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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 mandated climate and clean-energy goals. CEERT is helping lead the fight for innovative policies that reflect the true value, costs, and benefits of clean, renewable energy.
Summary of CEERT’s Advocacy at the CPUC
CEERT commented on the new Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) to update and amend CPUC General Order (GO) 131-D (R.23-05-018). We have also been particularly active in the Resource Adequacy (R.21-10-002) and Demand Flexibility (R.20-07-005) proceedings.
New Events at the CPUC
General Order 131-D (R.23-05-018)
On May 23, the CPUC issued R.23-05-018, the Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) to update and amend CPUC General Order (GO) 131-D. The CPUC’s existing GO 131-D addresses the siting of electric transmission infrastructure within the State of California. This OIR opens a proceeding to update and amend GO 131-D pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 529 and to make other necessary changes. The OIR states that the CPUC’s goal is to adopt a new “E” version of GO 131 that will better address the needs of California and its residents; be consistent with SB 529 and other applicable laws, policies and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders; and provide a clearer, more efficient and consistent process.
On June 22, CEERT submitted Opening Comments on the OIR. We did not object to the issues contained in the OIR’s preliminary scope, but expressed concern that the failure to bifurcate those issues in a manner that will first examine and implement the express directives of Senate Bill (SB) 529 will undermine and delay, rather than expedite, permitting of existing transmission upgrades, additions, or expansions. The CPUC needs to recognize that delays in the design and construction schedule of needed transmission projects both increase cost and undermine reliability and achievement of state policies. The CPUC should now begin to work closely with the CAISO to improve the quarterly Transmission Development Forum that is co-sponsored by the CAISO and the CPUC.
On July 7, CEERT submitted Reply Comments on the OIR. Multiple parties share CEERT’s position that implementation of SB 529, as written and intended, must be prioritized and implemented based on an informed scope and expedited schedule. We again urged the Commission to provide more information to all parties and stakeholders to inform streamlining proposals for amending GO 131-D permitting processes consistent with SB 529. CEERT also recommended that the CPUC and its Staff immediately report on the documentation required for issuance of a permit to construct (PTC) and time required to submit and review such documentation through CPUC approval of transmission infrastructure pursuant to the PTC process based on PTCs sought over the last five years. We requested that the Report be filed and served by CPUC Staff on August 1.
On July 31, Assigned Commissioner Douglas issued the Assigned Commissioner’s Scoping Memo and Ruling setting forth the issues, need for hearing, schedule and category of this proceeding, which will be divided into two phases. Phase 1 will consider what changes to GO 131-D are necessary to conform it to the requirements of SB 529 and to update outdated references, and will be considered on an expedited basis to ensure compliance with the SB 529 deadline. Phase 2 shall consider all other changes to GO 131-D. Evidentiary Hearings are not needed. The Scoping Memo finds that Opening and Reply Comments on the OIR have already addressed the issues identified for Phase 1, no further events for Phase 1 are scheduled, and Phase 1 is deemed submitted. The Proposed Decision on Phase 1 will be filed no later than 90 days from July 31.
CPUC Transmission Planning
Transmission Project Review Process (TPRP) (Resolution E-5252)
On May 2, the CPUC issued Final Resolution E-5252, which establishes the Transmission Project Review Process (TPRP) on January 1, 2024. The CPUC contends that the purpose of the TPRP is to devise a uniform process to review the investor-owned utilities’ (IOUs’) capital transmission projects with the goal of providing clarity on projects aimed at making progress toward the state’s clean energy goals.
The Final Resolution reflects that CEERT had numerous concerns with the proposed process, including whether the CPUC has the authority to use the resolution process to establish the TPRP. The Final Resolution states that the resolution process, although informal, does provide the requesting notice, opportunity to be heard, and dispute resolution by an impartial decisionmaker should a dispute arise in the TPRP.
CEERT argued that the Resolution does not consider how the TPRP would create conflicts or delays with existing transmission planning and development processes. We argued that the resolution seeks to subvert the FERC processes, which could lead to litigation and further delay addressing current transmission issues. The Final Resolution responded to CEERT’s statements that our desire to be fully informed of the status and progress of projects on which clean energy resources rely for interconnection and deliverability is an important factor in the development of the TPRP. Final Resolution E-5252 claims that it aims to ensure adequate access to, and usability of, sufficient data on transmission projects and network upgrades.
CPUC Energy Planning and Procurement and Resource Adequacy
Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) (R.20-05-003)
On February 23, the CPUC issued Final Decision D.23-02-040, which noted that CEERT would prefer a longer-term planning horizon—something that will be considered in the future as it becomes more feasible. The Decision also stated that CEERT was one of several parties that advocated for development of a sensitivity portfolio, at least for the next TPP cycle, that evaluates the potential for additional, or all, natural gas generating plants to retire by 2030 or 2035. The Decision commits to beginning a process for stakeholder input on this issue in 2023, and if that input is ready, the CPUC will include it in consideration of a sensitivity analysis in the next TPP cycle.
