Happy New Year and welcome to the January 2013 edition of the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) eNewsletter, where you’ll find news on the 415 area code, a climate dividend, and more.

 
 

CPUC Reaches Out to Santa Clara County WIC Program

The CPUC reached out to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Program to discuss helpful consumer programs. 

Participation in WIC automatically qualifies individuals for CPUC savings programs such as California LifeLine. Each attendee received a CPUC packet of information with brochures and fact sheets on programs such as CARE, Energy Savings Assistance Program, Medical Baseline, and Family Electric Rate Assistance.  

In addition, the CPUC addressed phone scams, preparedness tips in the event of a power outage, how to contact the CPUC, and energy and water conservation tips.

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CPUC Presents Consumer Information to Alliance on Aging

Today presented consumer information to the Alliance on Aging, which is the largest non-profit provider of senior services in Monterey County. 
The CPUC shared with the agency’s management team the CPUC’s consumer energy and communications savings programs, and discussed PG&E’s payment arrangement programs. 
Depending on household income, consumers may qualify for discounted energy, telephone, or water services, including:

  • Save 20% on energy bills: The CARE program provides a 20 percent discount on energy bills. 
  • Lower the rate you pay for electricity: The Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) program bills some of your electricity at a lower rate.
  • Get a discount on your telephone bill: The California LifeLine program provides discounts for local home phone services and installation.
  • Get a discount on your water bill: Several privately owned water companies provide discounted water services for consumers with limited household income.

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Public Meetings Set to Discuss 415 Area Code

The CPUC has scheduled four meetings to provide information to the public regarding the introduction of a new area code to the region now served by the 415 area code. The purpose of the meetings is to obtain input from the public regarding the opening of a new area code in the region currently served by the 415 area code.

The 415 area code, serving San Francisco and Marin, is expected to use up all the available prefixes (the first three numbers after the area code in a phone number) by October 2015. To ensure that new numbers are available for customers and technology expansion, the CPUC has begun the process to introduce a new area code, 628, to the geography now served by 415.

Comments from the public can help the CPUC reach an informed decision and members of the public are encouraged to attend one of the following meetings:

Local Jurisdiction Meeting (for local and elected officials; open to the public)

  • Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 2 p.m.
    CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Public Meetings

  • Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 7 p.m.
    CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
  • Thursday, January 17, 2013, 2 p.m. AND 7 p.m.
    San Rafael City Council Chambers, 1400 Fifth Ave., San Rafael

On September 6, 2012, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the neutral third-party area code relief planner for California, held a meeting with service providers to the 415 area code to get their input regarding the most appropriate method of introducing the 628 area code. The industry consensus resulting from that meeting was to recommend an overlay. The CPUC has scheduled these meetings to inform the public about the area code alternatives and to receive public comment.

After the meetings, NANPA will submit an application to the CPUC for the new area code recommending the industry desired solution. In response to NANPA’s application, the CPUC will open a proceeding, consider the information presented by NANPA and comments from the public, and issue a Proposed Decision for CPUC vote. After the CPUC has made its decision, service providers are required to implement the new area code within a specified period, usually within one year.

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CPUC Allocates 85 Percent of Revenue From Sale of Utilities’ GHG Allowances to Residential Customers

The CPUC has directed approximately 85 percent of the revenues generated from the sale of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances allocated to the investor-owned electric utilities to households as a both rate reduction and a semi-annual “ climate dividend

As part of the California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade program, the ARB allocated allowances to the state’s electric distribution utilities to help compensate electricity customers for the costs that will be incurred under Cap-and-Trade. The investor-owned electric utilities are required to sell all of their allowances at ARB’s quarterly auctions, and the proceeds from the auction are to be used for the benefit of retail ratepayers, consistent with the goals of Assembly Bill 32. The total amount of revenue to be returned to ratepayers between 2013 and 2020 is expected to range from $5.7 billion to $22.6 billion.

For most non-residential customers, the CPUC’s decision today follows the “polluter pays” principle by reflecting the cost of GHG emission allowances in rates. By putting a price on GHG pollution, this approach maintains the incentive provided by the Cap-and-Trade program to reduce total GHG emissions through increased efficiency and greater reliance on clean generating technologies. Preserving the carbon price signal is critical to providing appropriate incentives for businesses and individuals to reduce GHG emissions when making decisions regarding their energy use.

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Visit our Consumer Information Center for more assistance. Consumers with utility complaints can call our Consumer Affairs Branch at 1-800-649-7570.

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© 2013, California Public Utilities Commission. All rights reserved.
January 2013

 



Produced by the CPUC's News and Public Information Office and Business and Community Outreach, 415-703-1366, news@cpuc.ca.gov
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102.
 

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