CPX Legislation Update for May 16, 2019

Note: The timing of this update coincides with committee meetings where several of the bills we are tracking will be heard. Therefore, this update will be revised on Friday, May 17.

We are monitoring about 28 energy and/or climate-related bills, not all of which directly impact Community Choice Energy. This is a very active and unusual session due to the catastrophic wildfires and the implications for the delivery utilities that have been found responsible in some instances. On April 12, Governor Newsom’s “Strike Force” released “Wildfires and Climate Change: California’s Energy Future” that challenged the Legislature to revise state laws on utilities’ wildfire liabilities, presenting lawmakers with a series of potentially controversial strategies to shield electric companies from growing costs fueled by the global climate crisis.

Bills we oppose:

AB 56 (Garcia) – Read our Letter of Opposition. This one is all about central procurement. As currently amended, the bill would authorize the CPUC to require an existing agency, the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), to undertake procurement of electricity to meet the State’s climate, clean energy, and reliability goals that are not satisfied by load-serving entities (LSEs). CCAs are working with the bill author to try to amend it to be only procurement for “residual” resources, meaning, procurement only when a CCA is unable to meet its procurement obligations. CalCCA and CCAs are negotiating. The bill is in Asm Approps and is being heard today, May 16.

AB 1584 (Quirk) This bill would expand CPUC authority over CCAs. It would allow the CPUC to set obligations for renewable energy “integration” and potentially for load management and demand response. It would require the CPUC to audit CCA compliance and allow the CPUC to buy any kind of resource it deems necessary to meet any un-procured resources and assign those costs to a CCA. This bill could effectively transfer significant planning and procurement rights from CCAs to the CPUC because all resources have some impact on renewable integration, which is a broad term meaning ensuring system reliability while increasing the percentage of energy from renewable sources. The bill is in Asm Approps and is being heard today, May 16.

SB 386 (Caballero) – Read our Letter of Opposition. This bill would allow Turlock, Modesto, and Merced Irrigation Districts to count their large hydro assets (dams) toward their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligations. This would significantly impact progress with renewables. These Irrigation Districts will already be able to count their dams as carbon-free pursuant to state policy on decarbonization and mechanisms are in place to protect low-income communities. The bill has passed out of the Assembly and is in the Senate.

SB 155 (Bradford) – This bill expands CPUC’s authority over CCA procurement and Integrated Resource Plans. It was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 13, and was sent to the full Senate for a second reading.

Key Community Choice Energy-related bills to watch:

SB 350 (Hertzberg) – This bill would “authorize the CPUC to consider a multiyear centralized resource adequacy mechanism,” meaning, a central buyer, which would encroach on CCA statutory authority on procurement autonomy. The bill passed out of the Senate and is now in the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee.

SB-520 (Hertzberg) – This bill empowers the CPUC to determine what load serving entity should serve as the provider of last resort (POLR), based on certain criteria, as outlined. Currently IOUs serve as the provider of last resort. The bill is in the Senate Appropriations Committee with a hearing date set for today, May 16.

SB 676 (Bradford) – Another bill that would expand CPUC authority over CCAs. This bill would empower the CPUC to establish targets for electric vehicle grid integration and would grant the CPUC authority over CCA electric vehicle grid reliability activities, removing CCA authority over their EV programs. The general concept of promoting smart EV charging is good, but removing CCA control would both slow down initiation and  implementation of CCA-driven EV programs and almost certainly add considerable ratepayer costs. The bill was heard in Senate Appropriations on May 13 and was sent to the Senate floor for a second reading, where the action happens, or not.

SB 774 (Stern) – This bill would require IOUs to collaborate with the the State’s Office of Emergency of Services (OES) and others to identify where back-up electricity sources may provide increased electrical distribution grid resiliency and would allow the IOUs to file applications with the CPUC to invest in, and deploy, microgrids to increase resiliency. As currently written, the bill would exclude all except IOUs from participating in microgrid development. Community Choice advocates are working with the bill author to amend the bill to include CCAs as participants.

Bills we support:

SB 288 (Wiener) “Solar Bill of Rights” – Read our Support Letter. If enacted as written, this bill will require a number of provisions to support the deployment of customer-sited solar and other distributed energy resources, specifically energy storage systems,. The bill will require electric utilities to establish standardized processes to interconnect to the electric grid, and require new rate designs and compensation to sell stored energy to the grid. SB 288 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee today, May 16. For the latest visit the bill sponsor Solar Rights Alliance’s Solar Bill of Rights page.

SB 246 (Wieckowski) – Read our Support Letter. – This bill, if enacted as written, will impose an oil and gas severance tax of upon any operator for the privilege of extracting oil or fossil gas from the earth or water in California.

AB 684 (Levine) – Read our Support Letter. – Rules proposed in this bill would ensure that the infrastructure necessary for EV charging in multi-family dwellings is codified through multi-family building standards.

SB 255 (Bradford) – A Bradford CCA bill to support? SB 255 would require each CCA with gross annual revenues exceeding $1,000,000 to annually submit a plan to the CPUC for increasing procurement from small, local, and diverse business enterprises in all categories, including, but not limited to, renewable energy, energy storage system, and smart grid projects. The bill would also require CCAs to submit an annual report to the CPUC regarding their procurement from women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprises. (Note: Senator Steven Bradford is well-known among the Community Choice community as the author of 2014’s AB 2145, a bill that would have destroyed Community Choice if it had prevailed. It died in the Senate.)

For the complete list of bills we are monitoring click HERE.  Next CPX legislation update will be on Thursday, May 30.


2 replies
  1. Jan Dietrick
    Jan Dietrick says:

    Hi, Do you have any sign that Sen Stern will change to open ownership of microgrids? A Bay Area advocate has arranged for a meeting with someone in Sacto for Tuesday am and for me to be in the district office with one or two Clean Power Alliance Community Advisory Committee members. Any insight you can share would be helpful We feel it needs to be watched so closely since it passed appropriations with the unacceptable provision of only allowing IOUs to own microgrids.

    • Woody Hastings
      Woody Hastings says:

      Hi Jan, yes, we have been assured that there is an intention to make the needed amendments on the Assembly side to remove the “IOUs only” language.And we are remaining vigilant.


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