The California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) schedules public meetings where the Commissioners discuss and vote on proposed policies, utility rate requests (such as rate increases), and other issues. The public meetings schedule and the meeting agendas are posted on the Commission website at www.cpuc.ca.gov.
If the Commission’s vote or discussion seems brief during the meeting, it is generally because the issue is well understood by the Commissioners. Before an item is placed on the agenda, extensive preparation has been done to receive all concerns about an issue and write a proposal. The proposal is usually written by an administrative law judge. Any Commissioner may remove an item from the agenda and schedule it for a future meeting (often referred to as placing a “hold” on an item) if that Commissioner wants more time to review the issue or wants to write an alternate proposal (see Alternates, Revisions and Modifications to Agenda Items below).
The Commission meeting and agenda are separated into four sections, which are described below.
1. Public Comment – At the beginning of each meeting, people may address the Commission about items on the agenda, except closed session matters and certain complaint and license cases. People who wish to speak should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the meeting to sign up at the Public Advisor’s table located at the room entrance. Parties may not comment at Commission meetings on items with which they have been involved, because they have already had an opportunity to express their views.
2. Consent Agenda Items – The Commissioners vote on Consent Agenda items as a group with a single vote. These items are not discussed because they are routine issues or no Commissioner requests the opportunity to discuss any of the items. However, a Commissioner or Commission Division Director may move Consent Agenda items to the Regular Agenda for discussion.
3. Regular Agenda – Items on the Regular Agenda are discussed and voted on. However, a Commissioner or Commission Division Director may move Regular Agenda items to the Consent Agenda. The Regular Agenda is divided as follows:
- Transportation/Rail Safety
- Other Utility
- Legislative Matters
- Commissioner Reports
- Management Reports and Resolutions
4. Closed Session Agenda – Items discussed in Closed or Executive Session may include applications to rehear an issue, pending or threatened litigation, or personnel issues. This session is not open to the public.
Alternates, Revisions and Modifications to Agenda Items – A Commissioner may submit a different proposal for an item, referred to as an Alternate. Alternates are listed on the agenda following the original item and are identified by a letter next to the item number. For example item 85a is an alternate to item 85.
In addition, Commissioners or Commission Division Directors may suggest changes to agenda items at the meeting. If adopted, they will be incorporated into the Commission’s decision.
Held Items – A list of items that are being “held” until a future Commission meeting will be available on the Commission’s website by 4:30 p.m. the day before the Commission meeting and at the Public Advisor’s table at the Commission meeting. This list is also referred to as the “Hold List.” The Hold List also notes if an item from the Consent Agenda will be taken up with the Regular Agenda or vice versa. At the beginning of a meeting, Commissioners may add items to or remove items from the Hold List.
Availability of Documents – Copies of the agenda, agenda items and the list of held agenda items can be found on the Commission’s website – www.cpuc.ca.gov. Revisions to agenda items are available at the Commission meeting at least one hour before the item is to be voted on by the Commission, and are also posted on the website. Ask the Public Advisor (see below for their contact information) for assistance in obtaining copies of revised agenda items.
Escutia Room/Table – The Commission is required to have copies of all the documents and changes that are to be discussed and voted on at the meeting. They must be available at a location near the meeting and for at least one hour before they are voted on. The Commission refers to the location of these documents as the Escutia Room, or Escutia Table (named after the legislator who spearheaded the statute). At the Commission headquarters in San Francisco, where most of the meetings are held, the Escutia Room is near the Commission Auditorium. When meetings are held offsite, the Escutia Table is usually near the main entrance to where the meeting is being held.
Meeting Access and Assistance
The Commission meetings are held in locations accessible to people with disabilities. If language translators or specialized accommodations (such as sign language interpreters) are needed, please call the Public Advisor (see below) three business days before the meeting.
Questions about the Commission Meeting or the Agenda?
Contact the Public Advisor’s Office at 1-866-849-8390, email@example.com, or TTY# 1-866-836-7825. Also, a representative from the Public Advisor’s Office is present to answer questions at all Commission meetings. The Commission is constantly striving to make its meetings more accessible and understandable to the public. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please send them to this Office.