Advocacy at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

CEERT’s Regulatory Counsel Sara Steck Myers and Associate Regulatory Attorney Megan Myers act as advocates and intervenors before the CPUC and other regulatory agencies to ensure fairly pricing for clean power, improve renewable energy procurement planning, and strengthen implementation of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). CEERT is helping lead the fight for innovative policies that reflect the true value, costs, and benefits of clean, renewable energy.


Recent Developments:

At the March 1 CPUC Business Meeting, it was announced that Alice Stebbins would be replacing Timothy Sullivan, who is retiring, as CPUC Executive Director. Here is a link to the news release of her appointment: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M208/K791/208791006.pdf.

On March 1, CPUC Commissioners Guzman Aceves and Rechtschaffen announced appointments to the Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group, which the California Energy Commission (CEC) in collaboration with the CPUC recently established, as required by SB 350. One of the Advisory Group’s key roles is to provide advice to the CPUC on where investments and strategic reduction of pollution in disadvantaged communities should be taking place. The Advisory Group’s guiding principles are to increase access to clean-energy technologies, to maintain and enhance affordability during clean-energy transitions, and to increase the economic, environmental, and health benefits of clean-energy programs.

The appointments to the Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group are: Stephanie Chen (Green-lining), Stan Greschner (GRID Alternatives), Angela Islas (Central California Asthma Collaborative), Roger Lin (Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment), Adriano Martinez (Earth Justice), Jodi Pincus (Rising Sun Energy Center), Andres Ramirez (Pacoima Beautiful), Woodie Rucker-Hayes (NAACP), Phoebe Seaton (Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability), Tyrone Williams (Sacramento Promise Zone), and Kevin Day (Tuolumne Me-Wuk Tribal Council).

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program (R.15-02-020)

On January 18, the CPUC held a workshop on Effective Load Carrying Capability (ELCC). Jim Caldwell attended the workshop and advocated strongly for revisions to the Energy Division process for dealing with Local Capacity Requirements in the Resource Adequacy proceeding.

Initially the CPUC was going to hold a February 6 workshop on Least-Cost, Best Fit reform, but the workshop has now been postponed indefinitely.

RPS ReMAT (Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff) Program – On Hold per U.S. District Court Decision

On December 6, U.S. District Judge Donato issued an order grant¬ing summary judgment in favor of Winding Creek Solar LLC’s requests for relief from PG&E’s ReMAT program. The order found that Commission decisions establishing the ReMAT Program conflict with federal law (PURPA). The decision effectively shut down the ReMAT program and foreclosed the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) from signing new ReMAT contracts. On January 3, the CPUC filed an “urgent motion” to the Court to stay its order while the Commission appealed it, or stay it to allow the CPUC to seek a stay in the 9th Circuit.

Following a February 8 hearing, the Court issued an Order stating that it had taken the Motion under sub¬mission and would issue a written order. However, the Court advised parties that it was inclined to deny the stay, but would consider, if jointly requested, a carve-out for those de¬clar¬ants that have made specific representations of alleged harm in the absence of a stay. The Court di¬rected the parties to meet and confer about the possibility of such a carve-out and to submit a joint state¬ment by February 15.

On February 15, Winding Creek Solar LLC and the CPUC jointly submitted a statement in response, but they met and conferred multiple times since February 8 and were unable to reach an agreement. The Motion was submitted based on the briefs and the February 8 hearing.

At the March 1 CPUC Business Meeting, several members of the public commented on ReMAT. Many of these commenters urged the CPUC to fix the ReMAT program and get it back running.

Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) (R.16-02-007)

The CPUC’s statutory charge from SB 350 to develop Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) has taken precedence over the CPUC’s traditional modeling of 10-year Long-Term Procurement Plans.

On December 28, ALJ Fitch issued a Proposed Decision (PD) that adopts a two-year planning cycle for the CPUC to conduct modeling and analysis, set GHG emissions targets, and consider IRP filings from all Load Serving Entities (LSEs).  The IRPs will be the vehicle for LSEs proposing procurement of additional resources to meet the planning requirements in the PD.  At the end of each two-year cycle, the CPUC will authorize procurement within the next 1-3 years that is necessary to meet the targets and needs identified in the IRP process.  The first such procurement authorization, if needed, is anticipated to come near the end of 2018.  The PD also sets a GHG emissions planning target of 42 million metric tons by 2030 that the CPUC is recommending to CARB for the electricity sector as a whole.

