Welcome to the October 2012 edition of the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) eNewsletter, where you’ll find news on upcoming events, cybersecurity, and more!


CPUC 10th Annual Diversity En Banc Focuses on Building on Success

On Oct. 4, 2012, the CPUC will host its 10th annual En Banc with the theme of Building on Success at the USC Bovard Auditorium, 3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles.

The CPUC’s five Commissioners will be joined by The Honorable Curren Price, California Senate; The Honorable Steven Bradford, California Assembly; The Honorable Gwen Moore; C.L. Max Nikias, USC President; David Hinson, National Director Minority Business Development Agency; utility executives; and others.

The CPUC’s Supplier Diversity program promotes and monitors procurement from diverse suppliers by energy utilities, telecommunication and cable companies, and also water utilities. The CPUC encourages investor-owned utilities to purchase 21.5 percent of goods and services from diverse firms (15 percent minority owned firms, 5 percent women owned firms, and 1.5 percent disabled veteran owned firms).

The En Banc follows the release this month of the CPUC’s 2011 General Order 156 report to the legislature titled, 2011 Utility Procurement of Goods, Services, and Fuel from Women-, Minority-, and Disabled Veteran-owned Business Enterprises (WMDVBE). The report shows that utility spending on WMDVBE procurement increased from $5.17 billion in 2010 to $7.2 billion in 2011.

There are 34 companies that file annual reports with the CPUC, and collectively these 34 companies procured 30 percent of their total contract needs from diverse and small suppliers.

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CPUC Hosts Thought Leaders Session on Green Economy Partnerships

On Oct. 26, 2012, in San Francisco the CPUC is hosting the latest session of its Thought Leaders Speaker Series. The topic is Green Economy Partnerships and it will feature a keynote address by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by a panel discussion in which he will serve as moderator.

Panelists for the session are Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner, DBL Investors; Doug Avery, CALCTP Manager, Southern California Edison; and Tim Rainey, Executive Director, California Workforce Investment Board.

This discussion will introduce the strategic public/private partnerships focused on developing the green economy in California. Green Economy Partnerships will highlight partnerships between multiple stakeholders such as utilities, government, industry, labor, educators, and investors who are aimed at leveraging limited resources and removing barriers in an effort to drive sustainable economic, environmental, and societal benefits.

To register for this event (not required, but appreciated) and for more information on Thought Leaders, including remote access information, please visit the Thought Leaders webpage.

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CPUC Acts to Ensure Consumer and Market Benefits from Smart Meters

The CPUC has taken an important step to support the development of technology that will help consumers better manage their electricity use by using data available from Smart Meters.

The CPUC last week directed the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to begin making the Smart Meters’ built-in Home Area Network (HAN) functionality and benefits accessible to customers on a consistent, statewide basis, and to enable a third-party market that allows customers to utilize HAN devices of their own choice to monitor their energy consumption.

The HAN function of the Smart Meter allows customers to monitor their household energy consumption in real-time through a wireless device placed inside their home. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric Company have installed more than 10 million Smart Meters that are already pre-equipped with the HAN function, which is a key step in advancing California’s goals of providing timely, actionable information to customers to enable them to optimally manage or reduce their energy consumption and save money. A variety of HAN devices are being introduced by third-party manufacturers and becoming available in the marketplace. Customers will be able to choose and buy their own device that communicates with their Smart Meter through a secure wireless link.

As part of the CPUC’s directive last week, the IOUs must revise their HAN implementation plans to ensure statewide consistency in HAN communication standards and deployment. This will encourage the development of a competitive, third-party retail market that allows consumers to choose and deploy their own HAN devices independent of the utilities.

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CPUC Issues Staff Paper on Cybersecurity

The CPUC has issued a staff paper titled, Cybersecurity and the Evolving Role of State Regulation: How it Impacts the California Public Utilities Commission.

The CPUC recognizes the importance of risk management in reliability and safety. The CPUC required utilities to address cybersecurity in their Smart Grid Deployment Plans, and the paper issued today further examines how the CPUC and other State regulators can adequately address cybersecurity as it relates to grid resiliency, reliability, and safety.

The paper addresses how the CPUC can design and implement cybersecurity policies that protect public safety, enhance the reliability and resiliency of the grid, and protect customer privacy from cyber threats, and do so cost-effectively. The paper notes that it is important for State regulators to understand the nature of the cyber-threats, vulnerabilities, and overall risks in cyberspace faced by the utilities, and to understand how the utilities are assessing these risks.

The paper recommends that the CPUC open a proceeding to further investigate appropriate cybersecurity policies for the electric grid.

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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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