On May 30, the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) and Western Power Trading Forum (WPTF) submitted a Petition for Modification of D.23-02-040 and D.21-06-035, both of which were mid-term reliability decisions. The Petition for Modification requests alterations to the decisions to address long lead-time resource compliance deadlines. Responses to the Petition for Modification were due June 29.
On June 21, several parties submitted Informal Comments on the Draft Inputs & Assumptions for the 2022-2023 IRP Modeling, which can be found here.
Resource Adequacy (RA) (R.19-11-009/R.21-10-002)
On April 7, the CPUC issued D.23-04-010, which addresses issues scoped as Phase 2 of the Resource Adequacy Reform Track and adopts implementation details for the 24-hour slice-of-day framework, including adopting compliance tools, resource counting rules for various resource types, and a methodology to translate the Planning Reserve Margin (PRM) to the slice-of-day framework.
The Final Decision reflected that previously CEERT and the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) recommended that the Master Resource Database (MRD) include greenhouse gas (GHG) heat rate, and reiterated that recommendation in comments on the Proposed Decision. The Final Decision was modified to include heat rate information on publicly available disadvantaged community (DAC) status in the MRD. CEERT also recommended that test year showings should include month-ahead showings for July, August, and September, but this request was denied.
On May 25, ALJs Chiv and O’Rourke issued a Proposed Decision Adopting Local Capacity Obligations for 2024-2026, Flexible Capacity Obligations for 2024, and Program Refinements. Appendix A to the Proposed Decision is the Modified Confidential Treatment of Central Procurement Entity Information. Opening Comments were submitted on June 14. On June 19, CEERT submitted Reply Comments that supported the multiple parties that opposed adopting a bid cap specific to proxy demand response (DR) assets of $500 per MW hour. CEERT also agreed with parties that the Transmission Load Factor Adder should not be limited, and that the California Energy Commission (CEC) process should be accelerated.
On July 5, the CPUC issued D.23-06-029, the Final Decision Adopting Local Capacity Obligations for 2024-2026, Flexible Capacity Obligations for 2024, and Program Refinements. The Decision increased the proxy DR bid cap to $949/MWh but left in several other negative DR provisions. The Decision also closes R.21-10-002 (RA). Applications for Rehearing were due on August 4.
On July 26, the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) submitted an Application for Rehearing of D.23-06-029. CalCCA argues that D.23-06-029 violates customers’ statutory right to aggregate electric loads with a community choice aggregator (CCA), that D.23-06-029 exceeds the CPUC’s jurisdiction by prohibiting customers from aggregating their loads with an existing CCA based on the CCA’s prior RA compliance history, that it needlessly discriminates against CCAs when other, even-handed RA enforcement alternatives are available under P.U. Code Section 380, and that the CPUC abused its discretion and failed to act in the manner required by law by making findings that are unsupported by the record. Responses to this Application for Rehearing were due on August 15.
On August 4, CEERT joined the California Efficiency + Demand Management Council, CPower, Enel X North America, Inc., Leapfrog Power, Inc., and OhmConnect, Inc. (the Joint Parties) to submit a Joint Application for Rehearing and Joint Motion for Partial Stay of Decision 23-06-029.
D.23-06-029 contains three orders and one “clarification” directive that err in adopting rules that are contrary to applicable law, fact, and policy, and wrongly impose significant and unsupported adverse impacts on demand response, particularly as it pertains to third-party DR providers. First, the CPUC reverses the present limitation on using Reliability Demand Response Resources (RDRR) as an RA resource during system emergencies only. If enforced by the CPUC, this provision will lead to RDRR resources being triggered sooner than they were intended to be, rendering them unavailable during actual emergencies. Second, D.23-06-029 eliminates the Transmission Load Factor (TLF) Adder due to an “administrative burden” to Energy Division. Removing this Adder will put DR at a competitive disadvantage to generation resources, which are not required to account for their transmission line losses when selling capacity in the CAISO market. Third, D.23-06-029 eliminates the Planning Reserve Margin (PRM) Adder, which accounts for the ability of Supply-Side DR load reductions to lower risk from forced outages and load forecast error. This puts Supply-Side DR at a competitive disadvantage to Load-Modifying DR, which implicitly includes this Adder by reducing the amount of capacity a load-serving entity needs to procure against their RA requirement. Fourth, D.23-06-029 expands proxy DR to increase the frequency that DR providers are required to be available, potentially in conflict with the current guardrails meant to prevent customer fatigue. Fifth, D.23-06-029 derates third-party DR qualifying capacity (QC) values based on test results outside of the current QC valuation process, which would exacerbate the unequal treatment of third-party DR programs compared to the IOU DR programs.
