The Public Utilities Act in California is a law that ensures public utilities or energy providers offer safe, and affordable services to the public. It serves to protect the best interest of the public and create appropriate guidelines. The act establishes the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as the regulatory authority and made them accountable for monitoring and guiding public utilities in the state. To meet certain standards, the CPUC has the power and jurisdiction to enforce compliance at the state level and federal regulations.
So, the primary goal of this act is to encourage the provision of reliable and affordable utility services by establishing guidelines. In this process, the local government is responsible for delivering quality services in a particular area.
Also See: What is Public Utility?
How PURPA is Different from Public Utilities Act?
The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) was created in 1978 as part of the National Energy Act in the US. Its purpose was to promote efficient use of resources, and the adoption of renewable energy sources. PURPA was implemented to address the energy crisis in the 1970s and aimed to reduce energy demand and increase supply. So, PURPA established a category of electric generating facilities called qualifying facilities (QFs) to promote the development of a competitive market for power from non-utility producers. These QFs received special regulatory treatment and rates and there were no promotional rate structures.
PURPA, being a federal law, aligns with the goals of the utility act in California. Both acts prioritize competition in the market for electric generation and energy conservation. They also promote renewable energy sources. However, note that Public Utilities Act is specific to California, while PURPA is a federal law and applies to all US states.
The main goal of the act in California is to create a framework that promotes the effective operation of public utilities. It emphasizes providing the general public with safe, reliable, and affordable utility services.