CMUA Members Provide Key Testimony on Bonds, Cyberscurity During Hearings in Sacramento
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Section: CMUA News

Paul Hauser (left) and Dave Pedersen (right)

CMUA members have provided key testimony during recent legislative hearings in Sacramento, as policymakers continue to debate the fate of water and energy bills and delve into emerging topics of interest.

On Monday, July 12, Paul Hauser, general manager of Trinity Public Utilities District, and Patrick Welch, CMUA’s senior director of energy strategy and policy, provided lead support testimony for CMUA’s sponsored bill on rate reduction bonds, AB 758 (Nazarian). Welch testified that the bill could provide an important tool for publicly owned utilities (POUs) to make needed investments at lower borrowing costs. Such a financial instrument is important, Welch said, given the scale of investments electric utilities likely will need to make during the next decade and to also help ease increasing electric rates, which are rising at twice the pace in California as the national average. Hauser testified about credit rating issues his utility has encountered, and he said AB 758 could enable Trinity Public Utilities District to tap into lower borrowing costs to make improvements to the utility’s rights-of-way and to fire harden the system. The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee approved AB 758 unanimously.

Dave Pedersen, general manager of Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, testified recently during the Assembly Select Committee on Cybersecurity’s informational hearing about the critical infrastructure control systems of local government and utilities. Pedersen talked about the increasing challenge of putting more resources toward cybersecurity while still keeping customer costs affordable, among other trends among small- and medium-size utilities.