II. Background

Decision (D.) 98-07-097 adopted final rules to govern utility planning for, and responses to, emergencies and major power outages. It also stated the Commission's intent to hold hearings on three related issues; standards for call center performance, standards and incentives for restoration times, and the use of communications facilities, referred to as Response Information Management System (RIMS) technologies.

By an Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ's) ruling dated September 16, 1998, PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E were ordered to meet with other parties to attempt to reach agreement on issues or to narrow the scope of inquiry.

At a prehearing conference on October 22, 1998, the parties agreed that RIMS would not be an issue. The utilities and the California Office of Emergency Services will continue to work together to potentially expand the use of RIMS in utility emergency operations in the future.

The utilities' direct testimony was filed on July 16, 1999.

ORA and TURN filed joint direct testimony on August 19, 1999.

The utilities' rebuttal testimony was filed on September 22, 1999.

Evidentiary hearings were held on October 5 and 6, 1999.

Opening briefs were filed on November 10, 1999.

Reply briefs were filed on November 24, 1999.

At the beginning of the evidentiary hearings, TURN, ORA, SDG&E, and SCE offered a joint proposal that represented a compromise they had reached. The only active party opposing the joint proposal was PG&E. PG&E maintained its opposition to any standards. However, it offered a proposal that it would support if the Commission were to adopt standards. PG&E's proposal is identical to the joint proposal except that it excludes transmission-related outages. PG&E also conditions its proposal on Commission approval of certain of its funding requests in its 1999 general rate case (GRC).

In order to fully understand the parties' positions and our decision in this proceeding, we describe their initial positions, as well as their subsequent positions regarding the joint proposal.

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