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CPUC SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON SOLAR PROGRAM SUCCESS

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The California Solar Initiative program has substantially achieved its objective of stimulating widespread adoption of solar energy and creating a self-sustaining market! 

The program, which closed to new applications on December 31, 2016, achieved installation of 1,750 megawatts (MW) of customer-sited solar capacity by the program’s end, installing 1,837 megawatts (MW), with another 94 MW reserved in pending projects. 

Further, customer-sited solar installations increased by 22 percent in 2016, largely without incentive rebates. In 2016 in the large investor-owned utility territories, 99 percent of customer-sited solar projects were interconnected through the Net Energy Metering (NEM) tariff without participating in the California Solar Initiative program.  

In its new 2017 Annual Program Assessment, the CPUC reports that:

       Through the end of 2016, an estimated 5,036 MW of solar capacity were installed at 606,185 customer sites in Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) territories.

       In 2016, 1,228 MW were installed in PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E territories, 22 percent more than was installed in 2015.

Other California Solar Initiative program highlights include: 

       The California Solar Initiative Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, which provides solar incentives on qualifying affordable single-family housing, has completed a total of 6,284 projects, representing 19.1 MW of installed capacity on eligible homes. There are an additional 357 SASH projects in progress, with a total capacity of more than 1.2 MW.  

       The CSI Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program, which provides solar incentives on qualifying affordable housing multifamily dwellings, has completed 403 projects, representing 31.6 MW of installed capacity.  There are an additional 221 MASH projects in progress or under review, with a total capacity of 29.7 MW.

       Through the end of 2016, the California Solar Initiative Thermal program, which promotes solar water heating through a program of direct financial incentives to retail customers, approved 4,826 applications for $67.3 million in incentives of the available $205 million California Solar Initiative Thermal incentive budget.   

       The California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment program has conducted five project solicitations since its inception, resulting in grant funding for 37 projects, totaling $41.2 million. Funded projects have focused on the following areas: integration of solar photovoltaics into the electricity grid, energy generation technologies and business development, and grid integration and production technologies.

Read more in our June 2017 California Solar Initiative Annual Program Assessment.

 

CPUC Acts to Further Promote Renewables Program

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Today we made further progress implementing Senate Bill 350 (Padilla), California’s Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015.  In a decision (in proceeding R.15-02-020) at its Voting Meeting, the CPUC’s Commissioners established new compliance rules for the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, which currently requires electricity supplied by no less than 50 percent renewables by 2030.  Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who is assigned to the proceeding, commented that California providers are exceeding the state’s near-term goals and today’s decision provides continued regulatory certainty for market participants through 2030 and beyond.

Today’s decision is consistent with past CPUC compliance rules that establish a clear path to comply with the RPS program objectives with minimal regulatory risk. This approach has helped make the RPS program very successful. The state’s investor-owned utilities all are on steady path to exceed 33 percent by 2020 and easily meet 50 percent by 2030. Price continues to come down, and there has been no adverse impact on reliability or rates.

Said Commissioner Rechtschaffen, “Looking ahead, I will continue our collaborative working relationship with the California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board, and the California Independent System Operator as the state moves forward on RPS and other policies to achieve a 40 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions below the 1990 level by 2030.

Read more in the proposal the Commissioners approved.

 

CPUC Ensures AT&T Clarifies Recent Residential Service Agreement Notice

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Included in AT&T customer bills in May was a notice of changes to AT&T's Residential Service Agreement.  In response to the many questions raised with the CPUC’s Consumer Affairs Branch by AT&T customers, the CPUC is directing the company to send a clarifying notification.

This clarifying message is being sent to assure that all customers are fully informed and aware that changes to the Residential Service Agreement do not impact their underlying telephone service.  The prices, service descriptions, and other terms and conditions of an AT&T customer’s telephone service will remain the same in California. 

 Future upgrades to AT&T’s network may require the company to install new equipment outside a customer’s home in order for telephone service to continue to work.  If AT&T upgrades its network in a customer’s area, the company will provide additional notice and make an appointment with the customer, if needed.  However, AT&T’s obligation to offer basic telephone service in California is not affected by any potential network upgrades. 