In the Application for Rehearing, the Joint Parties argued that the CPUC committed legal error in imposing the provisions described above. D.23-06-029 errs by imposing DR requirements that are contrary to law. In addition, D.23-06-029 errs in failing to proceed in the manner required by CPUC decisions governing the treatment of DR resources. D.23-06-029 also errs in failing to proceed in the manner of law because its negative treatment of DR is contrary to law, including California’s Loading Order, California legislation, the California Energy Commission’s recently adopted statewide 7,000 MW Load Shift Goal, as well as federal legislation and FERC directives. Furthermore, D.23-06-029’s elimination of RDRR as an emergency resource, the TLF and PRM Adders, expansion of DR availability, and derating of DR QC are not supported by its Findings of Facts or Conclusions of Law. By imposing several provisions in D.23-06-029, the CPUC abused its discretion and violated statutory and constitutional rights of due process. The Joint Parties requested Oral Argument.
In their Motion for Partial Stay, the Joint Parties argued that the CPUC must stay the erroneous Ordering Paragraphs and directives in D.23-06-029 pending resolution of the Joint Parties’ timely Application for Rehearing of those matters to cease and prevent serious and irreparable harm to DR customers, DR providers, and DR MWh available to ensure grid reliability. The Joint Parties contended that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their Application for Rehearing of D.23-06-029 due to the legal errors contained in D.23-06-029.
Responses to the Application for Rehearing and Motion for Partial Stay were due on August 20.
Demand Flexibility (R.22-07-005)
As previously reported, the November 2 Phase 1 Scoping Memo and Ruling organizes this proceeding into two tracks: Track A will establish an income-graduated fixed charge (IGFC) for residential rates for all investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in accordance with Assembly Bill (AB) 205, including small and multi-jurisdictional electric utilities. Track B will streamline and expedite the adoption of demand flexibility rates for large IOUs. Most of the activity in this proceeding since the last Quarterly Report has involved Track A, and CEERT plans to be more involved in Track B.
Track A Activities
On March 23, ALJ Wang issued a Ruling stating that Track A concurrent opening testimony due on
April 7 shall conform with the attached additional guidance for Track A Proposals. This additional guidance addresses how to use and present the results of the spreadsheet tool in testimony, and requirements specific to proposals for small and multijurisdictional utilities. Several parties submitted Track A Testimony on April 7 and Reply Testimony on June 2.
On April 14, the CPUC issued D.23-04-008, which authorizes up to $425,000 for third-party consultant services to the CPUC’s Energy Division relating to income-graduated fixed charge proposals in Track A. This proceeding remains open to address Phase 1 issues.
On June 19, ALJ Wang issued a Ruling requesting comments on the implementation pathway for Income-Graduated Fixed Charges (IGFCs). On July 18, ALJ Wang issued a Ruling Granting PG&E’s and SCE’s Joint Motion for Extension of Track A Deadlines. Opening Comments on the Ruling were due on July 31 and Reply Comments are due on August 21. A Joint Case Management Statement was due on August 11, and a Meet and Confer was scheduled for early August.
On July 13, CEERT, the California Efficiency + Demand Management Council, California Solar & Storage Association, Clean Coalition, Solar Energy Industries Association, and Utility Consumers’ Action Network (the Joint Parties) submitted a Joint Motion for the CPUC to hold Public Participation Hearings in Phase 1, Track A, which pertains to IGFCs, and to do so before the issuance of any Proposed Decision in that track. The Public Participation Hearings will take public comment on the adoption of an IGFC for utility residential customers, including all proposals on that issue that have been made to date in Track A. Responses to the Motion were submitted on July 28.
Track B Activities
On May 3, the CPUC issued D.23-04-040, which adopts updated Electric Rate Design Principles for the assessment of the rate design proposals of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E). The Decision also adopts new Demand Flexibility Design Principles to guide the development of demand flexibility tariffs, systems, processes, and customer experiences at PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E.
Demand Response (DR) Applications (A.22-05-002, et al.)
On January 27, Assigned Commissioner John Reynolds issued a Ruling Directing Response to Questions and Energy Division Staff Proposals Related to Application 22-05-002 Phase II Issues. Opening Comments were submitted on April 21 and Reply Comments on May 5.
