Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) cautioned members of the Legislature in a March 19 hearing on expanding California Public Utilities Commission oversight of innovative new community choice aggregation (CCA) programs — charging the agency with attempting to “double down on [a] hyper-centralized, monopoly model” of electricity production that “has not worked well for California.”
In a hearing of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, Senator Wiener asked Michael Picker, president of the CPUC, to clarify remarks Mr. Picker made in recent testimony before the Legislature that CCAs were not meeting state “resource adequacy” requirements — a claim Picker once again restated at Tuesday’s hearing.
State policy requires all Load Serving Entities, including CCAs, to demonstrate they have the capacity to provide enough electricity when and where it is needed — a critical measure of the reliability of the energy system.
“You made a statement that there were 11 resource adequacy waivers granted [by the CPUC] in 2018 and that the majority were granted to CCAs,” Senator Wiener said, noting that a records request had revealed that none of the waivers were for community choice aggregators.
A CPUC representative at the hearing – Energy Division Director Ed Randolph – acknowledged that, in fact, “one or zero” waivers were for CCAs — and the rest were for other Load-Serving Entities (LSEs) adapting to the state’s rapidly evolving energy market.
The waivers, now posted on the CPUC’s own website, show that of the 11 that were issued last year — one to an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) and ten to Energy Service Providers (ESPs). The list can be found here (scroll down to 2018 Local Waiver Letters): http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=6311.
“The comments we’re hearing, this consistent drumbeat of ‘there’s a resource adequacy problem with the CCAs’…I just think the facts don’t support that,” responded Senator Wiener. “And this is why I would not support expanding CPUC’s authority over CCAs.”
To view the exchange, click here.
Launched in 2016, the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) represents California’s community choice electricity providers before the state Legislature and at regulatory agencies, advocating for a level playing field and opposing policies that unfairly discriminate against CCAs and their customers. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving approximately 10 million customers.
For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.