On January 17, CEERT and numerous other parties filed Opening Comments on the PD.  CEERT argued that the PD errs by ignoring and failing to act on or provide guidance consistent with modeling results.  Furthermore, the PD fails to act on CPUC direction provided in D.18-01-022 for GHG-free energy replacement for Diablo Canyon retirement, and wrongly assumes that the electric sector is ahead of its GHG trajectory.  CEERT also advocated for advance procurement of wind in 2018, and contended that the PD ignores the balanced and diverse portfolio requirement for IRPs.  Here is a link to our Opening Comments:  http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M206/K664/206664006.PDF.

On January 22, CEERT filed Reply Comments on the PD in which we agreed with the Opening Comments of multiple parties that the PD must be modified to order early procurement of renewables to capture federal tax credits, particularly in light of the retirement of Diablo Canyon.  Here is a link to our Reply Comments: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M207/K891/207891468.PDF.

At the February 8 CPUC Business Meeting, all five Commissioners voted to adopt the PD that was issued on February 13 as D.18-02-018.  Here is a link to D.18-02-018:  http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M209/K771/209771632.PDF.

On February 28, several of the original Joint Parties to the Diablo Canyon application (Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, California Unions for Reliable Energy, and PG&E) filed a Petition for Modification (PFM) of D.18-02-018.  The Joint Parties take issue with the fact that D.18-02-018 provides no direction on GHG-free replacement resources for the planned retirement of the Diablo Canyon generators in 2024-2025, an outcome at odds with the Diablo Canyon decision.  The Joint Parties seek modification of D.18-02-018 to provide direction on the procurement of GHG-free resources to prevent any increase in GHG emissions after the generating units at Diablo Canyon are retired as planned.  The PFM is at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M211/K864/211864499.PDF.

On March 26, CEERT joined Green Power Institute, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and California Environmental Justice Alliance (collectively, “Environmental Responders”) in filing a Joint Response to the PFM.  In this Joint Response, the Environmental Responders strongly support additional CPUC consideration of the impact of Diablo Canyon’s retirement within the IRP proceeding, and argue that, if Diablo Canyon’s retirement is not thoughtfully considered now, it has the potential to significantly increase air pollution and GHG emissions by the middle of the next decade.

The Environmental Responders request that the CPUC issue a ruling opening a new track in the proceeding dedicated to Diablo Canyon replacement procurement, and setting forth a process to ensure it will provide LSEs the guidance necessary to consider in their IRP filings the GHG impact of Diablo Canyon’s retirement and replacement resources.  In addition, the Environmental Responders assert that an expedited stakeholder process is required to determine necessary modeling and guidance, and there should also be a threshold ruling related to LSE responsibility and an update to current modeling.

A.16-08-006 (PG&E Diablo Canyon Closure & Proposed Procurement Plan)

On January 16, the CPUC issued D.18-01-022, which approves PG&E’s proposal to retire Diablo Canyon and $241.2 million in rate recovery for associated costs.  D.18-01-022 contains a conclusion of law that any procurement to replace Diablo Canyon should be addressed in the IRP proceeding to avoid increased GHG emissions in the most optimal manner.  D.18-01-022 can be found at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M205/K423/205423920.PDF.

As noted above, D.18-01-022 is the impetus for the Joint Parties’ Petition for Modification of the IRP D.18-02-018, with the Environmental Responders’ supportive Response.  That PFM and the Joint Response seek to have a direction or separate track established in the IRP to address Diablo Canyon GHG-free energy replacement procurement consistent with the intent and direction of D.18-01-022.

Resource Adequacy (RA) (R.17-09-020)

The RA rulemaking launched on September 28 will cover local and flexible RA procurement obligations, and will address changes to the RA program and refinement of RA program elements.

On January 18, the CPUC issued a Scoping Memo and Ruling of Assigned Commissioner Randolph and ALJ Allen.  The Scoping Memo divides the proceeding into three tracks.  The issues within the scope of Track 1 are: adopting the 2019 local capacity requirements (LCR), adopting the 2019 flexible capacity requirements (FCR), adopting the 2019 system RA requirements, and top-priority modifications to the RA program.  The issues within the scope of Track 2 are: adopting multi-year local RA requirements (only if a framework is adopted in Track 1), refinements to local area rules, and further refinements to the RA program.  Track 3 will consider the 2020 program year requirements for system, local, and flexible RA. 
This proceeding is categorized as ratesetting, and hearings will be required.  Here is a link to the Scoping Memo: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M205/K423/205423920.PDF.