Need News? Here's How to Stay in the Know

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The CPUC has a lot going on, from hearings to meetings to proposals being issued for consideration at our Voting Meetings. Here are a few ways that you can keep up to speed on all that’s going on at the CPUC:


       Read our press releases

       Read our News Blog

       Check out our Topics of Frequent Interest

       Look through our Daily Calendar

       Check to see if we have upcoming Public Participation Hearings

       Subscribe to receive proceeding documents, press releases, etc. via email; our free service allows you to follow a particular proceeding, industry, or type of document in a manner that best meets your needs

       Search our proceedings or find a document

       Follow/Like us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

 

If you have any questions, you can always contact us.

 

CPUC Sets Stage to Increase Equitability of Charges That CCA and Direct Access Customers Pay

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Today we issued a proposal that, if adopted, would consider alternatives to the amount that Community Choice Aggregation and Direct Access customers pay to the utility from which they departed in order to keep remaining utility customers financially unaffected by their departure, which is required by legislation.

The Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) ensures that the customers who remain with the utility do not end up taking on the long-term financial obligations the utility incurred on behalf of now-departed customers. Examples of such financial obligations include utility expenditures to build power plants and, more commonly, long-term power purchase contracts with independent power producers.

Our June 29, 2017, Voting Meeting agenda will include consideration of whether to open a proceeding to evaluate the PCIA, in part because:

            Investor-owned utilities and Community Choice Aggregators both have stated that the current cost allocation is inequitable.  Each has proposed different methods to improve    equity.     

            The rise in California customers served by Community Choice Aggregators makes the cost allocation more important to customer bills.

            The CPUC held a Community Choice Aggregation En Banc and a PCIA Working Group where stakeholders identified cost allocation issues as the most urgent topic in electric retail choice in California.

            The investor-owned utilities have jointly applied for an alternative cost allocation opposed by Community Choice Aggregators, called the Portfolio Allocation Mechanism.  This     Rulemaking would dismiss the Portfolio Allocation Mechanism application, but would consider that mechanism or other alternatives to the PCIA.     

Issues in the proceeding would include:

            Ensuring that remaining investor-owned utility customers are neither worse off nor better off as a result of customers departing for alternative providers.

            Improving transparency in the existing PCIA process.

            Revising the current PCIA to increase stability and certainty for all customers.

            Reviewing specific inputs and calculations for the current PCIA methodology.

            Considering alternatives to the PCIA.

            Ensuring that any cost allocation mechanism is consistent with California energy policy goals and mandates.

            Review of certain customer exemptions from PCIA.

If the proposal is adopted by the CPUC, interested parties would have opportunities to participate in the process before any rules are adopted or changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Comments on Retail Choice Paper and Other Questions

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On June 1, 2017, our President, Michael Picker, requested informal comments from the public on the CPUC's Staff White Paper titled "Consumer and Retail Choice, the Role of the Utility, and an Evolving Regulatory Framework," published May 9, 2017, and on the questions posed to the panelist (see below) at the Joint CPUC and California Energy Commission En Banc on The Changing Nature of Consumer and Retail Choice in California, held on May 19, 2017. 

Parties are encouraged to focus on the questions that were asked of the panelists at the En Banc that most closely represent them or the interests of their organizations.  Parties are welcomed to attach any reports that they want the CPUC to consider as appendices to their comments. The page limit on comments is two pages for comments on the White Paper and two pages for each set of questions posed to a panelist at the En Banc.  Reports included as appendices will not count against the page limit.  These informal comments are not part of a formal proceeding and will not be part of a proceeding record.  However, if the comments relate to a formal CPUC proceeding, the CPUC's Rules of Practice and Procedure for ex parte communications will apply.   

Comments must be submitted to Suzanne.Casazza@cpuc.ca.gov by June 16, 2017.

For more information, including the White Paper, questions to respond to and a webcast archive of the En Banc, please visit: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/general.aspx?id=%206442453593. 

 

 

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