Community Choice Policy
Legislative Session Results 2015/16
During the 2015/16 two-year California legislative session, which came to a close on August 31st, the Center for Climate Protection engaged on several important bills with climate and energy implications. Below is a run-down of some of them, and how they fared in the legislature. Note that at the time of this update, several of the bills, though passed by the legislature, remain to be signed by the governor. Highlights from this year include the allocation of cap and trade revenues, and substantial efforts to reform the CPUC.
Cap and Trade Revenue
In the closing hours of the session, the legislature and the Governor worked out a deal on how to spend about $900 million of the state’s current $1.4 billion in cap and trade revenue. This new agreement allocates $135 million for transit projects such as intercity and commuter rail systems, $133 million for the state’s main subsidy program for low and zero-emission vehicles, $80 million for a second subsidy for low-income Californians living in poorer parts of Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, and about $140 million for grants to low-income communities for home and business energy upgrades. Multiple bills enable this agreement.
SB 32 (Dependent upon passage of AB 197), Pavley. This bill continues and reinforces California’s GHG reduction efforts initiated with AB 32’s “Global Warming Solutions Act” of 2006, set to expire in 2020. Among other important provisions, SB 32 requires the Air Resources Board to ensure that statewide GHG emissions are reduced to at least 40% below the 1990 statewide GHG emissions level no later than December 31, 2030. Signed by the Governor 9/9/16.
SB 215, Leno. This bill is the final remaining effort on the part of the legislature to reform the CPUC. It is the bill that ultimately took the place of ACA 111 and AB 2903, and others with a similar aim. On the Governor’s desk.
SB 286, Hertzberg. Would have expanded Direct Access. Died in the Senate in early 2016.
SB 1030, McGuire. This bill extends the state’s authorization of the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority indefinitely. The existing authorization would have expired in 2019 and the RCPA would be forced to dissolve in that year.
SB 1383, Lara. Addresses short-lived climate pollutants such as methane from dairy and livestock, organic waste, and landfills. On the Governor’s desk.
AB 197, Garcia (Enables SB 32). Creates the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies and requires the Air Resources Board to prioritize direct emission reductions and consider social costs when adopting regulations to reduce GHG emissions beyond 2020. Signed by the Governor 9/9/16.
AB 1110, Ting. This bill aims to establish a program under which entities offering electric services in California disclose accurate, reliable, and simple-to-understand information on the sources of energy, and the associated emissions of GHGs, that are used to provide electric services. Thanks to your phone calls and emails, this bill was amended favorably – a stakeholder process will be carried out during 2017 to arrive at an agreed upon standard methodology for GHG accounting and reporting. On the Governor’s desk.
AB 2722, Leyva. This bill creates the Transformative Climate Communities Program, to be administered by the Strategic Growth Council. The program will fund the development and implementation of neighborhood-level transformative community climate plans that include multiple, coordinated greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects that provide local economic, environmental, and health benefits to disadvantaged communities. On the Governor’s desk.
Four energy storage-related bills were adopted, mostly affecting the large utilities.
AB 33, Quirk. Directs the CPUC to consider large-scale storage, specifically pumped hydro.
AB 2868, Gatto. Allows utilities to develop an additional 500 MW of storage capacity divided equally among the state’s three largest electrical corporations. This is in addition to what is already required under 2012’s AB 2514 storage mandate.
AB 1637, Low. Aims to double the Self-Generation Incentive Program, including provisions that incentivize energy storage.
AB 2861, Ting. Directs the CPUC to establish a resolution process for interconnection disputes, including for systems that have a storage component.
The 2017-2018 two-year session begins in January. See you in Sacramento in 2017!
Community Choice Law
The two pieces of legislation that make Community Choice possible in California are AB 117 (Migden, 2002) and SB 790 (Leno, 2011). AB 117 established Community Choice and SB 790 strengthened it by creating a “code of conduct” that the incumbent utilities must adhere to in their activities relative to Community Choice.
Community Choice law, Assembly Bill 117 (Migden), enacted in 2002, can be found in the California Public Utilities Code sections 331.1,381.1, 707 and Code Sections 360 through 380.5. Scroll down to code section 366.2, where the main body of information describing Community Choice can be found. Community Choice law was conceived as a way to salvage a good part of the deregulation experiment of the late 1990s and early 2000s, choice.
Keeping track of Community Choice-related Legislation
In any given legislative year there are bills that either directly relate to Community Choice, or may impact Community Choice in some way. Please let us know if you are aware of a bill that has bearing on Community Choice that should be highlighted here.
The official California legislation tracking website is: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ This is where you can find out about the status of any bill and subscribe to updates on specific bills.
Another excellent tool is the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker that can be used to find energy-related bills in California, other states, and at the federal level.
To find out who your California representatives are visit this handy site: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
Community Choice Regulatory Issues
Although Community Choice agencies are only “lightly” regulated buy the California Public Utilities Commission, there are substantial regulatory issues that frequently require attention from those defending and advocating for Community Choice.
Proceedings that have bearing on Community Choice include:
Community Choice Guidebook
Produced by the California Energy Commission in 2009 as the product of a multi-year Community Choice pilot project, the CEC-CCA Pilot Project Guidebook is full of useful information. Although it was produced in 2009, it contains fundamental information about Community Choice that does not change over time except by new legislation.
Information about Community Choice from:
Other important documents and links:
The following paper describes the “Power Charge Indifference Adjustment.” The PCIA is an “exit fee” imposed on Community Choice energy customers by utilities, intended to ensure that customers remaining with the utility do not experience any cost increases resulting from the departure of the Community Choice customers.
The following paper describes the program offered by PG&E in their service territory that offers a new choice about how their energy is procured.
Note: We have done our best to present the resources available, including organizations involved in advancing Community Choice, in a fair and objective manner. Please let us know if we left any information or any organization out or have misrepresented your organization in any way.