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California Law Creating Wildfire Fund Survives Ratepayer Appeal

Dec. 30, 2021, 8:59 PM

California ratepayers lost their lawsuit over a law adding a surcharge to support a wildfire fund after the Ninth Circuit affirmed Thursday that federal courts are barred from considering disputes over state public utility ratemaking orders.

California Assembly Bill 1054, which directs the state Public Utilities Commission to impose the surcharge, violates the due process and takings clauses of the U.S. Constitution, the lawsuit said. The bill and surcharge were enacted without “any meaningful opportunity” for utility customers to be heard, according to the complaint.

The Johnson Act says district courts can’t interfere with any order affecting rates “chargeable by ...