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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 12

Meeting Date: March 27, 2001 

Subject/Title: Authorize City Manager to send a petition to PUC to protest the
Suspension of Undergrounding Projects Funded by Rule 20A 

Submitted by: Dennis Beougher, City Attorney/Sam Peiris, Associate Engineer 

Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager



RECOMMENDATION 

Authorize the City Manager to petition the PUC to require the resumption of undergrounding projects funded by Rule 20A. 

BACKGROUND

On January 8, 2001, the Coalition of California Utility Employees filed an emergency motion with the Public Utility Commission concerning cost-cutting proposals by Edison Electric and Pacific Gas and Electric. Edison had laid off 400 workers in its Transmission and Distribution Business Unit and has proposed another 1,600 employees be laid off during the next several months. PG&E has laid off about 500 workers and announced plans to release another 675 over the next several months if its cash flow problem was not resolved.

On March 15th, the PUC found a statutory obligation to ensure utility customers receive "adequate, efficient, and reasonable" services. The PUC further found that the utility layoffs have degraded service below the levels that customers have a right to expect. The layoffs have delayed new service connections, increased delays in answering calls, and added to the likelihood of delays in restoring service after an outage. PG&E acknowledged that cost savings from the layoffs will not materially improve its financial condition.

As part of its request to suspend certain capital improvement projects, the PUC found due to the concern of certain cities and counties regarding the suspension of undergrounding projects from Rule 20A money collected from users that it would invite governmental entities to petition the Commission to require the resumption of such projects. PG&E does not intend to transfer Rule 20A funds to any public entities. 

ANALYSIS

The PUC requires PG&E to collect money (Rule 20A) from its electrical users to underground overhead electrical lines. PG&E requested the PUC to suspend the capital improvements paid from Rule 20A at this time. Because the projects do not affect service and reliability, the PUC agreed to allow the utilities to defer such projects, except it allowed cities and counties to petition the PUC to require the resumption of Rule 20A projects. If the money which only can be used for undergrounding projects and cannot be used by PG&E due to the layoffs, the PUC should empower a governmental agency to use the money for eligible undergrounding projects. 



RESOLUTION NO. 


A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD SUPPORTING A PETITION TO THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION CONCERNING PG&E'S SUSPENSION OF RULE 20A PROJECTS 


WHEREAS, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered on March 15, 2001 an invitation to public entities to petition the Public Utilities Commission ("PUC") to require the resumption of electrical undergrounding projects funded by Rule 20A money;

WHEREAS, City of Brentwood seeks to petition the PUC to require PG&E to resume projects funded by Rule 20A money or in the alternative to require PG&E to turn over the Rule 20A money to public entities for eligible electrical undergrounding projects;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood, hereby 

1) petitions the Public Utilities Commission to order appropriate electrical companies to resume electrical undergrounding projects funded from Rule 20A money or in the alternative to order the release of Rule 20A to public entities for eligible electrical undergrounding projects; and

2) authorize the City Manager to prepare the petition and/or other appropriate documents to the PUC to resume electrical undergrounding projects funded from Rule 20A money.

PASSED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting on the 13th day of March, 2001 by the following vote:

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