On January 30, CEERT filed Comments emphasizing our disappointment that the Scoping Memo offers no guidance on problems with the current RA program, given the rapidly evolving nature of the grid.  We urged that the annual RA Report be accelerated as much as possible so that the discussion can be informed by current data.  We stressed the importance of not wasting time in making the step of increasing the supply of inexpensive low carbon resources to supply reliability needs as California wrestles with the consequences of success in procuring renewable resources to supply the energy requirements of the grid and the economic pressure on the remaining fossil fuel that has engendered.  Here is a link to CEERT’s Opening Comments: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M211/K266/211266129.PDF.

On February 16, CEERT and other parties filed Track 1 RA Proposals.  CEERT’s central Track 1 proposal is for the CPUC to undertake a multi-step process for adoption and evaluation of interim rules for: (1) the two Request for Offers (RFO) / Request for Proposals (RFP) to procure preferred resources for LCR (one by SCE and the other by PG&E); and (2) the procurements that are indicated by planning studies and ongoing stakeholder processes at the CAISO and CPUC.  Following adoption of these interim rules, their efficacy and cost-effectiveness within the RFP/RFOs would be evaluated.  Afterward, the CPUC would adopt and authorize construction of preferred-resource portfolios that are cost-effective and solve the particular LCR needs that have been identified in these two cases.  Here is a link to CEERT’s Track 1 Proposal: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M212/K404/212404409.PDF.

On February 22-23, the CPUC held a workshop to discuss the Energy Division’s and parties’ Track 1 Proposals.  Jim Caldwell presented CEERT’s Track 1 Proposals.  On February 26, ALJ Allen requested opinions or recommendations on options for how the CPUC should address late LCR and FCR studies.

On March 1, CEERT filed Comments on the Track 1 proposals, workshop, and February 26 ALJ Ruling.  In our Comments, we urged the CPUC to adopt CEERT’s Track 1 multi-step proposal detailed in our February 16 filing for the SCE and PG&E LCR procurements and, in so doing, also take the following actions: (1) clarify that, for the proposed SCE procurement plan, “Stand-By Demand Response” paired with short-duration battery storage is allowed for bidding into the Request for Production for both the Goleta resiliency need and the Santa Clara LCR need; (2) revise the PG&E procurement plan to strike the asterisk requiring pre-contingency dispatch of DR; (3) confirm that cost allocation of both these procurements will be governed by the current cost-allocation mechanism protocols at the time the Advice Letters are adjudicated; and (4) conclude that, if the CAISO determines the resource portfolio that results from these procurements satisfies the particular LCR needs in Santa Clara and Oakland, each will satisfy the LSE LCR obligations regardless of how they score by current RA protocols.  Here is a link to our Opening Comments: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M211/K889/211889252.PDF.

On March 15, CEERT’s John White, Jim Caldwell, Liz Anthony, and Sara Myers participated in two meetings at the CPUC to discuss the RA proceeding and CEERT’s Track 1 Proposals, with particular emphasis on the importance of “learning by doing” through the currently pending reliability/LCR solicitations by SCE and PG&E (including PG&E’s Oakland Clean Energy Project) to develop RA counting rules that will appropriately value preferred resources, especially in combination with each other.

The first meeting was with the CPUC Energy Division Director (Ed Randolph), Energy Division analysts for the RA proceeding (Michele Kito and Simone Brant), and Energy Division supervisor Molly Sterkel (assigned to the IRP).  In addition to significant give and take on CEERT’s Track 1 proposals, the Energy Division expressed great interest in the analysis Liz Anthony is finishing on the operational and emissions profiles of the CAISO territory gas fleet, and requested a copy when that work was completed.  Liz Anthony plans a follow-up meeting with Energy Division on the gas fleet analysis and how it could be used in more detailed studies by CPUC staff and for the IRP’s disadvantaged community requirements.

The second meeting was with CPUC Commissioner Randolph’s advisor Joanna Gubman, with Simone Brant also attending.  This was a noticed ex parte communication for which all appropriate pleadings were served and filed, and was for the purpose of detailing CEERT’s Track 1 proposals.

