About DER

The Commission oversees programs and market mechanisms to help customer manage their energy use. Customers have a wide range of “distributed energy resources” (DERs) to choose from. DERs are “distribution-connected distributed generation resources such as energy efficiency, demand response, customer generation (e.g., rooftop solar), energy storage, alternative fuel vehicles (e.g., electric vehicles), and water-energy conservation."  A diverse portfolio of DER solutions is available to customers through programs, tariffs, and procurements run directly by the utility of third-party implementers.

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Distributed Energy Resources (DER) technologies and strategies include the following examples:

  • Customer-owned generation, such as rooftop solar and energy storage
  • Demand Response, which provides incentives to shift energy usage to times when demand on the grid has the highest value and can avoid infrastructure investment
  • Energy Efficiency which describes many strategies to reduce energy use, including efficient lighting, HVAC, appliances, and other items. 

Customers wanting to learn more about how to best manage energy use in their homes or businesses are invited to visit the consumer information site, Energy Upgrade California.

Since 2007, the Commission has guided investor-owned utilities to provide efficient and sensible ways of making energy management decisions easier for their customers. Decision 07-10-032 directs the utilities to “integrate customer demand-side programs, such as energy efficiency, self-generation, advanced metering, and demand response, in a coherent and efficient manner."

The Commission develops policy for these activities through proceedings dedicated to each individual DER (e.g., energy efficiency or demand response), as well as proceedings involving multiple DERs.  The current Integrated Distributed Energy Resources (IDER) proceeding, Rulemaking 14-10-003, and the Distributed Resource Plan (DRP) proceeding Rulemaking 14-08-013 seek to remove barriers, ensure consistent policy, and optimize utility investments and strategies to promote cost-effective customer DER adoption. 

Distributed Energy Resource Programs are organized into the following sections: