2012 Public Advocates Office's ANNUAL REPORT 

 Note Regarding References to DRA: Until September 2013 the Public Advocates office was know as Division of Ratepayers Advocates.


Each year Public Advocates Office (the Office) submits its Annual Report to the Legislature on January 10, describing its accomplishments for the preceding year. The Office's 2012 Report to the Legislature can be found at the cover graphic below. In addition, this year the Office presents the highlights of its work in an online format in order to support the state's climate change goals by producing a report that uses less resources in its production. Below you will find an overview of the Office's 2012 work on Energy, Water, and Telecommunications issues which link to brief summaries of 2012 highlights and accomplishments. These summaries click through to more detailed webpages on each issue.  


The Public Advocates Office (the Office) is the independent consumer advocate within the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) 2012 AR Coverthat advocates solely on behalf of investor owned utility ratepayers. As the only state entity charged with this responsibility, the Office plays a critical role in ensuring that the customers of California’s energy, water, and telecommunications utilities are represented at the CPUC and in other forums that affect consumer’s utility bills, environmental benefits, and the reliability and safety of those services.

The Office has a staff of 137 professionals consisting of engineers, economists, scientists, and auditors with expertise in regulatory issues related to the electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunications industries in California. The Office’s staff of experts performs detailed review and analyses of regulatory policy issues and utility proposals for funding that total in the tens of billions of dollars. The Office determines whether utility requests are in the interest of the ratepayers who fund utility activities through their utility bills. The Office also supports environmental policies that may benefit customers and seeks to ensure that utility actions comport with CPUC rules and California environmental laws and policy goals. The Office participated in 176 CPUC proceedings and filed more than 600 pleadings to aid the CPUC in developing the record from which Commissioners formulated their final decisions. The Office lobbied decision-makers on behalf of ratepayers nearly 250 times in 2012 to ensure that the consumer perspective was heard. The Office’s $27,535,000 budget represents a small fraction of ratepayer’s investment compared with the nearly $4 billion in savings the Office’s work was instrumental in achieving for Californians in the form of lower utility rates and avoided rate increases. For every dollar customers spent on the Office in 2012, they saved approximately $153 across their utility bills. Additionally, the Office influenced the outcome of numerous CPUC policies, decisions, and California legislation that will impact ratepayers.


The Office represents the residential and small business customers of California’s investor owned energy utilities, most notably Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (Edison), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas). The Office also represents the customers of California’s smaller investor owned utilities.  Investor-owned utilities serve approximately 80 percent of all California’s energy customers.  The Office evaluates utilities’ and other stakeholders’ proposals, as well as legislative bills, for both electricity and natural gas in the areas of Customer Rates, Procurement, Renewables, Transmission and Distribution, Demand-side Resources, and Consumer Protection.  In 2012, the Office reviewed utility requests for revenue increases and programs that totaled more than $35 billion statewide. The Office’s advocacy efforts aided in saving ratepayers nearly $3.7 billion.



 Purchased Blue Silouhette Transmission Lines  



The Office represents 1.3 million customers of investor owned Class A water utilities (more than 10,000 service connections) & Class B water utilities (more than 5,000 service connections), serving approximately 6 million people in the state of California.  The CPUC has regulatory jurisdiction over approximately 20 percent of all of California’s urban water usage customers.  The Office scrutinizes water utility requests for additional revenues that will increase customer bills.  The Office advocates on behalf of water ratepayers in CPUC proceedings and participates in statewide planning processes at the Department of Water Resources and Water-Energy Team of the California Action Team. In 2012, the Office worked on 5 general rate cases and 6 cost of capital proceedings in which water utilities requested to increase their revenues by nearly $167 million. The Office negotiated more than $44 million in reduced revenue requests for water customers, which will result in an averaging monthly savings of $6.00 per customer.




  Purchased Water Drops  


The Office represents the interests of customers for both wireline and wireless telephone service, as well as to ensure that all customers have equal access to broadband services at reasonable rates. The Office’s advocacy efforts in 2012 focused on affordability, consumer protection, and service quality. 




 Old Phone on Beach


The Office actively participates in the Legislative and Budget processes in Sacramento by working directly with the Governor’s office, Legislature, Department of Finance, Legislative Analyst’s Office, and other related entities.  The Office achieves its statutory mission to represent and protect energy, gas, water, and communications investor-owned utility customers in Sacramento by taking positions on bills, testifying in informational and bill hearings, providing technical legislative and constituent assistance, participating in working groups, and providing updates on CPUC and the Office actions. 


 Purchased Capitol at Night



The Office Reports

The Renewable Jungle:  In January 2012, the Office published a Guide to California’s Renewable Policies and Programs designed to aid the public, potential renewable developers, and policymakers in understanding the variety of renewable energy generation programs that California has created in the quest to achieve its climate change objectives.

Case Study of Smart Meter System Deployment:  In March 2012, the Office's released its case study of Southern California Edison's smart meter program, which  examines cost recovery requests and presents key findings and recommendations for ensuring ratepayer benefits providing lessons learned that can apply to other California utilities deploying smart meters. 



DRA Reports - Jungle Report Cover