On March 16, CEERT filed our Reply Comments on Track 1 proposals and workshop.  These comments illustrate that multiple parties share CEERT’s concern on actions needed to be taken in Track 1 on use of preferred resources for LCR purposes.  CEERT also shares many of the concerns and positions of several parties on other appropriate options for the Track 1 Decision.  Here is a link to the Reply Comments: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M212/K368/212368102.PDF

On March 27, assigned Commissioner Randolph and ALJ Allen issued a Ruling noting that because CAISO has been delayed in issuing its draft 2019 LCR Report, the schedule for Track 1 has been modified.  The new schedule is:

  • April 23: CAISO files draft 2019 LCR and FCR Reports.
  • May 4: Comments on draft 2019 LCR and FCR Reports.
  • May 15: CAISO files final 2019 LCR and FCR Reports.
  • May 18: Comments on final 2019 LCR and FCR Reports.

A Proposed Decision (PD) on Track 1 is anticipated to be issued in May.  However, if the CAISO’s final LCR and FCR Reports are not filed by May 15, or if there are other reasons that the final LCR and FCR Reports cannot be timely incorporated in the Track 1 PD, it may use the draft LCR and FCR numbers and a “deadband.”  See: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M212/K498/212498274.PDF.

A workshop has been scheduled for April 24 on RA Program reforms that would maintain reliability while reducing potentially costly backstop procurement.

SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or Requests for Offers (RFOs)

SCE Moorpark:  In D.17-09-034 the CPUC rejected SCE’s 54 MW gas-fired Ellwood contract and 0.5 MW energy storage contract to meet need in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area, directed SCE to determine whether that need could instead be met with reduced reliance on fossil fuel, and told SCE to update the Commission on actions and resources to address needs in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area that may arise in the event of a loss of the two Goleta–Santa Clara 230 kV transmission lines.

On December 21, SCE submitted a plan to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) soliciting preferred resources and energy storage that would meet the LCR needs in the Moorpark sub-area, and that “may also further resiliency objectives in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area.”  Parties were given the opportunity to comment on that plan; the Energy Division approved SCE’s amended plan; and SCE issued the RFP on February 28.  SCE held a Bidder’s Conference on March 15, and on March 23 amended the RFO to account for final approval by the CAISO Board of Governors of a transmission upgrade that reduced the overall need.  (The RFP had anticipated this approval but initially left open an alternate in case the transmission upgrade was not approved.)  Initial bids for this groundbreaking RFP are due on June 21.

SCE Preferred Resources Pilot RFPs:  SCE has continued to pursue approval of contracts signed pursuant to its PRP RFP 2, and in October filed briefs in support of 19 contracts for 125 MW of preferred resources (Johanna A-Bank or Santiago A-Bank substations) that will meet DER and GHG goals.

However, on February 23 a Proposed Decision (PD) was issued denying SCE’s application for approval of its PRP RFP 2 contracts.  The denial is based on the PD’s determination that, because there are ample natural gas facilities in the Basin to meet LCRs, SCE “failed to adequately justify why these 19 contracts are needed – whether under the Preferred Resources Pilot or to meet the objectives and requirements of existing Commission procurement programs or policies.”  The PD concludes, “We are not convinced that approving the purchase and sale agreement contracts is in the best interests of SCE customers, and we do not authorize recovery of the costs of these contracts in rates.”

The PD will be considered at the CPUC’s April 26 meeting.  If approved, this decision represents a setback in the broader push by both the CPUC and the CAISO to reduce the role of natural gas in ensuring grid reliability as the state seeks to reduce GHG emissions.  The PD can be found at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M210/K041/210041124.PDF

PG&E Storage and Preferred Resources RFP:  On January 11, the CPUC signed out Resolution E-4909, which orders PG&E “to hold a competitive solicitation for energy storage and preferred resources (including renewables, DR, and EE) to address two local sub-area capacity deficiencies and to manage voltage issues in another sub-area.”  Given the number of parties opposing the Resolution, it may be the subject of an application for rehearing, but no such application stays the effect of the Resolution or PG&E’s obligation to perform under it.

PG&E issued an RFP in February for up to 200 MW of storage at the Moss Landing substation for the South Bay/Moss Landing sub-area, plus an additional 50 MW of storage at two smaller sub-areas in the San Joaquin Valley.  Initial bids are due in June.

PG&E Oakland Clean Energy Project:  In September, PG&E filed a study request in the CAISO 2017-2018 Transmission Plan process, proposing to substitute preferred resources for its “reliability must-run resources” (RMR) contract with Dynegy for the Oakland C peaking plants, which are the only utility-scale oil-fired generators in the state.  The PG&E plan closely mirrors the SCE Moorpark RFP and Resolution E-4909.

