California Mutual Water Companies Association

45 Cal. 2d 152 (1955), 287 P.2d 748

The Court affirmed a Commission order authorizing Southern California Edison to phase out a schedule permitting customers to receive energy at several metering points but receive billing as though a single meter were involved.  Interestingly, one of the issues addressed by the Court arose under the old language of Section 1731, which provided that “no cause of action arising out of any order . . . shall accrue in any court . . . unless the corporation or person has made, before the effective date of the order . . . , application to the Commission for a rehearing.”  Petitioner argued that it had prepared and mailed the document to the Commission prior to the effective date (“made” the Application) and that, even though the document had not been “filed” before the effective date, no such “filing” was required by the statute.  The Court found for petitioner on this point, noting the uncertainties surrounding the term “made” and concluding that “construction in doubtful cases should be in favor of preserving the right whenever substantial interests are not adversely affected by the claimed delay.”  The Legislature seems to have had difficulty redressing this ambiguity.  In 1965, it amended Section 1731 by substituting “filed” for “made.”  Subsequent amendments changed the filing deadlines.  The Legislature, however,  has never enacted a corresponding amendment to Section 1733 (the Code’s automatic stay and “deemed denied” provisions.)  During the 2006 legislative session, the Legislature enacted AB 2390 providing for electronic notification of the issuance of Commission decisions and providing that the “date of issuance” for purposes of Section 1731 and 1756 is the notification date; the bill, however, did not correct Section 1733.  In 2010, legislation which would have enacted fairly innocuous (and unnecessarily complex) changes to the “deemed denied” provisions also would have, at long last, substituted “filed” for “made.”  While the bill passed in 2010, it was vetoed by the Governor.

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