Home | News Room | News Blog

CPUC News Blog

New Report Discusses Location Options for CPUC Operations

 Permanent link
In compliance with Senate Bill (SB) 840, we have issued a report that explore options for staffing locations in areas of the state that would allow us to better collaborate with other state agencies, provide more training opportunities for staff, and promote public accessibility to the agency.

Additionally, as required by SB 840, the report offers information on salary, retention, recruitment, and categories of operation in our three main offices: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. The report also provides a history of our regional offices, and presents the results of three public workshops held in 2016 on the topic of regional expansion for the agency.


Process Inventory Report Now Available

 Permanent link
We have issued a Process Inventory Report that is the first effort in recent CPUC history to conduct an agency wide inventory of business processes that internal organizational stakeholders – decision-makers, management, and staff alike – rely on to deliver organizational outcomes. By decomposing layers of processes into discrete end-to-end steps, the report provides a structured view of how the CPUC currently fulfills its current responsibilities and sheds light on how to adapt to future challenges through future process improvement efforts.

The scope of this report is to identify the processes by which the CPUC carries out its work, and to identify current process measures where they exist. An inventory of business processes will enable the agency to place additional process performance measures where they may be needed; identify process weaknesses; identify processes in need of either additional structure or flexibility; and enable targeted allocation of resources for process improvements in the future. Process improvements ensure that operational steps lead to outcomes that are aligned with CPUC’s strategic goals to deliver public value. A business process inventory enables more informed process management culture and continual process improvement in the longer term.

The inventory is not an exhaustive list of all current processes, but a current “best effort” snapshot of representative processes to form the basis for future process documentation and improvements. As the CPUC continues to evolve to adapt to new legislative mandates and new expectations, many process documentation contained in this report will soon be outdated.


Director Blog: Vision for the Safety and Enforcement Division

 Permanent link

Below is a blog from Elizaveta Malashenko, the Director of our Safety and Enforcement Division (SED)

 

My goal as SED Director has always been to build a premier safety organization in the U.S. About three years ago, Ken Bruno, our Gas Safety and Reliability Branch Program Manager, and I visited Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission to learn how they turned around their pipeline safety program after an Olympic Pipe Line accident in Bellingham that killed three youths on June 10, 1999. We spent several days there as Washington staff walked us through their decade-long effort to build a program that’s now considered to be one of the top pipeline safety programs in the nation. I wanted to figure out what they did, so that at some point down the line the CPUC could be in their shoes. After Ken and I came back from Washington, we got together with the gas branch and over a three month period completely redesigned our gas safety program - from the way that we conduct audits to how we investigate safety incidents. Those efforts have resulted in a 12 percent jump in our Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) score in just 2 years (PHMSA audits CPUC gas safety program every year. In PHMSA’s evaluation of programs performance in 2012, CPUC received 84% of possible points tied to performance. In our latest evaluation that was done last year for program performance in 2015, CPUC received 96% of possible points tied to performance.). I’m incredibly proud of all the work that SED’s gas branch has done, but I see it only as the beginning for what SED can achieve.

 

One area that continues to hold SED back is administrative support and internal operations. This domain spans budget management, travel approval and reimbursement, timekeeping, procurement of safety gear, vehicle management, contract management, hiring process, document management, process documentation and many other supporting activities that are vital to making SED run. This domain has been a challenge for the CPUC for some time. CPUC Executive Director Timothy Sullivan refers to this problem as the “collapse of CPUC’s administrative core”, which he attributes to lack of resources and attention that this area has experienced for many years. As the CPUC makes a push to rebuild the administrative core, SED must participate in that effort and solve the related problems that exist within our own Division. Work related to improving SED administrative support and internal operations is going to be one of my top priorities for 2017. My mantra for this work is “no self-inflicted wounds”. We may not be able to solve all of the issues, since many of them are outside of SED’s control, but whatever is within our control we must fix.

 

Another area where I would like to see SED continue to grow is in the development of partnerships with communities and local governments, as well as state and federal agencies. Ensuring safety of the entire utility and rail infrastructure in California is an immense task and it’s not something that SED can do alone. Last year, I negotiated agreements between CPUC and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). Currently I’m in the process of finalizing the agreement with Cal FIRE. There are many other state and federal agencies with which CPUC can deepen relationship in order to jointly promote infrastructure safety. Engagement with local governments and communities is also key. At the end of the day, safety is always a local issue. Nothing makes that more apparent than when an incident happens and a community is impacted. I strive to have SED work in partnership with communities and local governments, helping them address infrastructure issues before accidents happen and provide assistance and support if they do.

 

Finally, in 2017 I plan to do more to promote safety and communicate all of the great work that’s being done by SED staff. One of the challenges for SED is that the vast majority of work that we perform remains invisible. There are no reports written about accidents that did not happen and no media coverage of days that go by without major incident because of the preventative work that’s being done by SED. Many of the reports that SED produces are very technical and are not easily understood by those outside of the safety profession. But this doesn’t mean that SED can’t do more to educate others about safety and increase transparency into our work. My goal for 2017 is to find opportunities to communicate about safety, whether it’s through writing blogs, social media, disclosing more documents on the website, or presenting at different forums. I’m certain that the more people find out about SED, the higher their confidence will be in the effectiveness of CPUC’s safety program.

 

I’m greatly motivated by SED’s staff and their passion for safety. We have a great team and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in 2017. Thank you to SED staff for all of the hard work.

