SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill (AB) 327, introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) passed its final hurdle with bipartisan support on a 71 to 0 vote, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
AB 327 will modernize electric rates by replacing outdated rate restrictions adopted during the state’s energy crisis over a decade ago. The bill would give the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) the flexibility to implement fair and reasonable reforms, in line with the state's energy policy goals and objectives. The bill also ensures low-income Californians are protected by mandating CARE discounts of 30% to 35%. Additionally, AB 327 would provide certainty for the Net Energy Metering program while protecting consumers and holding electric companies and utilities accountable for renewable energy growth.
“I would like to thank all parties involved, including consumer advocates, the solar industry, utilities, seniors, labor, and business groups, along with my colleagues in the Legislature and the Administration for their unwavering commitment to reaching an equitable compromise to benefit all Californians,” said Assemblymember Perea. “AB 327 is a balanced approach to modernizing California’s outdated rate structure to protect all Californians from soaring energy bills and addressing the state’s renewable energy goals.”
“AB 327, while allowing the CPUC to update California’s electric rate structure, implements strong consumer protections including ensuring CARE customers receive an average effective discount of between 30 to 35% ,” said Katie Hirning, State Director of AARP. “We urge the Governor to sign AB 327 to help protect Seniors electricity rates.”
“California’s current rate system is unfair, inefficient, and too complex,” said Tom Bottorff, senior vice president for regulatory affairs at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. “AB 327 will help bring high rates back into line with costs and restore fairness to California’s electric customers.”
“This bill marks the next chapter in California’s commitment to renewable energy,” said Steve Zuretti, California manager for the Solar Energy Industry Association. “AB 327 provides a clear pathway for the continued growth of solar generation in California, ensuring that homes, businesses and schools throughout the state will continue to realize the benefits of clean, reliable solar energy for many years to come.”
“Assemblymember Perea, the utilities, TURN, and other consumer groups, worked hard to reach a compromise,” said Mark Toney, Executive Director of the consumer protection group, The Utility Reform Network. “AB 327 provides the CPUC the authority it needs to update the rate structure while protecting customers from unlimited charges.”
“Southern California Edison believes the Legislature’s approval of AB 327 is a significant step toward restoring fairness in electric rates for all customers,” said Ted Craver, chairman and CEO of Edison International, SCE’s parent company. “The legislation will allow the California Public Utilities Commission to improve the current outdated electricity rate structure with one that has electric rates more accurately reflect the actual costs of electric service.”
“Thanks to the leadership of Assemblyman Perea, this bill represents a thoughtful approach to rate reform and will bring cleaner, more affordable electricity to more Californians,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “And because of this bill, hardworking Californians will have access to more jobs in the clean energy sector.”
“This vote marks an historic turnaround for California energy consumers by returning to the CPUC the authority and flexibility to fix the broken and outdated electric rate structure left over from the 2001 energy crisis,” said Jessie J. Knight, Jr., SDG&E’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to be part of the solution in helping to craft a compromise rate reform measure that’s embraced by a coalition of supporters, including the legislature, utilities, consumer advocates and many in the solar industry.”