Community Choice Energy Legislation
Check back frequently for updates during legislative sessions (January – October every year). See the bottom of this page for resources that will help you track legislation.
Welcome to the 2020 legislative session! The Legislature reconvened on Monday, January 6. And away we go! See Utility Dive’s January 8 article predicting a “Wild West” of bills targeting PG&E as a result of their many troubles. Below are some key bills we are tracking. So far it is mostly bills that were held over from the 2019 session. We will be adding new bill numbers as the 2020 session progresses. Please let us know what energy or climate legislation your representative is cooking up! Send us an email to info[at]cleanpowerexchange.org.
AB 56 (Garcia) OPPOSE – This bill will empower the CPUC to order energy procurement based on real or perceived shortcomings in the Integrated Resource Plans submitted by Investor Owned Utilities, Direct Access providers, and CCAs. The bill will allow 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 July 2019 Letter of Opposition. STATUS: No committee assignment and no hearing date set.
AB 235 (Mayes) – Now dubbed the “Catastrophic Wildfire Liability Recovery Act,” this bill will allow PG&E to issue bonds to cover 2017, 2018 wildfire liabilities that ratepayers could ultimately have to pay for, and allows the CPUC to arbitrarily set a limit on the amount a transmission & distribution utility must pay as a result of catastrophic wildfire that may have been the result of their infrastructure. It is essentially a defense of status quo corporate utility dominance. STATUS: In the Senate Energy Committee. No hearing scheduled.
AB 1503 (Burke) – Existing law requires the CPUC, by February 1 of each year, to report to the Governor and the Legislature on recommendations for a smart grid, the plans and deployment of smart grid technologies by the State’s electrical corporations, and the costs and benefits to ratepayers. This bill would amend Section 913.2 of the Public Utilities Code to require in the report due on February 1, 2022, that the CPUC also describe workforce opportunities in the areas of distributed energy and microgrids, including emerging energy jobs and professions and the costs and benefits to the ratepayers. The bill would require the CPUC to collaborate with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency in the development of this section of the report.
AB 1839 (Bonta) – The “Green New Deal” bill. Introduced on January 6, this bill would create the California Green New Deal Council with a specified membership appointed by the Governor. The bill would require the California Green New Deal Council to submit a specified report to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2022. STATUS: No committee staff bill analysis is available, the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing, and we have yet to take a position.
AB 1847 (Levine) – This bill would authorize the CPUC (contingent on the Commission finding that an electrical corporation is not complying with State law, rules, or regulations) to appoint a public administrator to the electrical corporation for a period not to exceed 180 days. The bill would vest the public administrator with oversight authority over the electrical corporation’s activities that impact public safety. See the bill author’s factsheet. STATUS: No committee assignment or hearing as of the date of this update.
SB 246 (Wieckowski) – Read our Support Letter. – This bill, if enacted as written, will impose an oil and gas severance tax on the privilege of extracting oil or fossil gas from the earth or water in California upon any operator engaged in such extraction. Read the bill author’s factsheet. STATUS: On Monday, January 13, SB 246 was pulled from the Senate Governance and Finance Committee by that committee’s chair, Mike McGuire. The bill is dead.
SB 350 (Hertzberg) OPPOSE – 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. STATUS: In Senate Energy Committee with no hearing scheduled.
SB 378 (Wiener): Would establish ratepayer protections related to Public Safety Power Shutoff incidents. STATUS: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on January 15.
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 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: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on January 15, 2020.
SB 702 (Hill) – This bill would amend section 399.13 of the Public Utilities Code to authorize a retail seller of electricity to rely on contracts of 10 years or more in duration or ownership agreements entered into directly by its end-use customer for eligible renewable energy resources located on the customer side of the meter to satisfy the portion of the 65% requirement attributable to the retail sales of that end-use customer. STATUS: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on January 15.
SB-772 (Bradford) – OPPOSE – This bill relates to procurement of long duration bulk energy storage. Would require CAISO to procure 2,000MW of long-duration energy storage projects by 2022. Concerns center on forcing the hand of CCA procurement. STATUS: In the Senate committee process with no committee assignment and no hearing date.
SB 774 (Stern) – 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: In the Assembly committee process with no committee assignment and no hearing date.
SB-801 (Glazer, McGuire) Electrical corporations: wildfire mitigation plans: deenergization: public safety protocol. This bill would require an electrical corporation to deploy backup electrical resources or provide financial assistance for backup electrical resources to a customer receiving a medical baseline allowance if the customer meets those conditions.
For a complete list of bills we are tracking in 2020, click HERE. We do expect many more bills relating to Community Choice, electricity system resilience, microgrids, the climate crisis, and other related issues to emerge. So expect a lively 2020 session. our next update will be published on January 23.
Click HERE for the complete list of bills we monitored in 2019
Click HERE for the complete list of bills we monitored in the 2018 legislative session.
Click HERE for the complete list of bills we monitored in the 2017 legislative session.
Click HERE for the complete list of bills we monitored in the 2015-16 legislative session.
Community Choice Aggregation 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 Energy-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. We also track and report on other energy and rapid decarbonization bills, so please alert us to any not already featured.
To find out about the status of any bill and subscribe to updates on specific bills, click HERE.
To watch public Assembly or Senate meetings and hearings, click HERE.
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.
And use “Find Your Rep” to find out who your California representatives are.
Having a hard time understanding the lingo? Try this glossary of common legislative terms.