Community Choice Energy Legislation
Check back frequently for updates.
Note: we will be on Summer vacation for most of June. There will be no update on June 13. Our next CPX legislation update will be on June 27.
The key highlighted bill remains AB 56, which would erode CCA procurement authority. See below. Other than that, 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. CCA advocates should read it as it mentions Community Choice several times.
Bills we oppose:
Action Alert: Tell your representative to vote NO on AB 56
AB 56 (Garcia) is all about central procurement of electricity and grants far too much authority to the CPUC to procure electricity. In its current form, this bill is nothing more than a power grab by the CPUC. The authority granted to the CPUC would significantly scale back local control—and create significant problems for your local electricity provider. CalCCA members have testified before the legislature for months about their support for a central buyer model that would create a true “backstop” to address reliability issues across the grid. They are prepared to work with the author and other stakeholders to address this clearly identified need and problem. However, as currently drafted, AB 56 grants far too much authority to the CPUC to procure any energy resources as they see fit. Read CCP’s initial Letter of Opposition. Status: On May 30 the bill was voted out of the Assembly and ordered to the Senate.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and urge them to vote NO on AB 56.
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. Status: The bill was passed out of the Assembly on May 22 and has been assigned to the Senate Energy Committee.
SB 155 (Bradford) – This bill expands CPUC’s authority over CCA procurement and Integrated Resource Plans. Status: SB 155 was voted out of the Senate on May 20 and is now on Assembly side. Read first time, no committee assignment yet.
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. Status: The bill passed out of the Senate and is now in the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee with no hearing date set as of this update.
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. Status: The bill was amended on May 29, was ordered to a second reading on the Senate Floor on May 30, and was referred to Senate Rules Committee.
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. Status: The bill passed out of the Senate to the Assembly on May 20. Assigned to Senate Energy Committee.
Key Community Choice Energy-related bills to watch:
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. Status: SB 520 was voted out of the Senate unanimously on May 21. It is on the Assembly side with no committee assignment as of this update.
SB 774 (Stern) – This bill would require IOUs to collaborate with the 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. 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. Status: The bill was voted out of the Senate on May 23 and is now on the Assembly side with no committee assignment as of this update.
Note: A bill we have been tracking but not reporting on has become a 2-year bill. SB-772 (Bradford): Long duration bulk energy storage: procurement. On May 30 the bill was ordered to the inactive file on request of Senator Bradford.
Bills we support:
Alert! SB 288 has been gutted and must be restored to be meaningful! SB 288 (Wiener) “Solar Bill of Rights” – Status: 288 was voted out of the Senate unanimously on May 23, but was gutted. For details on that, see this article in PV Magazine. The bill is now on the Assembly side with no committee assignment as of this update. Read our initial Support Letter. If enacted as written, this bill would require a number of provisions to support the deployment of customer-sited solar and other distributed energy resources, specifically energy storage systems. 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. 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.
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 passed out of the Assembly on May 23 and is in its first reading on the Senate side. No committee assignment as of this update.
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.). Status: 255 made it out of the Senate on May 21 on a unanimous vote. It is on the Assembly side in its first reading. No committee assignment as of this May 30 update.
For the complete list of bills we are monitoring click HERE. Next CPX legislation update will be on Thursday, May 30.
Click HERE for a summary of the 2018 legislative session.
Click HERE for a summary of the 2017 legislative session.
Click HERE for a summary of the 2015-16 legislative session.
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/
Having a hard time understanding the lingo? Try this glossary of common legislative terms.