- The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision Monday that would authorize the state's investor-owned utilities to collect $902.4 million annually for a wildfire mitigation fund authorized by state lawmakers this summer.
- The $21 billion fund would be seeded by both shareholders and ratepayers. AB 1054 determined that customers would pay into the fund through a $2.50 monthly charge on bills that has been in place since the state's energy crisis, and had been slated to roll off.
- For bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility will need to exit Chapter 11 by a legislatively-set June 30, 2020, deadline in order to access the new fund.
California utilities say they are reviewing the proposed decision, but that it appears consistent with the legislature's intent. The state's utilities have all struggled with wildfire dangers — PG&E's liabilities related to the state's 2017 and 2018 fires helped push it into bankruptcy and set the stage for the fund's creation.
At one point, PG&E said its fire liabilities could total $30 billion. The utility has since reached two major settlements.
Southern California Edison said it was reviewing the proposed decision, but "we agree that imposing a non-bypassable charge to support the wildfire fund is just and reasonable and consistent with the intent of AB 1054."
The commission's proposed order sets the maximum annual revenue requirement for the Wildfire Fund non-bypassable charge at $902.4 million, from the state's three largest investor-owned utilities.
For PG&E, that would mean collections up to $404.6 million; Southern California Edison could collect up to $408.2 million, and San Diego Gas & Electric could collect $89.6 million.
The revenue requirements were legislatively set, and in line with AB 1054, according to the commission's proposed decision, which notes that "once the revenue requirement is set by this decision it cannot be changed until 2036."