On March 20, the CAISO Board of Governors approved the plan and authorized recovery of costs in the CAISO low-voltage Transmission Access Charge under FERC jurisdiction for substation upgrades and installation of a battery storage facility at the Oakland C substation.  PG&E will now file at the CPUC for a preferred-resource RFP to provide local energy to recharge that battery during a transmission outage.  This will allow cancellation of the RMR contract and retirement of the 40-year-old high-emission plants near Oakland’s Jack London Square.

SDG&E Preferred Resources RFO:  On April 19, 2017, SDG&E filed A.17-04-017, asking for approval of 88 MW of new preferred resource contracts.  In January 2018, the ALJ admitted into the record prepared testimony that had been served, and briefs were filed.  No Proposed Decision has yet been issued.

Demand Response (DR) (R.13-09-011)

CEERT is convinced that unless we make significant progress on DR, it will continue to be difficult to stop new gas development and to carry out an orderly retirement schedule for existing gas facilities.  Therefore, we continue to advocate vigorously before the CPUC to strengthen existing DR programs while pressing for changes in DR procurement, and to urge the CAISO Board of Governors and senior management to reduce barriers to expanded use of this crucial resource.

On January 26, Stem filed and served a Petition for Modification of D.16-09-056 requesting that energy storage be excluded from the list of prohibited resources and elimination of the requirement, beginning on January 1, that energy storage resources used for DR “meet the relevant greenhouse gas emissions standards adopted for the Self-Generation Incentive Program,” or suspension of the requirement until the recently formed Self-Generation Incentive Program GHG Signal Working Group recommends, and the CPUC adopts, changes to ensure accurate accounting for and minimization of GHG emissions from storage.  The CPUC has not yet ruled on this Petition for Modification.

D.15-11-042 is a November 19, 2015 Decision that addresses the Valuation of Load Modifying DR and DR Cost-Effectiveness Protocols.  On December 29, 2015, Comverge, Inc., CPower, EnerNOC, Inc., EnergyHub and Johnson Controls, Inc. (the “Joint DR Parties”) filed an Application for Rehearing of D.15-11-042.  The CPUC only ruled on this Application for Rehearing on March 5, 2018, when it issued D.18-03-012, which denied rehearing of D.15-11-042, claiming that no legal error was shown and that it is within the CPUC’s discretion to move forward with objectives based on evaluation of the Valuation Working Group Report.

D.18-03-012 also gives the CPUC’s rationale for not adopting a capacity value for event-based DR, noting the CPUC is not convinced that alternative recommendations were adequate to support adoption of a valuation methodology and that the amount of MW associated with event-based DR is not material to the outcome and is for all practical purposes irrelevant.  Here is a link to D.18-03-012: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M211/K889/211889572.PDF.

The CPUC was going to hold an April 2 workshop on the utilities’ proposed approach to determine cost refunds to eligible CCAs and DA customers, but this was cancelled pending future notice.

DR Applications (A.17-01-012, et al.)

As previously reported, on December 14 the CPUC issued Final Decision D.17-12-003 in the DR proceeding (R.13-09-011).  D.17-12-003 adopts DR activities and budgets for PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E to conduct DR programs, pilots and associated activities for 2018 – 2022.  The decision also expresses support for the limited integration of DR and energy efficiency activities.

On February 13, the CPUC held a workshop that discussed current DR dual participation rules, and proposals for revising the rules in response to concerns of possible disparate treatment of customers.  On February 14, the CPUC held a workshop on managing MW under the existing reliability cap.

Other CPUC Rulemakings and Governance Actions:

CEERT has had a limited budget to actively participate in other CPUC issues.  Nevertheless, we are currently a party to or are tracking the following proceedings in order to advance key resources.

Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) (R.17-06-026)
On September 25, Commissioner Peterman issued a Scoping Memo and Ruling that divided R.17-06-026 into two tracks: Track 1 will deal with PCIA exemptions for CARE and Medical Baseline customers, and Track 2 with evaluation and possible modification of PCIA methodology.

Workshops were held January 16 and 17 to provide parties a forum for a data-based discussion of cost responsibilities and “going forward” solutions.  The workshops included presentations by the IOUs and various community choice aggregator (CCA) groups such as CalCCA.  On January 16, ALJ Roscow extended the briefing due dates to allow Track 1 parties to continue to explore whether settlement is possible.  Opening Briefs on Track 1 issues were due on February 20 and Reply Briefs on March 13.