On March 3, ALJ Toy issued a Ruling that seeks party comment on DR Auction Mechanism (DRAM) questions and provides parties with an updated publicly available version of the DRAM Evaluation Report. Questions 1A-1B of the Ruling ask how best to allow parties to request additional information on the Updated Nexant Report, and questions 2A-2H ask about the Updated Nexant Report itself. Opening Comments on Questions 1A-1B were submitted on March 30 and Reply Comments on April 14; Opening Comments on Questions 2A-2H were submitted on May 31.
On March 30, ALJ Toy issued a Ruling seeking comment on whether certain anonymized load shape data files associated with clusters of customers from the Phase 4 DR potential study are sufficiently aggregated to meet customer data confidentiality standards and can be safely released to the public accompanied by the modeling code, in the form of a report that represents findings based on the data, as well as in the form of data files. Opening Comments were submitted on April 28 and Reply Comments on May 19. Attachment 1 to the Ruling provides additional information on the Phase 4 DR potential study data.
Opening Phase II Testimony was submitted on April 21 and Rebuttal Testimony on May 12.
On May 10, ALJ Jungreis issued a Ruling Granting Limited Access to DRAM Report Data and Altering Proceeding Schedule. This ruling sets forth provisions for the review by DRAM sellers and non-market participants of confidential versions of the Nexant Report and market-sensitive data that went into the DRAM evaluation. In addition, DRAM Opening Testimony was submitted on June 14 and Rebuttal Testimony on July 21.
On June 8, ALJ Toy issued a Ruling Cancelling Evidentiary Hearings on Phase II (non- DRAM) issues that were scheduled for June 14 and 15. On June 16, ALJ Toy issued a Ruling directing parties to file a Joint Motion for Admission of Evidence by June 23. Said Motion was filed and on June 28, ALJ Toy issued a Ruling Admitting Testimony and Exhibits into the Record and Extending Due Dates for Opening and Reply Briefs on Phase II DR Issues. Phase II Opening Briefs were submitted on July 14 and Reply Briefs on August 11.
Customer DER (R.22-11-013)
On May 31, Commissioner Darcie Houck issued a Scoping Memo and Ruling. The proceeding has two phases. Phase One focuses on issues related to cost-effectiveness of customer distributed energy resources (DER) programs, and has two tracks. Track One examines how to make cost-effectiveness assessments more accurate and consistent across DER programs. Track Two examines the rules and requirements to improve data access to facilitate adoption, evaluation, and utilization of DERs by customers and other entities, and to improve DER integration with the grid. Phase Two focuses on developing equipment performance standards.
On July 10, ALJ Lau issued a Ruling asking for party comments on the CPUC request to authorize an additional $250,000 in reimbursable funds for the 2024 Avoided Cots Calculator (ACC) Update Process. Opening Comments on the Ruling were submitted on July 17 and Reply Comments on July 21.
On July 17, ALJ Lau issued a Ruling Requesting Party Comments on the Scope of Work for Consultant and the Data Working Group. The CPUC will create a Data Working Group to support work needed to address the issues in Phase One, Track Two of this proceeding. Appendix A to the Ruling is the Draft Consultant Scope of Work. Parties are asked to provide comments on the draft scope of work for the consultant, the scope of work for the Data Working Group, and formation of the Data Working Group (e.g., membership). Comments on this Ruling were due on August 11.
CPUC Gas System and Grid Initiatives
Aliso Canyon (I.17-02-002)
On April 19, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) submitted a Petition for Modification of D.21-11-008, which is the Decision Setting Interim Range of Aliso Canyon Storage Capacity at Zero to 41.16 Billion Cubic Feet. In the Petition for Modification, SoCalGas and SDG&E request that the maximum allowable inventory established in D.21-11-008 should be increased in advance of the 2023 summer season and the 2023-2024 winter season. Responses to the Petition for Modification were submitted on May 1.
On May 5, ALJ Zhang issued a Ruling on the Petition for Modification ordering SoCalGas and SDG&E to supplement the Petition on May 15. Concurrent Replies to Responses were submitted on May 29.
On June 30, ALJ Zhang issued a Ruling that set a Status Conference for July 26. Prior to the Status Conference, numerous parties submitted a Joint Status Conference Statement and Issam Najm submitted a separate Status Conference Statement. It appears that none of the parties, except for Protect Our Communities Foundation (PCF), think that evidentiary hearings are necessary.
On July 28, ALJ Zhang issued a Proposed Decision Granting in Part and Denying in Part the Joint Petition for Modification. The Decision does not adopt verbatim the requested changes made by SoCalGas and SDG&E, but the Commission modifies D.21-11-008 to reflect the increase of the interim storage limit of working gas at Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility to 68.6 billion cubic feet. Opening Comments were due on August 17 and Reply Comments on August 22.
