(a) A water corporation with more than 10,000 service connections that seeks to operate a pilot program designed to evaluate customer interest in, and utilization of, bill payment options, including, but not limited to, credit card, debit card, and prepaid card bill payment options, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of, and customer interests served by, customer access to those bill payment options, shall do so by requesting commission approval through its general rate case application. A pilot program adopted pursuant to this subdivision shall be limited to the duration of the water corporation’s rate case cycle.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 755, the commission shall allow a water corporation to recover the reasonable expenses incurred by the water corporation in providing to its customers bill payment options pursuant to subdivision (a) and shall not require the water corporation to impose a transaction fee on its customers.
(c) The costs of a pilot program adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) may not be recovered from customers participating in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program established pursuant to Section 739.1 or in a water rate relief program for low-income ratepayers established pursuant to Section 739.8.
(d) The commission shall require a water corporation that is operating a pilot program to notify its customers that the water corporation is participating in a pilot program and that the pilot program may not continue, pending an assessment of the costs and benefits of the pilot program to customers.
(e) The commission shall ensure that accepting bill payment options pursuant to subdivision (a) neither increases nor decreases the rate of return of the water corporation.
(f) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2022, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2022, deletes or extends that date.
(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 254, Sec. 1. (AB 1180) Effective January 1, 2017. Repealed as of January 1, 2022, by its own provisions.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018