Report 2012-118 Recommendation 8 Responses
Report 2012-118: California Public Utilities Commission: Despite Administrative Weaknesses, It Has Generally Awarded Compensation to Intervenors in Accordance With State Law (Release Date: July 2013)
Recommendation #8 To: Public Utilities Commission
The commission should work with intervenors through workshops or other means to clarify any confusion related to how it determines that work intervenors perform is reasonable.
1-Year Agency Response
The Commission has taken several actions to clarify program policies and procedures. In December 2013, the Commission held a workshop, among other things, to discuss with intervenors the Commissions current practices for determining the reasonableness of work performed by intervenors. This workshop allowed intervenors to ask questions, make recommendations and begin a productive dialog on several issues (workshop notes were provided to the State Auditor via email on February 4, 2014).
In addition to previously reported changes to the program web page to alert intervenors to recent developments and to provide other important information, the Commission redesigned the programs forms and instructions, updated and posted on the website approved intervenor hourly rates (now published in Excel for intervenors convenience). The Commission announced these changes via e-mail to the IComp service list. The Commissions Public Advisors Office (PAO) provides information and assistance to the public, including potential and current intervenors. The ALJ Division is working with the PAO to ensure the Commission provides clear, consistent and accurate program information. The ALJ Division also coordinates with the PAO to provide responses to more complex questions.
- Completion Date: June 2014
- Response Date: July 2014
California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented
Although the commission's 6-month response indicated that the result of the workshop would include a document answering intervenors' frequently asked questions, the commission decided to focus on addressing intervenors' concerns by updating its program guide and other materials. Commission staff updated the program guide in May 2014 and have begun updating intervenor hourly rates on a bi-monthly basis.
6-Month Agency Response
As discussed above (Response to Recommendation No. 2), the ALJ Division held an Intervenor Compensation Workshop on December 2, 2013. Among other things, the workshop initiated a dialog with intervenors on how the Commission determines the reasonableness of intervenors work. The Commission is now considering intervenors comments and recommendations on ways to expand, improve, and standardize guidance to intervenors.
The intervenors will be provided an opportunity to comment on a draft proposal stemmed from the workshop in early 2014. These comments will be utilized in issuing a formal resolution regarding intervenor hourly rates. The proposal will also contain drafts of intervenors suggested documents. The intervenors will have the opportunity to comment on these drafts before a formal encompassing resolution is adopted.
In the 60-day status report, the Commission reported that the ALJ Division added an Important Information section to the Commissions Intervenor Compensation Program web page to alert intervenors to recent developments and to provide other important information for intervenors. In addition, the Commission is developing a Frequently Asked Questions document that will be posted on the Commissions Intervenor Compensation Program web page and periodically updated.
- Completion Date: December 2013
- Response Date: January 2014
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented
Although the commission has made some concrete steps to clarify intervenors' confusion related to how it determines that work intervenors perform is reasonable, we would like to see what documents result from this exchange. Specifically, the commission indicates that it is considering intervenors' comments and recommendations on ways to expand, improve, and standardize guidance to intervenors and it is developing a frequently asked questions document that will be posted on the commission's Intervenor Compensation Program web page.
60-Day Agency Response
As discussed above, the ALJ Division is planning an informal workshop with intervenors in November 2013. In addition to addressing issues concerning developing market rates, the workshop will provide intervenors an opportunity to raise other issues.
The ALJ Division has added an "Important Information" section to the Commission's Intervenor Compensation Program web page to alert intervenors to recent developments and to provide other important information for intervenors. (See copy of web page screen shot submitted to email@example.com).
- Estimated Completion Date: November 2013
- Response Date: September 2013
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.