County of Inyo

26 Cal. 3d 154 (1980), 604 P.2d 566

In a lengthy opinion examining the constitutional and statutory underpinnings of the Commission’s jurisdiction, the Court affirmed a Commission order dismissing petitioner’s complaint seeking Commission review of rates assessed by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to customers lying outside Los Angeles County.  The Court held that that while Article XII, Section 5, of the California Constitution authorized the Legislature to vest the Commission with jurisdiction over municipalities providing water service outside their boundaries, the Legislature had never done so.  See PG&E Corporation (Para. 26) and Hillsboro Properties (Para. 29) for examples of legislative exercise of authority under Article XII Section 5 (the former by implication (the enactment of Section 854) while the latter by express direction.)  See also Independent Energy Producers v. McPherson, 38 Cal. 4th 1020 (2006) in which the California Supreme Court held that references in the California Constitution to the authority of the Legislature to enact specified legislation include the people’s reserved right to legislate through the initiative power; the Court held that a reference to the Legislature’s plenary power in Cal. Const., Art. XII, § 5, does not preclude the people, through their exercise of the initiative process, from conferring additional powers or authority upon the Commission.  (County of Inyo is the case on which Monterey (Para. 5) principally relies.)

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