CA Pub Util Code Section 394.4

Rules that implement the following minimum standards shall be adopted by the commission for electric service providers offering electrical services to residential and small commercial customers and the governing body of a public agency offering electrical services to residential and small commercial customers within its jurisdiction:


Confidentiality: Customer information shall be confidential unless the customer consents in writing. This shall encompass confidentiality of customer specific billing, credit, or usage information. This requirement shall not extend to disclosure of generic information regarding the usage, load shape, or other general characteristics of a group or rate classification, unless the release of that information would reveal customer specific information because of the size of the group, rate classification, or nature of the information.


Physical disconnects and reconnects: Only an electrical corporation, or a publicly owned electric utility, that provides physical delivery service to the affected customer shall have the authority to physically disconnect or reconnect a customer from the transmission or distribution grid. Physical disconnection by electrical corporations subject to the commission’s jurisdiction shall occur only in accordance with protocols established by the commission. Physical disconnection by publicly owned electric utilities shall occur only in accordance with protocols established by the governing board of the local publicly owned electric utility.


Change in providers: Upon adequate notice supplied by a electric service provider to the electric corporation or local publicly owned electric utility providing physical delivery service, customers who are eligible for direct access may change their energy supplier. Energy suppliers may charge for this change, provided that any fee or penalty charged by the supplier associated with early termination of service, shall be disclosed in that contract or applicable tariff.


Written notices: Notices describing the terms and conditions of service as described in Section 394.5, service agreements, notices of late payment, notices of discontinuance of service, and disconnection notices addressed to residential and small commercial customers shall be easily understandable, and shall be provided in the language in which the electric service provider offered the services.


Billing: All bills shall have a standard bill format, as determined by the commission or the governing body, and shall contain sufficient detail for the customer to recalculate the bill for accuracy. Any late fees shall be separately stated. Each electric service provider shall provide on all customer bills a phone number by which customers may contact the electric service provider to report and resolve billing inquiries and complaints. An electric service provider contacted by a customer regarding a billing dispute shall advise the customer at the time of the initial contact that the customer may file a complaint with the commission if its dispute is not satisfactorily resolved by the electric service provider.


Meter integrity: An electric customer shall have a reasonable opportunity to have its meter tested to ensure the reasonable accuracy of the meter. The commission or governing body shall determine who is responsible for the cost of that testing.


Customer deposits: Electric service providers may require customer deposits before commencing service, but in no event shall the deposit be more than the estimated bill for the customer for a three-month period.


Additional protections: The commission or the governing body may adopt additional residential and small commercial consumer protection standards that are in the public interest.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 394.4’s source at ca​.gov