CA Pub Util Code Section 399


This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the Reliable Electric Service Investments Act.


The Legislature finds and declares that safe, reliable electric service is of utmost importance to the citizens of this state, and its economy.


The Legislature further finds and declares that in order to ensure that the citizens of this state continue to receive safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable electric service, it is essential that prudent investments continue to be made in all of the following areas:


To protect the integrity of the electric distribution grid.


To ensure an adequately sized and trained utility workforce.


To ensure cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.


To achieve a sustainable supply of renewable energy.


To advance public interest research, development and demonstration programs not adequately provided by competitive and regulated markets.


It is the intent of the Legislature to reaffirm, without requiring revision, California’s doctrine, as reflected in regulatory and judicial decisions, regarding electrical corporations’ reasonable opportunity to recover costs and investments associated with their electric distribution grid and the reasonable opportunity to attract capital for investment on reasonable terms.


The Legislature further finds and declares all of the following:


Acting under applicable constitutional and statutory authorities, the Public Utilities Commission and the boards of local publicly owned electric utilities have included in regulated electricity prices, investments that are essential to maintaining system reliability, reducing California electricity users’ bills, and mitigating environmental costs of California users’ electricity consumption.


Among the most important of these “system benefits” investments categories are energy efficiency, renewable energy, and public interest research, development and demonstration (RD&D).


Energy efficiency investments funded from California’s usage-based charges on electricity distribution help improve systemwide reliability by reducing demand in times and areas of system congestion, and at the same time reduce all California electricity users’ costs. These investments also significantly reduce environmental costs associated with California’s electricity consumption, including, but not limited to, degradation of the state’s air, water, and land resources.


California’s in-state renewable energy resources help alleviate supply deficits that could threaten electric system reliability, reduce environmental costs associated with California’s electricity consumption, and increase the diversity of the electricity system’s fuel mix, reducing electricity users’ exposure to fossil-fuel price volatility.


California’s public interest RD&D investments enhance private and regulated sector investment in electricity system technologies, and are designed specifically to help ensure sustained improvement in the economic and environmental performance of the distribution, transmission, and generation and end-use systems that serve California electricity users.


California has established a long tradition of recovering system benefits investments through usage-based electricity charges, which is reflected in at least two decades of electricity price regulation by the commission, the boards of local publicly owned electric utilities, and the mandate of the Legislature in Chapter 854 of the Statutes of 1996 (Assembly Bill 1890 of the 1995–96 Regular Session of the Legislature) and Chapter 905 of the Statutes of 1997 (Senate Bill 90 of the 1997–98 Regular Session of the Legislature).


Unless the Legislature acts to extend the mandate of this article for minimum levels of usage based system benefits charges, California electricity users are at substantial risk of higher economic and environmental costs and degraded reliability.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 399’s source at ca​.gov