BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AB  
          1453 (Rendon)


          As Amended  April 20, 2015


          Majority vote


           ------------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Committee       |Votes |Ayes                 |Noes                 |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |----------------+------+---------------------+---------------------|
          |Utilities       |14-0  |Rendon, Patterson,   |                     |
          |                |      |Achadjian, Bonilla,  |                     |
          |                |      |Burke, Dahle,        |                     |
          |                |      |Eggman,              |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |Cristina Garcia,     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |Roger HernŠndez,     |                     |
          |                |      |Obernolte, Quirk,    |                     |
          |                |      |Santiago, Ting,      |                     |
          |                |      |Williams             |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |----------------+------+---------------------+---------------------|
          |Appropriations  |17-0  |Gomez, Bigelow,      |                     |
          |                |      |Bonta, Calderon,     |                     |
          |                |      |Chang, Daly, Eggman, |                     |
          |                |      |Gallagher,           |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |








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          |                |      |Eduardo Garcia,      |                     |
          |                |      |Gordon, Holden,      |                     |
          |                |      |Jones, Quirk,        |                     |
          |                |      |Rendon, Wagner,      |                     |
          |                |      |Weber, Wood          |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------- 


          SUMMARY:  Requires the California Public Utilities Commission  
          (CPUC) to adopt a rule regulating work performed in underground  
          electrical facilities by electrical corporations that is  
          consistent with certain worker safety protections.  Specifically,  
          this bill:  


          1)Requires the CPUC, by January 1, 2017, to adopt a rule  
            regulating work performed in underground electrical facilities  
            by or on behalf of an electrical corporation that does all of  
            the following:


             a)   Prohibits work directly on energized underground  
               electrical equipment, and


             b)   Requires a qualified electrical worker to determine that  
               underground electrical equipment has been deenergized and is  
               in a mode that would make the equipment safe to be worked on.  



          2)Defines "underground electrical equipment" to mean equipment  
            energized in excess of 600 volts, and all or part of the  
            equipment is in an underground electrical facility.


          3)Defines "underground electrical facility" to mean a vault,  








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            manhole, or other subsurface confined structure.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, there would be increased costs over a two-year period  
          of $157,000 (special fund) for a CPUC Administrative Law Judge to  
          conduct the rulemaking.


          COMMENTS:  


           1)Author's Statement:  "High voltage electrical work, defined as  
            more than 600 volts, is inherently dangerous.  When this work is  
            performed in confined spaces, like underground vaults, it can be  
            fatal if not done properly.  Even if not fatal, high-voltage  
            electrical contact can produce devastating physical trauma.   
            According to CPUC, fatalities per utility are on the rise.  In  
            2008 there were nine; in 2013 to 2014; and in 2014 to 2016.   
            While not all of these were due to high-voltage incidents in  
            confined spaces, if the vaults were de-energized those numbers  
            would be lower.  It should be noted that reported incidents and  
            injuries per utility have also risen substantially since 2008.   
            Deaths related to exposure to electrical current accounts for  
            around 4% of all occupational fatalities.  These deaths are  
            preventable.  Incidental contact to high-voltage current by  
            qualified, trained workers should not be fatal.  The purpose of  
            this legislation is to increase safety in underground utility  
            vaults and thereby reduce injuries and fatalities."


          2)Background:  Under current law, the CPUC can require every  
            public utility to construct, maintain, and operate their  
            equipment in a manner to promote and safeguard the health and  
            safety of its employees, passengers, customers, and the public.   
            In addition, CPUC Rule 20 sets policies and procedures for the  
            conversion of overhead power lines and other equipment to  
            underground facilities.  Under Rule 20, undergrounding projects  
            are financed by utility rate money, combined with rate funds,  








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            local tax proceeds, or private funds.  


           3)General Order 128:  CPUC General Order (GO) 128 establishes  
            rules for the construction of underground electric supply and  
            communication systems.  GO 128 requires that systems be  
            maintained in such condition as to secure safety for workmen and  
            the public.  In addition, according to GO 128, any work  
            performed on communication facilities in substructures that  
            contain energized electrical facilities must be performed by  
            qualified personnel, under the supervision of a qualified  
            electrical worker.  The GO defines "qualified" to mean qualified  
            by training and experience to be competent to work on and  
            recognize the hazards and exposure involved in the lines and  
            equipment being worked on.  Yet despite these rules to ensure  
            safe working conditions around electrified lines in underground  
            vaults, there continue to be deaths each year as a result of  
            workers coming into contact with such lines.


            This bill requires the CPUC, by January 1, 2017, to adopt a rule  
            regulating work performed in underground electrical facilities  
            by or on behalf of an electrical corporation.  The rule shall  
            prohibit work directly on energized underground electrical  
            equipment and would require a qualified electrical worker to  
            determine that underground electrical equipment has been  
            de-energized and is in a mode that would make the equipment safe  
            to be worked on.  This would ensure that the CPUC will have  
            rules that will create safe working conditions in underground  
            electrical utility vaults.




          Analysis Prepared by:                                               
                          Edmond Cheung / U. & C. / (916) 319-2083  FN:  
          0000632










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