On March 2, Commissioner Peterman issued an Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling that modified the schedule of this proceeding.  Below is the revised schedule for Track 2:

  • Utility production of ALJ-requested data template: March 2
  • Testimony served and submitted to Supporting Documents: April 2
  • Concurrent rebuttal testimony served: April 23
  • Evidentiary Hearings: May 7–11
  • Opening Briefs: June 1
  • Reply Briefs: June 15
  • Proposed Decision: late July

See:  http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/SearchRes.aspx?docformat=ALL&docid=211795024.

Distribution Resource Plans (DRPs) (R.14-08-013)
On January 24, Assigned Commissioner Picker and Assigned ALJ Mason issued a Joint Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling in the DRP proceeding.  Comments on this Amended Ruling were filed on February 9.  The Amended Scoping Memo identified issues still remaining in this proceeding in Tracks 1 (Methodological Issues), 2 (Demonstration and Pilot Projects) and 3 (Policy Issues).

On February 15, the CPUC issued D.18-02-004, the Decision on Track 3’s Sub-Track 1 (Growth Scenarios) and Sub-Track 3 (Distribution Investment and Deferral Process).  A link to D.18-02-004 is here: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M209/K858/209858586.PDF.

On March 22, the CPUC issued D.18-03-023, a Decision that addresses the issues identified in Track 3, Sub-Track 2 (Grid Modernization), and provides a framework for Grid Modernization Guidance to inform future General Rate Cases (GRCs) as follows:

  • Defines grid modernization with regards to its multiple objectives and the scope of Grid Modernization Plans;
  • Establishes a classification framework to serve as a common vocabulary for grid modernization investments, and terminology to guide the organization and presentation of future GRC filings;
  • Establishes the structure and timing of the grid modernization planning process, including submission of Grid Modernization Plans and Grid Needs Assessments, and identifies how this fits into the larger DRP process;
  • Provides guidance on how the Commission will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of grid modernization investments proposed in future GRCs, including net ratepayer benefits;
  • Establishes submission requirements for the grid modernization portion of future GRC requests, including how to justify each request; and
  • Identifies next steps for further refining certain aspects of the grid modernization guidance adopted in this decision.

See:  http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M212/K432/212432689.PDF.

Integration of Distributed Energy Resources (IDER) (R.14-10-003)
On February 12, the CPUC issued an Amended Scoping Memo that adds two issues to the scope of this proceeding:  (1) Design, for Commission consideration and adoption, alternative sourcing mechanisms or approaches that satisfy distribution planning objectives; and (2) Consider how existing programs, incentives, and tariffs can be coordinated to maximize the locational benefits and minimize the costs of distributed energy resources.  The Amended Scoping Memo also contained questions on new issues.  Responses to questions in the Ruling were filed on March 29, and Replies on April 13.  Here is a link to the Ruling:  http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M209/K611/209611862.PDF.

On March 14, ALJ Hymes issued a Ruling Seeking Responses to Questions and Comment on the Staff Amended Proposal on Societal Cost Test (SCT).  The Ruling contains a revised Staff Proposal on the SCT that refines the original Staff Proposal, provides additional information, and makes more detailed recommendations for the proposed cost-effectiveness tests in general and the two adders specifically.  The Ruling also sets forth questions on the revised Staff Proposal.  The Comment and Reply Comment period was extended, with Opening Comments due April 20 and Reply Comments due May 7.  Here is a link to this Ruling: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/SearchRes.aspx?docformat=ALL&docid=212023660.

DER Action Plan
There has been no recent activity with the DER Action Plan.   The Final DER Action Plan was issued on May 3, and it is still unclear how this plan will be used going forward.

DER Improvements to Rule 21 (R.17-07-007)
On February 14, ALJ Hymes issued a Ruling Revising Schedule and Reassigning Issue Six.  The new schedule for the proceeding is:

  • March 15: Deadline for filing the Working Group One proposal.
  • March 15: Working Group Two shall begin its work.
  • April 15: Deadline for Comments on Working Group One proposal.
  • September 15: Deadline for filing the Working Group Two proposal.
  • October 15: Deadline for Comments on the Working Group Two proposal.

