Community Choice Energy Legislation
Check back frequently for updates.
Last updated 4/18/19
We are monitoring over a dozen energy and/or climate-related bills, not all of which directly impact Community Choice Energy.
This is also 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 climate change.
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 Energy Committee on March 27 unanimously. The bill will next be heard in Senate Appropriations on April 22.
SB-520 (Hertzberg) – This bill would authorize the CPUC to develop threshold attributes for a load-serving entity to serve as a provider of last resort to provide electrical service to retail end users in California. this bill is in the Senate Energy Committee and a hearing on it is set for April 24.
Bills we are opposing:
AB 56 (Garcia) – Read our letter of opposition. AB 56 was amended in the April 10 Assembly Utilities Committee and passed out of that committee. The bill would now 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). The bill would authorize CAEATFA to undertake procurement consistent with specified objectives and to manage the resale of electricity for its contracted resources and would provide for the reduction in procurement compliance obligations for LSEs for the electricity procured by CAEATFA. The bill would impose a nonbypassable charge for recovering revenue from retail end-use customers of LSEs collected on the basis of usage. Although the bill was amended on April 10, we remain in opposition pending further review. The key concern is the degree to which it ensures procurement autonomy and is only authorized to procure “residual” assets when LSEs are not able to meet their obligations. This bill will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 22.
AB 1362 (O’Donnell) – Read our Letter of Opposition to AB 1362. In 2011 SB 790 was enacted as the result of egregious obstruction from PG&E against cities and counties in PG&E service territory that were attempting to form Community Choice agencies. SB 790 (Leno, 2011) established a Code of Conduct that prohibits IOUs from using ratepayer funds to market against CCA formation. AB 1362 would render the Code of Conduct meaningless by applying the requirements equally to all load serving entities. The bill is in the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee and will be heard on April 24.
Bills we are supporting:
SB 288 (Wiener) “Solar Bill of Rights” – Read our Support Letter. SB 288 passed its first hearing on April 10 in the Senate Energy Committee, with a vote of 11-0. At the hearing over fifty organizations and individuals called for the protection of the right to self-generate without undue barriers, red-tape, or discriminatory charges by the big utilities. On the opposing side were the big utilities with a single stale and dubious talking point: cost-shift. The bill still has at least five more steps before it makes it to the Governor’s desk. Next up is Senate Appropriations Committee in May, followed by a Senate floor vote in June. Each step is difficult for a bill like this so stay tuned and stay involved. For the latest visit the bill sponsor Solar Rights Alliance’s Solar Bill of Rights page.
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? 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. 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.
Lastly, Senator Jerry Hill has introduced three bills worth noting that relate to safety and regulatory oversight in the electricity sector: SB 548, SB 549, and SB 550.
- SB 548 requires scheduled inspections of transmission facilities by IOUs
- SB 549 prohibits CPUC from approving any capital structure change or increase in rates for PG&E without approval by the legislature
- SB 550 requires CPUC to determine that there is a corresponding increase in safety before approving any merger/acquisition of an IOU
For the complete list of bills we are monitoring click HERE.
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/