Public Utilities Code Section 394(a) defines an Electric Service Provider (ESP) as a non-utility entity that offers electric service to customers within the service territory of an electric utility. Subparagraph (b) requires each ESP to register with the CPUC and sets forth the requirements.

The CPUC implemented the framework for ESP registration, specifically applying these requirements to ESPs serving residential and small commercial (maximum peak demand less than 20 kilowatts) in Decision no. (D.)99-05-034 and (D.)98-03-072. In (D.)03-12-015, the CPUC extended these requirements to ESPs not previously required to register, as applicable.

  1. Execute a UDC-ESP Service Agreement with each Utility Distribution Company in which service territory you plan to offer service and submit copies of each executed Service Agreement with your application.
  2. Complete and return ESP Registration Application Form as modified in CPUC Decision no. (D.)03-12-015.
  3. Background checks (fingerprints) are required for key personnel (sole proprietors, partners, corporate officers, members/managers/officers of an LLC) for a criminal history record check through the Department of Justice. Please refer to the Department of Justice website for all questions regarding background checks. The below information may change over time, please always refer to the DOJ website for updated information.
    For personnel in the State of California, please visit the Department of Justice website for a live scan site. After this is complete, please email to inform us of the progress of this background check.
    For personnel residing outside the State of California, you must bring two copies of a fingerprint card hard (FD-258) to your local law enforcement agency to request fingerprint services (they typically charge a fee). If this facility does not have fingerprint hard cards, please email to request fingerprint hard cards to get mailed to you. