TURN Honors Senator Hueso with Utilities for All Champion Award
Sacramento, CA – January 29, 2018 – The Utility Reform Network (TURN) will host its annual Legislative Consumer Champions reception today in Sacramento, during which it will honor Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) with its Utilities for All Champion Award. Senator Hueso is being recognized for his work on legislation that protects millions of California ratepayers struggling to avoid disconnection by ensuring greater accountability and monitoring of utility customer service disconnections in California.
Senator Hueso partnered with TURN to author SB 598, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2017. The law requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in each gas and electrical corporation general rate case to, among other things, conduct an assessment of and properly identify the impact of any proposed increase in rates on disconnections for nonpayment. It also prohibits disconnections due to non-payment for customers with qualifying life-threatening medical conditions.
“The loss of basic electricity or gas service causes tremendous hardship and undue stress, and threatens the health of nearly 2 million of California’s most vulnerable populations – primarily children, low-income families, seniors and the physically disabled.” said Senator Hueso. “I am grateful for TURN’s assistance with this legislation so that we can begin to address this serious issue.”
While utility disconnections significantly impact ratepayers, before this law, information on the rate of disconnections was not provided by a utility to the CPUC when a rate change was considered. This information is vital to understanding how rates currently impact utility customers, including the rate of disconnections for non-payment, and how an increase will make it more difficult for customers to avoid disconnection.