In July, the CPUC created rules to protect the privacy and security of customer usage data generated by Smart Meters, took action to break down barriers for the widespread deployment and use of alternative-fueled vehicles, and issued a report showing that Californians are installing rooftop solar energy systems at a rapid pace.
As part of its efforts to build a Smart Grid for California, the CPUC has created rules to protect the privacy and security of customer usage data generated by Smart Meters. The new rules protect a customer’s privacy by prohibiting any utility or third-party from using or taking meter data for a purpose not having to do with power operations (including demand management and energy efficiency) without a customer’s authorization. So, unless you sign off on giving your data the new rules prevent anyone from taking it for a non-energy purpose.
The CPUC has also furthered efforts to break down barriers for the widespread deployment and use of alternative-fueled vehicles in California by directing electric utilities to collaborate with automakers and other stakeholders to identify where electric vehicle charging will likely occur on their electric systems and plan accordingly. If a utility obtains timely notification that an electric vehicle will be charging in its service territory, the utility can address potential reliability problems, keep infrastructure costs down, and assist, as appropriate, with ensuring that electric vehicle owners have positive experiences with their vehicles.
Lastly, the CPUC issued its California Solar Initiative (CSI) Annual Program Assessment, which showed that the rate at which Californians are installing rooftop solar energy systems to meet their electric demand is growing at a rapid pace. The report showed that the increasing rate of new solar installations and cumulative installed capacity provide evidence that California is well along the path of achieving the goals set forth by Senate Bill 1 in 2006, the legislation that authorized the CSI program.
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The CPUC has created a new Risk Assessment Unit to research, develop, and propose tools to improve pipeline safety and oversight in the state, and is also augmenting its pipeline inspector team by five.
The CPUC has embarked on a search for a total of nine safety experts - four for its Risk Assessment Unit, and five new pipeline inspectors. The Risk Assessment Unit will lead the way in establishing a new focus on performance, not just following federal rules, in natural gas safety. The Unit will look at best practices throughout the nation and around the world. The new gas inspectors will complete a doubling of the inspector team since the explosion of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company pipeline in San Bruno last year, putting more eyes in the field and boots on the ground.
The CPUC is also conducting a nationwide search for a new safety expert to lead its Consumer Protection and Safety Division, which includes the Risk Assessment Unit and administers safety oversight of gas and electric utilities; railroads; light rail transit systems and highway/rail crossings; motor carriers of passengers and household goods; and water vessels.
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