Electric "Re-Regulation" Bill Will Get Closer Look in Assembly

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, June 20, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

After limping out of the Senate with the bare minimum of votes and an eleventh-hour amendment declaring it "for display purposes only", Senator Joseph Dunn’s (D-Santa Ana) SB 888 will face closer scrutiny as it moves through the second house.

The bill will be heard in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce (U&C) Committee on Monday, July 7. The committee will also hold an informational hearing on the bill prior to July 7, although the hearing has not yet been scheduled.

A number of lawmakers have privately expressed reservations about SB 888, at how vague and puzzling many provisions are. Adding to this is the constantly changing thrust of the bill. The number of times it has been amended, and the substantive nature of the amendments, have many Capitol observers wondering what the next round of amendments will include. First, the bill repealed direct access (DA). After encountering strong opposition from DA supporters, Dunn retreated and made it a “core-noncore” bill, although keeping all of the non-DA-related provisions in the bill. Then it became "for display purposes only". Both legislators and stakeholders are wondering what’s next.

There is increasing speculation that Dunn may jettison the DA-core-noncore provisions altogether and that Assembly U&C Chair Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno) may pick up the fallen standard and insert some of the core-noncore provisions into her AB 816, which is presently in the Senate.

Meanwhile, AB 428 (Keith Richman, R-Northridge), which establishes a core-noncore retail market, will be heard on July 8 in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. The bill lifts the suspension of DA effective January 1, 2006, with customers above 500 kW defined as noncore. Under the bill, utilities would have an obligation to provide bundled commodity procurement service to bundled core customers and also to noncore customers who make at least a three-year commitment to bundled utility service. Bundled noncore customers who do not make a minimum three year commitment to bundled service would receive "default service" and pay the "higher of" the spot price or bundled portfolio price (until and unless they make the three year commitment, at which point they pay the bundled portfolio price).

CMTA would support AB 428 if the bill were amended to require noncore customers to pay the spot price (rather than the "higher of") for default service and also if the provisions requiring a non-bypassable charge for “planning reserves” is deleted from the bill.
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