 

You can view SED’s 2017 Annual Workplan on our website in the sidebar under “More in this section”.

Workshop on Pole Databases & Applications in California

 Permanent link

We are holding a public workshop to examine the status of databases and database applications in California regarding pole and conduit information, including pole location, attachments, material, ownership, and management, and the implications of such data management for safety and access. 


WHEN
: March 17, 2017, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

WHERE: CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; listen-only call-in number 888-469-0506, passcode 92105; webcast www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc 

In recent years, California has experienced power outages and wildfires associated with utility poles. The CPUC has taken significant steps toward improving utility pole safety, including: 1) Authorizing staff to issue Citations to communications companies for violations of General Order 95, dealing with overhead line construction, and other applicable rules and regulations, thus providing a more streamlined resolution process than is possible in a full investigation; 2) Extending utility pole right-of-way rules to commercial mobile radio service providers; 3) Amending General Order 95; and 4) Holding a day-long Utility Pole En Banc during which utility executives and stakeholders addressed safety issues specific to utility poles.

In reflection of utility poles' essential role in safety, reliability, and competition, the CPUC will undertake a series of initiatives related to Utility Pole Management, including but not limited to: a Rulemaking examining coordination between pole owners and attachers; a census of existing poles and attachments; the creation of a shared repository of information on utility poles and attachments; and the creation of a mobile app allowing users to document and report utility pole issues from their smartphones.

The results of the March 17 workshop will be used by CPUC staff to draft proposed proceedings for the CPUC's consideration.

AGENDA

9:30-10 a.m.:  - Welcome and Background by Elizaveta Malashenko, Director, Safety and Enforcement Division, CPUC

                        - Opening Remarks by Michael Picker, President, CPUC

10 a.m.-Noon:   Morning Panels: How do electric utilities, communication providers, municipalities, and joint pole administrators collect and manage pole and conduit information

        -10-11 a.m.: Presentation 1:  Northern California Perspective;  Moderator:  Elizaveta Malashenko                                                         

        -11 a.m.-Noon: Presentation 2:  Southern California Perspective; Moderator:  Elizaveta Malashenko

Noon-1:15 p.m.: Lunch Break

1:15-2:30 p.m.: Presentation 3: Lessons learned in shared databases and management; Moderator:  Elizaveta Malashenko   

2: 30-3:45 p.m.:   Panel Discussion: Potential Use Cases of Data Sharing;  Moderator:  Elizaveta Malashenko   

3:45-4 p.m.: Concluding Remarks by President Picker and Elizaveta Malashenko      

 

 

New Report Highlights Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program Success

 Permanent link

We have issued our Annual Report for the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP), demonstrating the program’s success to hundreds of thousands of Californians who are hearing impaired and those who have vision, speech, mobility, and cognitive disabilities.  

Our Executive Director wrote a cover letter for the report, as follows: 

The Program reaches out across the entire State and brings positive benefits to both rural and urban communities. 

With advice from the two public consumer advisory committees, the Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee (TADDAC) and the Equipment Program Advisory Committee (EPAC), the Program provides accessibility of telecommunication devices to those of greatest need and in many languages including English, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hmong, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.  

During Fiscal Year 2015-16, the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) component of the Program continued to expand its support to State residents. It has added over 15,000 new customers and is now supporting more than 667,000 Californians with specialized equipment. Also, the Program staffs 13 Service Centers to include seven full-time and six part-time facilities. Two new part-time Service Centers were opened this past year, one in San Jose and the other in West Covina.     

The California Relay Service (CRS) component of the Program remains an important method for making the public telephone network, including 911 and emergency services, accessible to those who are Deaf and who have hearing and speech difficulties. During FY 2015-16, the CRS was used to complete over two million calls.

More recently, through enabling legislation, the CPUC has provided Program participants funding for Speech Generating Devices. In the first three years, the Program has approved 187 applications and provided $1,378,670 in funding to fully or partially subsidize Speech Generating Devices and required accessories.

On behalf of the CPUC and its Commissioners, I am proud of the DDTP and the essential services they maintain. Their ability to keep people connected through the substantial technological challenges of a changing telecommunications environment earns our heartfelt thanks. 

 

CPUC Comments on Report on PG&E Customer Bills

 Permanent link

Today we offered the following comment on a report issued yesterday by Senator Jerry Hill regarding the recent bills of Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers:

There are many solid recommendations in Senator Hill's report. We will review the report closely to determine the best way to implement appropriate measures, such as adjusting the winter baseline. We thank Senator Hill for the report, as we all work toward ensuring utilities are educating and responding to their customers to help them understand their energy use and the changes in their billing, and the assistance programs that are available.

Necessary rate changes do not mean that bills have to increase. Customers are being given more and more tools to control their energy usage and manage their bills. The CPUC is committed to ensuring that the utilities educate customers on the available tools and the need to make sure vulnerable customers are not left behind.  CPUC staff has been reviewing factors surrounding the recent increase in gas bills and some of their recommendations mirror Senator Hill's report on how to reduce the likelihood of large spikes in the future and how to better educate utility customers on how they can manage their bills.  

CPUC staff will present at a future Voting Meeting on responses to current customer complaints, and programs and measures that can help lower bills.

For an overview of certain consumer programs, please see our brochure.

We also have fact sheets on assistance programs and level pay plans.

Read our most recent blog postings in the sidebar at right.


Immigration Guide