Gas Reliability and System Planning (R.20-01-007)
On April 11, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) submitted a Motion Requesting Technical Workshop that would address General Order 177 implementation. On April 26, several parties submitted Responses.
On June 7, ALJ Fogel issued a Ruling Directing SoCalGas, SDG&E and PG&E to File Amended 2023 Gas Investment Annual Reports. On June 26, ALJ Fogel issued a Ruling Denying Environmental Defense Fund’s Motion Requesting a Technical Workshop without Prejudice, Providing Guidance on the Annual Report Workshop Required in D.22-12-021, and Requiring Filings Prior to Workshop. On June 27, PG&E submitted a Response to the June 7 Ruling.
On August 1, Assigned Commissioner Douglas issued a Phase 2 Scoping Memo and Ruling. Phase 2 issues include transmission pipelines and natural gas storage fields.
On April 14, the CPUC issued D.23-04-034. Pursuant to Ordering Paragraphs 6 and 7 of D.21-01-018, this decision adopts implementation rules for the previously authorized Microgrid Incentive Program for PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE. The Microgrid Incentive Program targets placement of community microgrids in disadvantaged vulnerable communities (DVCs) to support populations impacted by grid outages. The Program seeks to advance microgrid resiliency technology and system benefits of microgrids equitably across DVCs, and to inform future regulatory resiliency action to the benefit of all ratepayers.
On July 18, Assigned Commissioner Shiroma issued a Scoping Memo and Ruling that pertains to Track 5 (Microgrid Multi-Property Tariff (MMPT)).
Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) (R.20-05-012)
On July 12, ALJ Atamturk issued a Ruling seeking comments from parties to supplement the proceeding record on the funding authorized by AB 209 and improving outcomes for low-income customers under SGIP. Opening Comments were submitted on August 1 and Reply Comments on August 11.
On July 12, Assigned Commissioner Douglass issued a Ruling seeking comments from parties to supplement the proceeding record on improving outcomes for low-income customers under the SGIP and expanding the SGIP Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) Program to make a larger number of customers eligible. Opening Comments were submitted on August 1 and Reply Comments on August 11.
Grid for High Distributed Energy Resource (DER) (R.21-06-017)
On April 6, ALJs Hymes and Lakhanpal issued a Ruling Directing Responses to Questions on Track 1 Phase 1. Attachment 1 to the Ruling sets forth questions to parties about Distribution Planning Process (DPP) Improvements. Opening Comments were submitted on May 22 and Reply Comments on June 5.
On May 9, ALJs Lakhanpal and Hymes issued a Ruling that set a workshop for May 17 to present findings and recommendations of Part 1 of the Electrification Impacts Study. The Ruling enters the Part 1 Study and the Research Plan of the Electrification Impacts Study into the record of this proceeding. On June 30, ALJs Hymes and Lakhanpal granted the utilities’ second request for extension of time to comment on this Ruling, and the utilities then submitted responses to the first set of questions on the Part 1 Study on July 14. Responses from all parties and the utilities to the second set of questions were submitted on July 28 and Replies on August 7.
On May 19, ALJ Hymes issued a Ruling that considers proposed reforms to three solicitation frameworks for the 2023 cycle: the Distribution Investment Deferral Framework (DIDF) Process, the Partnership Pilot, and the Standard-Offer-Contract (SOC) Pilot. Reforms have been proposed by the Independent Professional Engineer, Independent Evaluators, and PG&E, SDG&E and SCE. While this Ruling sets forth only four of the 31 recommendations, a majority of the remaining proposed reforms will either be considered in an upcoming decision in this proceeding looking at Track 1 Phase 1 issues, near-term actions on the Distribution Planning Process and Data Improvements, or a later DIDF cycle, i.e., 2024. Attachment B contains the combined 2022 Independent Evaluator Reports.
On June 9, ALJ Hymes issued a Ruling that sets a deadline of June 19 for parties to submit a data request on the Electrification Impacts Study Ruling.
On June 13, ALJ Hymes issued a Ruling Correcting Distribution Planning Advisory Group Schedule for 2023-2024 Distribution Investment Deferral Framework Cycle, appended to the Ruling as Attachment A.
Other CPUC Proceedings CEERT Continues to Track
As noted in previous Quarterly Reports, CEERT is either a party to or on the service list for numerous CPUC proceedings that have required or could require CEERT participation, and we continue to track them in anticipation of participating now or in the future. Information on events in these proceedings is provided in the Schedule of Upcoming Events on pages 1 – 2 of this Report.
Because these proceedings were not the focus of CEERT’s efforts in April – July of 2023, only limited information about them is provided here, but is available from CEERT’s regulatory counsel, Megan Myers (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sara Myers at (email@example.com.) Please do not hesitate to contact them for information on any of the following proceedings as to status or next steps.
