This edition of the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) eNewsletter fills you in on all our latest news, plus you’ll learn about the state’s commitment to energy efficiency and how you can celebrate Solar Energy Month!



The CPUC has created a free DVD that provides information about us and our programs, how to file complaints, and how to participate in our proceedings.

The DVD, Access CPUC, contains English, Chinese, and Spanish subtitles, as well as forms and other materials. Access CPUC features San Francisco Bay Area journalists Tomas Roman and Barbara Rogers, as well as CPUC staff, discussing the following topics by chapter:

· Chapter 1: Welcome to the CPUC

· Chapter 2: Filing a Complaint

· Chapter 3: Filing an Expedited Complaint

· Chapter 4: Alternative Dispute Resolution

· Chapter 5: Protesting an Application

The DVD can be accessed online (without subtitles) on the CPUC’s YouTube page. You can order copies by emailing or calling the News and Public Information Office at (415) 703-1366.

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CPUC Makes Largest Commitment Ever Made By a State to Energy Efficiency

The CPUC, in its ongoing commitment to making energy efficiency a way of life in California, established energy efficiency programs for 2010 - 2012, approving a three-year budget of $3.1 billion for Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and Southern California Gas Company. This is the largest commitment ever made by a state to energy efficiency and further confirms California’s leadership.

These programs will create energy savings of almost 7,000 gigawatt hours, 1,500 megawatts, and 150 million metric therms of natural gas; this is the equivalent of three 500-megawatt power plants and will avoid 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The funding from this decision can create between 15,000 and 18,000 skilled green jobs.

The decision approved on Sept. 24, 2009, includes the new California statewide program for residential energy efficiency-CalSPREE-under which the CPUC launches the largest and most comprehensive residential retrofit program in the U.S., aiming to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent for up to 130,000 California homes by 2012. The decision funds $175 million for innovative programs to deliver zero net energy homes and commercial buildings, including design assistance, incentives for “above code” construction, and research and demonstration of new technologies and materials.

The decision also provides over $260 million in funding for 64 cities, counties, and regional agencies for local efforts targeting public sector building retrofits and leading edge energy efficiency opportunities. Over $100 million will go to education and training programs at all levels of our educational system to ensure a steady pipeline of skilled blue and white collar energy efficiency professionals.

The CPUC’s Business & Community Outreach will conduct education meetings and events to raise awareness of this historic decision and how it impacts communities, businesses, and schools. The group will also work with local governments such as the League of Cities and California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to raise awareness not only on energy efficiency but all CPUC issues that may impact your area.  Please contact your local Outreach Officer with any questions:

  1. San Diego and Orange Counties: John Morgan, (949) 364-5418
  2. City and County of Los Angeles: John Roldan, (213) 576-7058
  3. Inland Empire: Sandy Windbigler, (909) 864-2290
  4. San Joaquin County: Drew Cheney, (916) 956-8103

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October is Solar Energy Month in California!

Get ready for a month of celebrating the joys of going solar during California Solar Energy Month this October 2009. Get involved and Go Solar, California! Solar Energy Month provides a showcase for solar events happening statewide. Everyone from residential solar beginners to savvy solar pros are encouraged to join with their communities in taking a solar class or workshop, attending a solar tour or fair, and talking with their neighbors and local businesses about going solar and generating their own clean energy. Visit the CPUC’s Solar Month web page for more information and 10 easy ways you can get involved and Go Solar!

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CPUC Approves $124 Million Refund to Electric Customers of SDG&E

The CPUC approved a refund of $124 million to electric customers of San Diego Gas and Electric Company as a result of an overcollection.

SDG&E requested CPUC approval to make a refund to customers when it determined that its Energy Resource Recovery Account (ERRA) was projected to be approximately $124 million overcollected. Refunds will be made to electric customers in the form of a one-time bill credit beginning with electric bills issued on or after October 1, 2009.

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CPUC Approves Funding for Southern Nevada and Modoc County Broadband Service

The CPUC approved funding of $285,992 to the Kernville Interconnect Project to bring high-speed Internet broadband for the first time to 9,179 unserved households in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain communities around Lake Isabella, including Kernville, Onyx, Weldon, and Wofford Heights. This is the 27th project approved as part of the CPUC's California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which was created to help bridge the digital divide in the state.

The Kernville Interconnect Project will provide broadband service at average speeds starting at 3 mega bits per second (Mbps) for download and 256 Kbps upload to 9,179 households covering 44 square miles that currently have no broadband service at all. This will be accomplished through the laying of underground fiber optic cable along State Highway 178 between Ridgecrest and Lake Isabella in Kern County.

Project sponsor MCC Telephony of the West, LLC, will receive a 40 percent matching grant of $285,992 from the CPUC's broadband fund. MCC, a subsidiary of Mediacom Communications Corp., will match the grant with 60 percent of the total project cost ($714,979) from its own sources and does not plan to seek federal stimulus funds for this proposed project.

The CPUC also approved contingent funding of $50,707 for the Lookout Broadband Project in Modoc County that will bring broadband Internet service to 166 households in a rural area that is currently without any high-speed Internet service.

The amount granted to project sponsor Frontier Communications of California is from the CASF and represents 10 percent of the total project costs of $507,066. It is contingent upon Frontier receiving an 80 percent matching grant from the federal broadband stimulus portion ($7.2 billion) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Frontier will provide the remaining 10 percent of funding from its own sources.

The proposed Lookout Broadband Project area in Modoc County lies in the northeastern-most corner of California. It will serve a currently unserved area of 67 square miles with broadband service at speeds of 1 Mbps download and 256 Kbps upload. While these speeds are lower than the benchmark speeds of the CASF program, the CPUC believes that these speeds are superior to current dial-up speeds in this unserved area.

With an estimated construction period of 6 ¼ months, the Lookout Broadband Project is the first CASF proposal to be approved by CPUC that will also be submitted for ARRA funding. If approved by the federal government, the Lookout Broadband Project would also be the first CASF project to receive federal economic stimulus funding.

On July 9, 2009, the CPUC established a new schedule for filing, review, and approval of CASF broadband fund applications to allow project sponsors to simultaneously apply for an 80 percent match from federal ARRA stimulus.

On December 20, 2007, the CPUC established the two-year, $100 million CASF to provide 40 percent matching infrastructure grants to broadband providers willing to put up the matching 60 percent of funds and to serve the nearly 2,000 California communities that are currently unserved and underserved by broadband. Of that $100 million, $12,645,815 in broadband infrastructure grants have so far been approved. Applications for CASF grants are still being accepted by the CPUC from broadband providers.

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Save the Dates

Don’t miss the CPUC’s annual diversity public hearing on Nov. 2, 2009: Celebrating Diversity in GOING GREEN, California’s New Gold Rush.

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Visit our Consumer Information Center for more assistance. Consumers with utility complaints can call our Consumer Affairs Branch at 1-800-649-7570.

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© 2009, California Public Utilities Commission. All rights reserved.
October 2009


Produced by the CPUC's News and Public Information Office and Business and Community Outreach, 415-703-1366,
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102.

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