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May 28, 2013 > Utility property values

Utility property values

Submitted By Jaime Garza

The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) has established unitary values of privately owned public utilities and railroads in California at $91.4 billion. Local governments will collect an estimated $1.035 billion in revenue (including penalties) during Fiscal Year 2013-14 based on these values. The values were set at the BOE meeting on May 22, 2013.

Total values rose by $3.9 billion from the $87.5 billion adopted by the Board the previous year and will generate approximately $56M more in taxes for local governments than in the current fiscal year. Values were set for 420 companies with property in California. They include telephone (long distance, local and wireless), gas and electric companies, railroads and inter-county pipelines.

While most properties are assessed by county officials, privately-held public utilities are assessed by the BOE statewide. These properties are not subject to Proposition 13 and are reappraised annually at their market value.

A "unitary value" includes improvements, personal property and land. A unitary valuation applies to properties owned or used by public utilities and railroads and considered necessary to their operation.

The BOE determines the fair market value as of January 1 each year by considering market conditions, use of the property, income generated by the property, replacement costs, investments in the property, regulatory climate, depreciation and other factors.

The values set by the BOE are used by county governments to levy local property taxes, which help support county governments, cities, special districts and schools. Penalties are assessed for late or incomplete filings or failure to file with the BOE.

More information on the BOE's State-Assessed Properties Program is available at

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