Net Energy Metering (NEM) (R.20-08-020)
On April 3, ALJ Hymes issued a Ruling Seeking Comments on Assembly Bill 2143, which adds two new sections (Section 769.2 and Section 913.13) to the Public Utilities Code. Together, these two new sections require: 1) customer-sited renewable electrical generation facilities, and any associated battery storage, that enroll in tariffs designed for these projects (e.g., net energy metering or net billing tariffs) provide, at a minimum, prevailing wages to all construction workers and apprentices, with certain exemptions; 2) the Commission direct each large electrical corporation to include these requirements in any standard contract or tariff offered pursuant to Pub. Util. Code Section 2827 or Section 2827.1; and 3) the Commission submit an annual report to the legislature and publish the report on the Commission website. The Ruling invites parties to file comments responding to questions about the implementation of AB 2143. Opening Comments were submitted on April 24 and Reply Comments on May 4.
On June 29, the CPUC issued D.23-06-056, an Order Denying Rehearing of Decision 22-12-056, which is the Decision Revising Net Energy Metering Tariff and Subtariffs. On January 17, Californians for Renewable Energy, Inc. (CARE) and Michael E. Boyd submitted an Application for Rehearing of D.22-12-056, alleging that the Decision violates the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and is part of a conspiracy to violate antitrust laws, the Cartwright Act and the Sherman Act. On January 18, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Protect Our Communities Foundation, and the Environmental Working Group (the Joint Parties) submitted an Application for Rehearing of D.22-12-056 and contended that: (1) the Decision violates the statutory mandate for any successor tariff to ensure the continued growth of distributed generation in California, (2) the Decision violates the statutory mandate for any successor tariff to include specific alternatives designed for growth among residential customers in disadvantaged communities, (3) the CPUC commits legal error by failing to account for the benefits and costs of behind-the-meter generation, (4) the Decision’s deferral of numerous significant considerations to other proceedings makes an accurate accounting of the successor tariff impossible, and (5) the CPUC commits legal error in making major changes to the tariff for commercial and industrial customers without record basis.
D.23-06-056 denies both Applications for Rehearing and contends that legal error has not been shown. D.23-06-056 finds that the Decision did not violate section 2827.1’s mandate that “customer-sited renewable distributed generation continues to grow sustainably.” The CPUC contends that the Decision properly accounts for the benefits and costs of behind-the-meter generation and did not violate the statutory mandate for any successor tariff to include specific alternatives designed for growth in disadvantaged communities. D.23-06-056 states that the Decision’s changes to the nonresidential tariff do not lack record support and are otherwise lawful. D.23-06-056 also finds that the Decision does not violate PURPA and does not violate the Sherman Act or the Cartwright Act.
Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) (R.18-07-003)
On May 5, Assigned Commissioner John Reynolds and Assigned ALJ Atamturk issued a Ruling Identifying Issues and Schedule of Review for 2023 Renewables Portfolio Standard Procurement Plans.
On June 15, ALJ Atamturk issued a Proposed Decision Granting the Petition to Modify D.19-09-043, which was filed by PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E. The Joint IOUs are authorized to discontinue the annual determination of the Effective Load Carrying Capability values in R.18-07-003 (RPS) and instead use the results of the methods undertaken in R.20-05-003 (IRP), or its successor proceeding.
Parties submitted their 2023 RPS Plans on July 17.
Diablo Canyon (R.23-01-007)
On April 20, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling that invites parties to submit comments served as testimony on questions of statutory interpretation and policy that are being considered in Phase 1: Track 2 of this proceeding, and incorporates certain reports into the record.
On April 28, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling inviting parties to submit comments on the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee (DCISC) funding issues being considered in Phase 1: Track 1. Comments were submitted on May 22 and Reply Comments on May 31.
On May 3, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling Granting an Extension Request by Coalition of California Utility Employees (CUE). The remaining schedule in the Ruling is reflected in the calendar above. On May 17, 2023, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling setting the date of Public Participation Hearings for July 25.
Parties submitted Phase 1: Track 2 proposals on June 9; Comments on Phase 1: Track 2 on June 30; and Rebuttal Testimony on July 28. On June 2, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling Incorporating the Joint Agency Reliability Planning Assessment into the Record, and Modifying the Schedule for Consideration of the Reliability Planning Assessment.
On June 26, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling Granting, in Part, and Denying, in Part, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace’s Motion to Compel. PG&E was directed to provide responses to Questions 1-8, 11, and 27-28 in the Motion as they became available, with a deadline of July 3 to produce all responses. All other requests for responses in the Motion are denied or deemed moot. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace was allowed to serve supplemental testimony addressing PG&E’s responses by July 10.
