Calaveras Telephone Company

5 Cal App. 5th 972; 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 867 (August 20, 2019).

The Court of Appeal (Third District) reversed a Commission resolution denying Petitioner’s request to augment its CHCF-A funding to offset losses in “revenues in 2016 because of regulatory changes identified in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Orders 14-190 and 16-33.” The resolution annulled by the Court had held that Petitioner should have pursued recovery of the lost revenues in a later rate case. Petitioner argued, and the court agreed, that “the Commission failed to follow the CHCF-A implementing rules when it disallowed the advice letter adjustment requests….” Relying on Southern California Edison (Para. 19), the Court held that by not adhering to its own rules, the Commission had failed to proceed in the manner required by law (Section 1757(a)(2)) and had abused its discretion. The Court did not agree with Petitioner that the Commission was required to augment Petitioner’s revenues. It only held that the process followed to reach a decision on that question must conform to rules already established by the Commission. (The Court reached a similar conclusion in Huntington Beach (Para 14), where the Court (4th District, Division 3) held that (1) the Commission was almost certainly empowered to declare a local building ordinance preempted by state law but (2) could not do so where the scoping memo in the matter had expressly excluded the issue from the proceeding.

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