SACRAMENTO–Yesterday, the Committee on Utilities and Energy passed AB 50 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), legislation that will hold utilities accountable for providing Californians with timely and reliable power connections. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“My office has heard from an alarming number of residential and commercial projects in my district that received “will serve” letters from the utility that indicate when power will be made available, but are waiting months and years longer to get electricity,” said Wood. “Once I introduced this bill, we quickly learned it’s not just happening in my district, it’s a statewide issue.”
California is pursuing unprecedented climate change goals which is driving the need to overhaul the way power is produced and used in order to reduce emissions in an energy transition that will require a third more electricity over the next decade.
“If our electric corporations can’t meet our power demands, it will be impossible to achieve our critical climate, housing and economic development goals,” said Wood.
AB 50 holds utilities accountable by ensuring customers have a right to timely service connections and also allows the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to determine if it would be appropriate for customers to receive financial compensation as a result of these delays. The bill requires the CPUC, through a public regulatory process, to determine energization timelines for electric utilities and, in the meantime, AB 50 will ensure customers won’t be waiting months or years for power by enforcing reasonable deadlines for energizing. This bill also requires utilities to regularly evaluate and improve their internal planning processes and communicate regularly with local governments about capacity constraints and delays in energization.
“As local governments approve development plans, they need to be well informed of electrical capacity issues, and this information has been lacking through no fault of their own,” said Wood. “Decades ago, these will serve letters may have been adequate, but today they mean nothing more than will serve, eventually, and that doesn’t work for California and it doesn’t work for me.”
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