The issue of whether the CPUC should require utilities to develop forms and agreements to allow DERs to fulfill Rule 21 requirements related to smart inverters, identified previously as Issue Six and assigned to the Smart Inverter Working Group, is now assigned to Working Group Two.

At the March 22 CPUC Business Meeting, the Commissioners discussed and held Resolution E-4898, which would approve, with modifications, the proposed revisions of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E to Electric Rule 21 Tariff incorporating eight Smart Inverter Working Group Phase 3 advanced functionality recommendations.  The Resolution modifies the effective dates, adjusts technical requirements of the eight functions, and rejects the proposed revisions to the Electric Rule 21 Tariff Communication requirements for smart inverters.  This item was held to the April 26 CPUC Business Meeting.

The Commissioners were largely supportive of this Resolution.  However, Commissioner Randolph recommended using something other than annual reporting.  Commissioner Rechtschaffen recommended including specific language in the Resolution that third-party providers, as well as customers, would be allowed to complain if there is an incidence of a Volt Watt Requirement.  Commissioner Peterman expressed concerns that the three year monitoring requirement in the Resolution was insufficient.  Commissioner Guzman Aceves asked how the ICA used in the DRP would affect the activation of the Volt Watt Requirement.  Commission President Picker supported the Resolution and pointed out that the ICA is not a static map and will be dynamic based on local situations, and possibly even regional situations.  See:  http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M212/K198/212198679.PDF

Energy Efficiency (EE) (R.13-11-005)
There has not been much activity in this matter since the November 14 issuance of D.17-11-006, the Decision on To-Code Pilots.

EE Business Plans (A.17-01-013, et al.)
At the January 11 CPUC Business Meeting, all five Commissioners voted to adopt D.18-01-004, a decision addressing the required process for third-party solicitations in the context of the rolling portfolio EE programs overseen by IOU program administrators.  All IOUs will be required to conduct a Request for Abstract (RFA) solicitation, followed by a full Request for Proposal (RFP) stage.

The decision approves the general sequencing of solicitations over the next several years as the IOUs move toward a greater share of their energy efficiency portfolios being designed and implemented by third-party providers.  The IOUs are required to use procurement review groups for design and conduct of solicitations, as well as add an independent evaluator (IE) structure analogous to that used for supply-side solicitations, except that the IEs shall be specifically hired for their energy efficiency expertise.

The Commission reserves the right to modify the process, including to hire an IE itself, as this process progresses and as any further issues are identified through monitoring and oversight. The proceeding remains open for consideration of the standard contract terms and conditions, as well as the full business plan proposals submitted by all PAs.  Here is a link to D.18-01-004: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M205/K560/205560586.PDF

On March 23, ALJ Fitch issued a Ruling that invites parties to file comments on requirements developed by CPUC Staff on custom classification; behavior, retrocommissioning and Operations Maintenance Plan; limit on normal replacement measures; repair and maintenance programs; pay-for-performance; savings estimates/claims requirements; and sub-metering accuracy.  The Ruling also proposes to sunset the filing process for high-opportunity programs or projects as soon as EE business plans under review in this proceeding are approved.  Comments are due on May 14 and Reply Comments on May 30.  Here is a link to the Ruling: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M212/K368/212368088.PDF.

Energy Storage (R.15-03-011)
At the January 11 CPUC Business Meeting, all five Commissioners voted to adopt the Decision on Multiple-Use Application Issues for Energy Storage.  The decision, D.18-01-003, provides direction to the utilities on how to promote the ability of storage resources to realize their full economic value when they are capable of providing multiple benefits and services to the electricity system.

The decision adopts 11 rules to govern evaluation of these multiple-use energy storage applications, along with definitions of service domains, reliability services, and non-reliability services.  The decision also establishes a working group to further develop several issues and directs the Energy Division to report to the CPUC in 2018 on the state of the energy storage industry.  The proceeding is now closed.  Here is a link to D.18-01-003: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M206/K462/206462341.pdf

In February and March, the IOUs filed Applications for Approval of their 2018 Energy Storage Procurement and Investment Plans.

Public Records Access (R.14-11-001)
On March 8, ALJ Lirag issued a Ruling Noticing Phase 2B Workshop on development of confidential matrices.   The workshop was held on March 29, with Megan and Sara Myers participating by webinar.   The workshop had two sections: a panel discussion addressing how different types of groups use the California Public Records Act; and a presentation of confidential matrices, with entities that submitted those matrices briefly summarizing their proposals.