Bill Subjects New Munis to Resource-Adequacy Rules; CPA Bill Kaput

By Published On: April 24, 2004

Legislation requiring new public utilities to carry out resource-adequacy analyses and submit a long-term energy plan to the California Energy Commission prior to providing power to new customers passed the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee this week. AB 2499 by Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood), which passed 8-0, was pitched as a means of ensuring supply reliability. Public power agencies disputed the claim that the legislation merely extends to them the adequacy rules currently imposed on investor-owned utilities. Utilities have no resource-adequacy requirements because the California Public Utilities Commission postponed hearings to implement AB 57, said Brett Barrow, legislative director for the California Municipal Utilities Association. He added that new public power agencies conduct feasibility studies before they commence business, so having the CEC step in and tell them to do what they are already doing doesn?t make much sense. Munis say they are getting the short end of the stick this year, being subjected to numerous bills hitting them with fees and imposing additional requirements. After a short stint when the deregulated market was supposed to take care of resource-adequacy planning, regulators are again requiring investor-owned utilities to make long-term projections and to cover them with procurement. Assemblymember Russ Bogh (R-Beaumont) questioned the need for the measure given that supply adequacy has not been an issue for public agencies. In contrast, committee chair Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno) was quick to throw her support behind the bill, adding she wants it amended to apply to all public utilities in the state. Bill supporters include the state?s three investor-owned utilities and The Utility Reform Network. The remaining bill to eliminate the California Power Authority failed passage this week (see <i>Circuit</i>, April 16, 2004). Assemblymember Doug LaMalfa?s (R-Richvale) AB 2976 did not make it out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee April 19.

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