California lawmakers reject bill to add sunset date on $24 utility charge

By Alex Nieves | 05/20/2024 07:06 AM EDT

The bill would have revoked the charge in 2028 if most customers’ energy bills didn’t shrink.

Employees of Sawtooth Caverns walk in front of transmission towers at a power plant on June 22, 2022, in Delta, Utah.

The Legislature mandated a fee change in 2022 that directed regulators to more equitably distribute the costs of shared electrical infrastructure like transformers and wires. Rick Bowmer/AP

Legislation that would have put a repeal date on California regulators’ new $24 utility bill charge died Thursday after receiving little support in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

All but two committee members — Democrats Tim Grayson and Gail Pellerin — elected to not vote on Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s A.B. 1999, a day after it narrowly passed its first policy hearing but faced extensive criticism from Democrats on the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted last week to impose a monthly charge of $24.15 on most electricity customers’ bills, along with a rate restructuring intended to incentivize appliance and vehicle electrification. The bill would have locked in the charge at that rate — with adjustments only allowed for inflation — and revoked the fee in 2028 if the commission’s goal of reducing bills for most customers wasn’t met.


Irwin, who originally introduced the bill in January as a measure to halt the restructuring altogether, revived the bill last week after Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas blocked the earlier version.