CPUC reform inches forward as governor calls for faster action

30 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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It’s time to rock and roll.

It’ll be harder for lawyers and lobbyists to have backroom conversations at the California Public Utilities Commission, more information about CPUC proceedings will be made public and the commission will have to open up its processes to greater public participation, not least by holding meetings around the state instead of primarily at its San Francisco headquarters. Those and other changes will be imposed on the CPUC by a pair of bills signed into law yesterday by governor Jerry Brown.… More

Surviving CPUC reform bills sent to governor

10 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Final versions of two utility regulation reform bills have been sent to governor Brown for his review. Senate bill 62 and SB 512, carried by senator Jerry Hill (D – San Bruno), change the way the California Public Utilities Commission conducts business. Both were passed in the final hours of the legislative session last month, without last minute changes.
SB 512 is the more consequential of the two. It aims to open CPUC proceedings to greater public scrutiny and participation.… More

Ballot measure floated for California telecoms regulation

6 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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Out of time and running room.

A new attempt to overhaul the California Public Utilities Commission is bobbing on the horizon. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D – Los Angeles), who fronted a failed effort in the legislature, says he’s talking with “like-minded reformers” about a ballot initiative. That’s a bit unsettling, since his fellow travellers this year have largely been telecoms lobbyists and trial lawyers. Those are two groups with deep pockets for friendly policies and long arms for compliant politicians.… More

California legislative update: final bills not posted yet, safety advocate approved

2 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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And away we go!

Final versions of telecom-related bills that were approved in the final, dark hours of the California legislature’s session on Wednesday haven’t been posted yet. Among those approved was senate bill 62 by senator Jerry Hill (D – San Bruno). Yesterday morning, its fate wasn’t clear, but after the dust settled, the verdict was yes; it will be sent on to the governor.

SB 62 would create a quasi-independent safety advocate’s office at the California Public Utilities Commission, similar to the ratepayers’ advocate’s office.… More

California telecoms policy reform dies in Legislature

1 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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The top line: an attempt (assembly bill 2903) to overhaul, or at least start the process of overhauling, the California Public Utilities Commission is dead; so, apparently, is one (senate bill 1017) aimed at releasing more information filed by utilities at the CPUC. Another, (AB 512), that’s intended to generally make CPUC processes more public, passed.

Going into the final, dark hours of the legislative session last night, several major utility reform bills were still in limbo, awaiting final language and votes.… More

Utility reform game clock ticks down in Sacramento

29 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Final minutes of play.

With three days left in the legislative session, key California Public Utilities Commission reform bills are still pending and still subject to haggling over final language.

The big one is assembly bill 2903, by assemblyman Mike Gatto (D – Los Angeles). It makes a number of changes in the way the commission does business, including transferring some transportation-related oversight duties to other state agencies, and sets up an undefined reevaluation of the way broadband and telephone companies are regulated.… More

Telecoms lobby pushes California lawmakers to muzzle local government

25 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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City councils and county boards of supervisors in California have an annoying habit of listening to residents and questioning the broadband marketing hype spun in out-of-state corporate headquarters and spread in Sacramento, where perks and campaign cash buy an attentive audience. Keeping local government out of any meaningful oversight role is a high priority for cable and telco lobbyists, and their successful efforts are evident as the final texts of key legislation begin to take shape.… More