April 21, 2014
SACRAMENTO –Assembly Bill 1434, authored by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis), establishing a ratepayer assistance program to help low-income Californians with their water bills passed the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce today.
In 2012, AB 685 (Eng) established that access to safe, clean, andaffordable water is every human being’s right. While the measure required the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to consider low-income rate relief, there was no requirement to implement such programs. Moreover, they do not have authority over utilities that qualify as public agencies which are the vast majority of water service providers in the state.
“I am pleased to have the support of my colleagues as we work to help rural Californians that are significantly underserved when it comes to these Low-Income Rate programs,” Yamada stated. “The majority of smaller utility companies cannot or otherwise choose not to provide their low-income consumers with assistance. AB 1434 is intended to ensure water affordability.”
AB 1434 would direct the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) in conjunction with the Board of Equalization (BOE) to develop and implement a statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program for low-income ratepayers.
Low-income Californians need a statewide program to receive assistance in order to overcome the problems individual water service providers have in operating a low-income assistance program. AB 1434 creates a functional collaboration for CSD and the BOE to create these programs and manage the fund that will help millions of Californians with their water bills.
This bill will be heard next in Assembly Committee on Appropriations.
Yamada represents the Fourth Assembly District which includes all or parts of Colusa, Lake, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo Counties.