte meetings.
“Allegations of backroom deals and scandals reflect a broken organizational culture within the CPUC,” Rendon said. “This package of reforms boosts transparency and independent oversight and moves toward restoring public confidence in the commission.”
Assembly Bill 895 provides legislative oversight over the use of ratepayer refunds resulting from electricity crisis litigation. Additionally, it allows parties to take public records and open meeting law claims against the CPUC to superior court, a provision added after the CPUC’s inability to comply with Rendon’s request for documents regarding the San Onofre nuclear plant shutdown.
Assembly Bill 1023 codifies policy requiring disclosure of ex parte communications between regulated entities and CPUC commissioners and staff. This was proposed in light of undisclosed meetings between CPUC and utility company officials to negotiate the San Onofre closure.
AB 825, 895 and 1023 all moved through the Assembly and Senate with unanimous support.
Gov. Jerry Brown has until October 11 to consider the three bills.
Assemblyman Anthony Rendon is chair of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce. Rendon is serving in his second term representing the 63rd Assembly District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, North Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, and South Gate.