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General Guidance in Reading the Public Utilities Code

‘Public utility’ includes every common carrier, toll bridge corporation, etc…

By Chris Micheli, July 1, 2022 9:01 am

California’s statutes are contained in 29 separate codes. The twenty-third alphabetically is the Public Utilities Code. All 29 Codes have general provisions applicable to reading and interpreting that Code’s sections. The following are selected general provisions of the Public Utilities Code:

Section 1 – This Act is known as the Public Utilities Code.

Section 2 – The provisions of this Code, insofar as they are substantially the same as existing statutory provisions relating to the same subject matter, are to be construed as restatements and continuations, and not as new enactments.

Section 5 – Unless the provision or the context otherwise requires, the definitions, rules of construction, and other general provisions contained in Sections 1 to 22, inclusive, and the definitions in the Public Utilities Act (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 201) of Part 1 of Division 1), govern the construction of this Code.

Section 6 – Division, part, chapter, article, and section headings do not in any manner affect the scope, meaning, or intent of the provisions of this Code.

Section 7 – Whenever a power is granted to, or a duty is imposed upon, a public officer, the power may be exercised or the duty may be performed by a deputy of the officer or by a person authorized, pursuant to law, by the officer, unless this Code expressly provides otherwise.

Section 8 – Writing includes any form of recorded message capable of comprehension by ordinary visual means. Whenever any notice, report, statement, petition, or record is required or authorized by this Code, it must be made in writing in the English language unless it is expressly provided otherwise.

Section 9 – Whenever reference is made to any portion of this Code or of any other law of this State, the reference applies to all amendments and additions made.

Section 11 – The present tense includes the past and future tenses, and the future tense includes the present.

Section 12 – The masculine gender includes the feminine and the neuter.

Section 12.2 – The term “spouse” includes “registered domestic partner.”

Section 13 – The singular number includes the plural, and the plural, the singular.

Section 14 – The term “shall” is mandatory and “may” is permissive.

Section 15 – The term “oath” includes affirmation.

Section 21 – If any provision of this Code, or the application of it to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the Code, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances, is not affected.

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