DRA Commends the CPUC for Instituting Utility Billing Reforms Aimed at Helping California’s Small Businesses


SAN FRANCISCO, October 28, 2010 – The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), an independent consumer advocacy division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), commends the CPUC’s adoption of utility billing reforms, which will ease financial burdens for small businesses.

The CPUC today voted to approve a proposal that amends several policies on how the state’s investor--owned energy utilities bill small businesses. The key amendments, all of which were advocated for by DRA, include:

A reduction in the maximum utility back-bill period to three months;

An expansion of the maximum utility refund period to three years; and

A reduction of the maximum allowable deposit to twice the average monthly bill.

“These reforms to utility billing practices help promote a friendlier environment for California’s small businesses, something DRA feels is important, especially in this economy,” DRA acting director Joe Como said.

The amended rules will not automatically sunset, a provision DRA strongly fought for. The new rules apply to Alpine Natural Gas Operating Company, Golden State Water Company, Mountain Utilities, PacificCorp, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Southern California Edison Company, Southern California Gas Company, Southwest Gas Company and West Coast Gas Company.