(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Public Utilities Commission shall, as soon as is practicable after the operative date of the act adding this section, require every electrical corporation which furnishes electricity to an agricultural producer to provide, in accordance with the requirements of subdivision (c), citrus and avocado producers with an electrical energy payment deferral program related to the production of citrus and avocado crops.
(b) For the purposes of this section, “agricultural producer” shall be as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 744.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon verification by the agricultural producer of freeze-related crop losses of not less than 50 percent, the electrical corporation shall provide the electrical energy payment deferral program referenced in subdivision (a). For the purposes of this subdivision, the electrical corporation shall accept the original or a true photocopy of any of the following as verification of crop losses:
(1) A statement from a packing house or handler. A person who exercises managing control in a packing house shall provide at least one of the documents set forth in paragraphs 2 to 5, inclusive, in addition to, or in place of, the document set forth in this paragraph.
(2) A statement from a farm adviser of the University of California.
(3) A statement from the county agricultural commissioner.
(4) A statement of insurance adjustment.
(5) A calamity claim to the county tax assessor.
(d) For the purposes of this section, “deferral period” shall mean June 1, 1991, to March 31, 1992, inclusive. Electricity bills incurred by agricultural producers during the deferral period shall be eligible for deferral pursuant to this section.
(e) (1) Deferral programs under this section shall be developed on an individual basis between the electrical energy corporation and the eligible agricultural producers. These deferral programs shall allow eligible agricultural producers, at their option, to defer, without incurring interest charges, up to 50 percent of each electricity bill incurred during the deferral period on accounts or amounts attributable to the production of citrus or avocado crops.
(2) At the end of the deferral period, participating agricultural producers shall keep each month’s charges current and pay the accrued deferrals in up to 18 equal monthly installment payments. To be eligible for the maximum 50 percent deferral and the maximum 18-month repayment period, an agricultural producer shall do all of the following:
(A) Verify crop losses in accordance with subdivision (c).
(B) Demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the electrical energy corporation, which accounts are, or which portion of the amount billed is, attributable to the production of citrus or avocado crops.
(C) Pay, on or before the due date of each bill during the deferral period, at least 50 percent of the charges incurred on each bill.
(f) The electrical energy corporation may require a security interest in crops, real property, or other security acceptable to the electrical energy corporation, as a condition of deferring payments pursuant to this section. Any deferral by the electrical energy corporation of one or more electricity bills pursuant to this section shall not constitute a waiver by the corporation of its authority to require security for amounts already deferred or subsequently deferred.
(g) Each electrical energy corporation shall establish a balancing account to reflect the amounts of the deferrals and the costs of the payment deferral program. All of the costs of the payment deferral program, including, but not limited to, uncollectible amounts, interest, and administrative costs, shall be fully recovered from all customers of the electrical energy corporation.
(Added by Stats. 1991, 1st Ex. Sess., Ch. 8, Sec. 2. Effective August 30, 1991.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018