The CPUC has created a Small Business Advisory Council in order to provide a forum for the CPUC, the utilities, and members of the small business community to discuss CPUC policy and issues that affect small businesses.
The CPUC approved the creation of the Small Business Advisory Council for a three-year pilot program to ensure accountability and effectiveness. It will consist of nine representatives from the CPUC, small businesses, the California Small Business Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the state's utilities. It will meet quarterly, rotating between northern, central, and southern California.
Individuals interested in being appointed as a small business owner member or utility member on the Small Business Advisory Council may submit a letter of interest and a resume, including references, by no later than Feb. 15, 2011, to Marzia Zafar, CPUC Small Business & Community Outreach Group, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102.
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Last month’s eNewsletter included information about agriculture customers in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) service area transitioning from their current flat rates to time of use (TOU) rates. This article continues the discussion with more information on TOU rates.
The amount of electricity we use in California, and how much that electricity costs, varies based on the time of day and the time of year. California uses more electricity in the summer, when areas of the state hit high temperatures, and in the afternoon when it’s the hottest time of day and the busiest for many businesses. Big differences between high demand and low demand make supplying the right amount of electricity challenging and expensive. Electricity cannot be stored effectively long-term, so it must be produced near to the time it is used.
One way to help the situation is to reduce the amount of electricity we use during peak times, because buying electricity is very expensive when all the inexpensive power is already being used, yet there’s more demand. Typically, California’s average usage is less than 40,000 megawatts of capacity. But that amount jumps to over 50,000 megawatts on a hot day, which forces inefficient and very expensive generators to operate.
With TOU rates, if the price for energy is higher at peak times and lower at off-peak times, consumers receive a price signal to use less energy during peak times and shift some of their usage to off-peak hours. This price signal is also referred to as dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing refers to the true cost of generating electricity. One example of dynamic pricing is Peak Day Pricing, or PDP, which is a rate that includes a short-term rate increase during critical conditions. This is beneficial for all utility customers because the costs of building new power plants or relying on older, less-efficient power plants is eventually passed on to customers in their retail rates.
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