On June 30, ALJ Seybert issued a Ruling Incorporating Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee Reports into the Record of the Proceeding. PG&E shall, as applicable, serve cost estimates as testimony for any new or revised recommendations contained in the Reports by July 31 and parties could submit comments served as testimony on any new or revised recommendations in the Reports by August 8.
On July 5, ALJ Seybert issued a Proposed Decision (PD) that increases the compensation provided to members of the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee and makes certain updates to the annual advice letter process used to review and update DCISC member compensation. In addition, the PD directs PG&E to track the DCISC’s 2023-2024 operational costs for assessing the potential for extended operations at Diablo Canyon in the Diablo Canyon Transition and Relicensing Memorandum Account. The PD orders that each member of the DCISC shall receive an hourly fee of $270 for attendance at DCISC meetings, an hourly fee of $270 for DCISC work performed outside of DCISC meetings in excess of 40 hour per year, and reimbursement of expenses in performance of DCISC work. Opening Comments were submitted on July 25 and Reply Comments on July 31. The PD was on the Agenda for the August 10 CPUC Business Meeting.
Energy Efficiency (EE) (R.13-11-005)
On April 7, the CPUC issued D.23-04-009, which grants the motion of Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN), on behalf of the California Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee (CAEECC), requesting authorization for the energy efficiency program administrators to use unspent and uncommitted energy efficiency funds up to $185,000 to fund a compensation pilot recommended in the Final Report of the CAEECC Compensation Task Force.
On April 17, ALJ Kao issued a Ruling that provides notice and invites comments on a draft 2023 Potential and Goals Study that will inform the CPUC adoption of energy efficiency goals for 2024 and beyond. Attachment 1 to the Ruling is the 2023 Energy Efficiency Potential and Goals Study – Public Draft. Opening Comments were submitted on May 8 and Reply Comments on May 18.
On April 25, ALJ Fitch issued a Ruling that grants CPUC Energy Division Staff the authority to adjust the timing of the annual First Quarter program claims deadline, as needed, to better coordinate the Annual Report and data sharing for statewide programs.
On May 11, Assigned Commissioner Shiroma and Assigned ALJs Fitch and Kao issued an Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling. Remaining issues in this proceeding are the biennial update to the energy efficiency potential and goals, CAEECC compensation issues, potential policy modifications for natural gas energy efficiency measures, policy or procedural matters arising during oversight of the 2024-2027 portfolios, and other issues.
On July 5, ALJ Kao issued a Proposed Decision (PD) that adopts total system benefit and energy savings goals for ratepayer-funded energy efficiency portfolios for 2024-2035. Attached to the PD is the 2023 Energy Efficiency Potential and Goals Study. Opening Comments were submitted on July 25 and Reply Comments on July 31. The PD was on the Agenda for the August 10 CPUC Business Meeting.
On July 26, ALJ Fitch issued a Ruling that denies the Joint Motion of SoCalGas, SDG&E and SCE to deviate from confidentiality requirements for certain voluminous data request submissions. Comments are sought from parties about specific categories of data and how they should be treated in the context of the CPUC’s evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) activities for energy efficiency programs. Opening Comments were due on August 25 and Reply Comments on September 8.
Energy Efficiency Business Plans (A.22-02-005, et al.)
On April 6, the CPUC issued D.23-04-035, a Decision Addressing Codes and Standards Subprograms and Budgets and Staff Proposal on Reducing Ratepayer-Funded Incentives for Gas Energy Efficiency Measures. This decision: (1) establishes a framework that defines and allows continued funding of “exempt measures” that result in gas savings but do not burn gas; (2) establishes a means to determine whether a given measure is or is not cost-effective; and (3) provides for working groups to examine and recommend technical guidance for identifying a viable electric alternative for a given gas measure, and further criteria for custom projects.
Beginning in program year 2024, ratepayer-funded incentives will no longer be authorized for non-exempt, non-cost-effective gas measures for new construction projects with no existing gas line, and for new construction projects with an existing gas line if gas usage will materially increase. This policy will apply to residential and commercial projects in the resource acquisition and market support segments of energy efficiency program administrators’ portfolios. The decision also provides guidance for Codes and Standards subprograms and budgets, but does not address program administrators’ business plan/application proposals on phasing out natural gas incentives (though it does set a floor for all program administrators) or fuel substitution savings targets. The proceeding remains open for consideration of energy efficiency portfolios and business plans beginning in 2024.
