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CPUC Proposal Would Find That the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Field Was Not Out of Service for Nine Consecutive Months

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Sept. 27, 2018 Update: The CPUC approved the proposal below at their September 27, 2018 Voting Meeting in Sacramento.

On Monday, August 27, 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposal that, if approved by its Commissioners, would find that the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Field was not out of service for nine consecutive months in the aftermath of events following the natural gas leak that occurred at the facility beginning October 23, 2015.

The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Field is the largest of the gas storage fields owned and operated by Southern California Gas Company and is the second largest in the U.S.  The underground storage facility is located in the Santa Susana Mountains near Porter Ranch in Los Angeles.

The CPUC may eliminate consideration of the value of any portion of a facility that remains out of service for nine or more consecutive months and may disallow expenses related to the out of service facility to be recovered through rates collected by the utility that operates such a facility.  The proposal issued on August 27, 2018 (known as the Proposed Decision in I.17-03-002) concludes that although there was a temporary moratorium on gas injections, the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Field remained available for service, supporting system balancing and reliability requirements.

The proposal directs Southern California Gas Company to continue to maintain the Aliso Canyon Cost Memorandum Account (ACRCMA), which was established on March 17, 2016.  The CPUC ordered Southern California Gas Company to establish the ACRCMA to track revenue and costs associated with owning and operating the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Field.  The ACRCMA will be addressed in the CPUC's forthcoming investigation into the root cause analysis of the leak, which is expected to be initiated in 2019.

The first opportunity for the proposal to appear on a CPUC Voting Meeting agenda is September 27, 2018.

The proposal is available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M224/K463/224463567.PDF.

CPUC Proposal Would Allow Cal-Am to Proceed With Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project

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Today we issued a proposal that, if approved by our Commissioners, would allow California American Water Company (Cal-Am) to proceed with its Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project in order for the utility to provide safe and reliable water service to its customers and meet all regulations for the safe operation of its facilities.

The Project will replace and augment existing water supplies in Cal-Am's Monterey District service area constrained by legal decisions affecting the Carmel River and Seaside Groundwater Basin, areas where Cal-Am currently sources its water.

The proposal issued today (known as a Proposed Decision in proceeding number A.12-04-019) authorizes Cal-Am to proceed with its modified Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project at a size of 6.4 million gallons per day. The project would be capped at $279.1 million.

The Project includes a source water intake system consisting of subsurface wells on a 376-acre coastal property located north of the city of Marina extending offshore into the Monterey Bay. New pipelines would convey the source water from the wells to a 6.4 million gallon per day desalination plant on a 46-acre vacant parcel near Charles Benson Road. Brine produced during the desalination process would be conveyed to the existing Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency's ocean outfall and discharged to the Monterey Bay.

The proposal finds that water rate relief bonds issued by the Monterey Peninsula will provide savings to customers on the Monterey Peninsula. The proposal directs Cal-Am to prepare progress reports during construction of the Project, and publish them on its website.

The first opportunity for the proposal to appear on a CPUC Voting Meeting agenda is Sept. 13, 2018.

Seeking Your Comment on SDG&E's Electric Transportation Plans

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We are holding a workshop on Aug. 30th in San Diego to receive community input about San Diego Gas & Electric's proposed programs to speed up adoption of electric vehicles.  Please see our flyer below for more information. We hope you can attend to let us know your thoughts on what is needed in your community!

Aug 30 - transportation electrification flyer - v2

CPUC Prehearing Conference 8/15: Natural Gas and Electricity Disconnections

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We are holding a Prehearing Conference on Aug. 15th as part of our efforts to adopt policies, rules, and regulations to reduce customer natural gas and electricity disconnection rates. If you are concerned about disconnections and you potentially want to participate in our proceeding by becoming a party, please join us! More information

Disconnections - v2.jpg

CPUC Workshop 8/30: Accessibility of CPUC Proceedings

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We are holding a workshop on August 30, 2018, to discuss ideas for enhancing public participation in our proceedings. More information, including an agenda and remote access information, is available in our calendar.

 Commissioner Policy and Gov Committee flyer - Aug 30 - v2.jpg

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Reminder: Protections for Wildfire Victims

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Reminder: Protections exist now for victims of the current wildfires in the state. Please see those consumer protections below. On Aug. 9, 2018, the CPUC's Commissioners will vote on whether to further extend the consumer protections in the case of future wildfires.

UPDATE: On Aug. 9, 2018, our Commissioners made the utility customer protections it previously approved for wildfire victims applicable to future wildfires in which a State of Emergency is called by the Governor. This means that in the case of future wildfires consumers will automatically be protected under those circumstances until the CPUC's proceeding on Emergency Disaster Relief Programs is concluded.

Consumer Protections

  • Disconnections: Wildfire-impacted consumers cannot be disconnected for nonpayment and associated fees.
  • Discontinue Billing: Utilities must discontinue billing customers whose homes are not capable of receiving utility services, and utilities cannot asses a disconnection charge.
  • Waive Deposits: Utilities must waive deposit requirements for affected residents seeking to re-establish service for one year, and must expedite move-in and move-out service requests.
  • Estimated Billing: Utilities must stop energy usage estimates for billing for the time the home/unit was unoccupied as a result of the wildfires.
  • Payment Plans: Affected customers who have prior arrearages and have lost their homes or have been displaced and are seeking to establish service in a new residence, must be offered a payment plan with an initial payment of no greater than 20 percent of the amount due, and with equal installments for the remainder of not less than 12 billing cycles. 
  • Minimum Bills: Utilities must prorate any monthly access charge or minimum charges for affected customers typically assessed so that no customer will bear any of these costs for the time period after the customer's home was rendered unserviceable by a fire.

Further, the CPUC has authorized PG&E to waive the costs that would normally be incurred to customers for establishing temporary service.


Communication companies in fire-impacted areas must refund their customers for the periods that the customers are without service due to the wildfires. Carriers of Last Resort must waive connection charges for affected customers.  Further, for customers of the low income California LifeLine program, communication companies must suspend the de-enrollment for non-usage rules and delay the renewal process for the affected consumers.

CPUC Issues Proposal That Would Reform Equitability of Charges Community Choice and Direct Access Customers Pay

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UPDATE Oct. 10, 2018: A second revised Alternate Proposed Decision was issued.

UPDATE Oct. 5, 2018: A revised Alternate Proposed Decision was issued. 

UPDATE: Watch the webcast of the Sept. 7, 2018 All-Party Meeting  

UPDATE Aug. 14, 2018: Commissioner Carla J. Peterman has issued an alternate proposal (called an Alternate Proposed Decision) in this proceeding. The Proposed Decision excludes legacy utility-owned generation from cost recovery from Community Choice Aggregators. It also retains a 10-year limit on PCIA cost recovery for post-2002 utility-owned generation and certain storage costs, and it establishes a PCIA collar, with an upper cap starting at 2.2 cents/kilowatt-hour and a lower floor of 0 cents/kilowatt-hour. The alternate Proposed Decision from Commissioner Peterman differs from the Proposed Decision in four main substantive respects: 1) Finds that legacy utility-owned generation is PCIA-eligible and should be recovered from Community Choice Aggregator customers; 2) Terminates the 10-year limit on PCIA cost recovery for post-2002 utility-owned generation and certain storage costs; 3) Establishes a PCIA collar starting in 2020, with the cap limiting upward or downward changes in the PCIA to 25 percent in either direction from the prior year; 4) for 2019 Energy Resource Recovery Account forecasts only, adopts the Platt’s Portfolio Content Category 1 REC index value for the Market Price Benchmark’s RPS Adder. Information about the original proposal is in the paragraphs below. Both proposals will come before the CPUC’s Commissioners for a vote.    

Blog Posted Aug. 1, 2018: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued a proposal that, if adopted at its September 13, 2018, Voting Meeting, would reform the amount that Community Choice Aggregation and Direct Access customers pay in order to keep remaining utility customers financially unaffected by their departure, which is required by legislation. 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued a proposal that, if adopted at its September 13, 2018, Voting Meeting, would reform the amount that Community Choice Aggregation and Direct Access customers pay 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 customers who remain with an investor-owned utility such as Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, or San Diego Gas & Electric, do not end up taking on the long-term financial obligations the utility incurred on behalf of customers who departed the utility to become customers of a Community Choice Aggregator or Direct Access provider-and that departing customers should not take on costs that were not incurred on their behalf. Examples of such financial obligations include utility expenditures to build power plants and, more commonly, long-term power purchase contracts with independent power producers.

The proposal issued today (called a Proposed Decision in proceeding number R.17-06-026) reforms the existing framework to ensure that remaining investor-owned utility customers are neither worse off nor better off as a result of customers departing for alternative providers.

Currently, the PCIA is calculated as the difference between an investor-owned utility's portfolio costs that were executed before its customers left utility service, and the current market value of those contracts.  The market value is measured by a Market Price Benchmark and is based on a CPUC-approved methodology.  If an investor-owned utility's portfolio cost is above market value, the departing customers pay their share of the difference (the PCIA) based on their power consumption.

The proposal issued today would make the following changes to the current PCIA calculation:

  •  Reforms the elements of the Market Price Benchmark to more accurately reflect the current market for renewables and for capacity purchased for reliability.  The existing methodology uses outdated market values that do not reflect the prices observed in the market today.  
  •  Uses an annually updated capacity price developed by CPUC staff.
  •  Values renewables by collecting data about renewables contracts from all electricity providers.
  •  Adds a true-up, which would ensure that any inaccuracies in the portfolio cost and market value forecasts are corrected based upon actual results in the market.
  •  Adopts a cap on the annual change in the PCIA rate to provide greater stability for all customers. Any costs above or below the caps would be tracked for later collection.
  •  Permits Community Choice Aggregators or Direct Access Providers and investor-owned utilities to negotiate a pre-payment of a departing customer's PCIA, which would terminate future PCIA responsibility. The CPUC would have to approve any proposed prepayment.
  •  Opens a further phase in this proceeding to further examine party proposals to reduce the size of utility portfolios, including portfolio auctions and subscription.

The proposal is available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M219/K474/219474629.PDF.

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