CPX Legislative Update – July 11 2019

Updated 7/11/19

Legislative Calendar Check: Tomorrow, July 12 is the last day for policy committees to meet and vote on bills. Summer Recess begins at the end of the day and the legislature reconvenes on Monday, August 12.

In total we are monitoring about 29 energy and/or climate-related bills, not all of which directly impact Community Choice Energy. Below is a selection of highlighted bills with a brief summary, The Center’s position, if any, and the status of the bill.

Bills we oppose:

AB 1054 (Holden, Mayes, Burke) – [Late-breaking UPDATE: AB 1054 passed out of the Assembly today, July 11. It is now off to the Governor’s desk]  This “urgency” bill is being fast-tracked through the legislature. By the time you read this it may already be a done deal. Clearly a move to avoid public scrutiny. For that reason alone this bill should be strongly opposed. The problems addressed in the bill have been with us since the session started in January but because Wall Street barked at regulators and the legislature about downgrading the utilities, all of a sudden we have an urgency bill that “must” be rammed through with virtually no public scrutiny by Friday July 12. This is shameful. And the proponents disingenuously claim that “we have been working on this for a long time.” The issue yes, this bill in print? Less than two weeks. On substance, why a “no” recommendation on this bill? In addition to the unnecessary rush, the bill should also be opposed on policy grounds.The bill is cloaked in a wildfire response bill, with wildfire survivors front & center in the proponents statements. But the bill is really all about many billions of dollars coming from electricity bill-payers to shore up the crumbling Investor-Owned utilities in the State. In addition to encumbering ratepayers with nonbypassable charges for decades to come, and no safeguard against rate increases, the bill includes a clause that is is completely outside of any wildfire concern, and it impacts Community Choice energy. It is a clause that empowers the CPUC to halt sales of IOU assets to other load serving entities and public entities. This could hobble emerging CCAs that may benefit by taking on assets that the IOUs no longer want or need. Status: AB 1054 was voted out of the Assembly on July 11.

AB 1584 (Quirk) – This bill impinges on Community Choice statutory procurement authority. 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 would 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. Status: The bill was amended in the Senate Energy Committee on July 2 and was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. No hearing date is set at this time.

SB 155 (Bradford) – This bill expands CPUC’s authority over CCA procurement and Integrated Resource Plans. Read the Center’s updated July Letter of Opposition. Status: SB 155 is currently double-referred to the Assembly Utilities and the Natural Resources Committees. SB 155 was voted out of the Asm Natural Resources Committee on July 8 and was referred to the Asm Committee on Appropriations with no hearing date set as of this update.

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 Vehicle-to-Grid integration 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. Status: SB 676 was voted out of the Asm Communications and Conveyance on July 10 and has been re-referred to the Asm Appropriations 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. Currently IOUs serve as the provider of last resort. Status: SB 520 passed out of the Asm Energy Committee and will next be heard on the Assembly Floor.

Bills we support:

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. Status: AB 684 was voted out of the Senate Housing Committee on July 2. It has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee with no hearing date set as of this update.

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. Status: This is a bill that requires a supermajority vote, meaning that two thirds of the legislature must approve it. Such bills are not encumbered by the usual committee process. It can be brought to committee/s or full Senate at any time at the author’s discretion.

Bills that either became two-year bills, were gutted and amended, or died:

AB 56 (Garcia) This bill would have empowered the CPUC to order energy procurement based on shortcomings in the Integrated Resource Plan submitted by Investor Owned Utilities, Direct Access providers, and CCAs.  The bill would have allowed the CPUC to require procurement on any perceived deficiency that may be 10 to 12 years out in the future. This makes no sense, given that so much lead time would allow a CCA to address any potential problem. Read the Center’s updated July Letter of Opposition. Status: AB 56 failed to pass out of the Senate Energy Committee at the July 10 hearing.

AB 1362 (O’Donnell) – This bill as originally written would have destroyed the utility “Code of Conduct” but was amended in May to a point of harmlessness.

SB 288 (Wiener) – The former “Solar Bill of Rights” is no more. The “SB 288” bill number is now a different subject altogether. Urge your representative to work with Senator Wiener to initiate a similar bill.

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. This bill was a tandem bill with AB 56 that failed to pass the Senate Energy Committee. Status: Senator Hertzberg pulled the bill from the file at the July 10 Assembly Energy Committee. It is now a tw0-year bill.

SB 386 (Caballero) – Two-year bill. 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 new 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 from any cost burdens. Status: On May 30 Senator Caballero announced that SB 386 would be a two-year bill. Expect the fight to continue in early 2020.

SB-772 (Bradford) – Two-year bill. Relates to procurement of long duration bulk energy storage. Concerns center on forcing the hand of CCA procurement. Status: On May 30 the bill was ordered to the inactive file on request of Senator Bradford.

SB 774 (Stern) – Two-year bill. SB 774 would require IOUs to collaborate with the State’s Office of Emergency of Services 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. Concerns focus on too much control being placed in the hands of the IOUs over microgrid development when other LSEs and stakeholders can and should play a role. Status: At the request of the author, SB 774 was placed in the inactive file on July 8.

For the complete list of bills we are monitoring click HERE.  Next CPX legislation update will be on Thursday, July 25.

 

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