On July 3, the CPUC issued D.23-06-055, which addresses the applications for energy efficiency portfolios during 2024-2027 and the business plans for 2024-2031 from nine portfolio administrators. The Decision authorizes a total budget of $4.3 billion over the four-year period beginning in 2024, with benefits to customers of at least $3.5 billion during the same period. The Decision also adopts a forecasted budget of an additional $4.6 billion in the period 2028-2031. These adopted budgets and forecasts represent a significant investment in the energy efficiency resource as a foundational element of the CPUC’s energy, environmental, and social justice policies. The Decision finds that all of the portfolio administrators have met the CPUC’s requirements for forecast cost-effectiveness and total system benefits.
The Decision makes adjustments to the allocation of costs for statewide programs to account for changes in the mix of programs and fuels (electricity and natural gas), and makes some changes to the statewide portfolio to eliminate some obsolete programs and introduce new ones. The Bay Area Regional Energy Network is also approved as the first non-utility administrator of a statewide program.
The Decision approves a new regional energy network called Rural REN, to deliver energy efficiency benefits to underserved customers and communities in the rural areas across California in four different regions. The Decision includes a number of elements for the equity and market support segments of the energy efficiency portfolios, including better defining underserved and hard-to-reach customers and communities, as well as adopting success indicators and a process for identifying metrics and goals for the indicators to be measured.
The Decision also includes several measures to improve portfolio oversight, including authorizing supplemental reimbursable funding to CPUC staff for technical assistance. Guidance is also provided for continued coordination between portfolio administrators. The Decision includes guidance for continued emphasis on the market access approach, the use of normalized metered energy consumption methods for estimating energy savings, and the integration into the portfolios of demand-side management opportunities beyond energy efficiency.
This proceeding is closed. Any additional or ongoing energy efficiency policy issues related to the delivery of the portfolios approved in this decision will be addressed in the energy efficiency proceeding, Rulemaking 13-11-005.
Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) (R.17-06-026)
On June 8, the CPUC issued D.23-06-006 on Greenhouse Gas-Free Resources, Long-Term Renewable Transactions, Energy Index Calculations, and Energy Service Providers’ Data Access. The Decision modifies the calculation of the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) by (a) establishing a new market price benchmark and an allocation mechanism to address the “greenhouse gas-free” incremental value of large hydroelectric energy resources above fossil fuel resources, and (b) revising the calculation of the Energy Index market price benchmark to improve accuracy and transparency. The Decision declines to modify the calculation of the RPS market price benchmark or modify access to confidential data for energy service providers. This proceeding is closed.
On April 10, ALJ Wang issued a Ruling on Next Steps for the Arrearage Management (AMP) Program, asking parties to respond to questions on whether to consider AMP issues in this rulemaking or open a new proceeding ,and whether to extend the AMP program beyond June 11, 2024. Opening Comments were submitted on April 26 and Reply Comments on May 4.
On July 19, Commissioner Houck issued a Proposed Decision that directs PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and SoCalGas to offer 24-month payment plans to residential customers until October 1, 2026, extends the Arrearage Management Payment Plan program to October 1, 2026, and authorizes a study of the eligible populations for the Medical Baseline program in the utilities’ service territories. The Commission will continue to consider Arrearage Management Payment Plan program issues in Phase 2. This proceeding remains open. Opening Comments were due on August 8 and Reply Comments on August 14.
Building Decarbonization (R,19-01-011)
On July 26, Assigned Commissioner Houck issued an Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling that sets forth the scope and schedule for Phase 3B of this proceeding, which will consider the reasonableness of modifying or ending electric line extension allowances, refunds, and discounts for “mixed-fuel” new construction. Appendix A is a Staff Proposal on subsidies for electric line extensions in mixed-fuel new construction, and Appendix B sets forth a set of questions on the Staff Proposal. Responses to the Appendix B questions were due on August 15 and Reply Comments on August 25.
On May 19, Assigned Commissioner Houck issued the Sixth Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling. Phase 3 will conclude with a 2023 Electric Rates and Costs En Banc Meeting, the third in a series. Between May and July, the 2023 SB 695 Report and 2021/2022 Affordability Report will be distributed, and Party Comments on the Affordability Report and Quarterly Revenue Reports are due in August. The Phase 3 Proposed Decision will be issued in Fall 2023.
Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) (R.18-07-017)
On July 7, the CPUC issued D.23-06-026, which does not make changes to the avoided cost pricing options available to a Qualifying Facility of 20 MW or less seeking to sell electricity and/or capacity pursuant to PURPA. Since that was the only outstanding issue, the Decision closes the proceeding.
Additional proceedings tracked, but where there has been little or no activity since our last Quarterly Report, or the proceeding has been closed:
- 22-03-006: PG&E Clean Energy Optimization Pilot
- 17-07-007 (Improvements to Rule 21)
- 18-12-006 Transportation Electrification Framework
Associate Regulatory Attorney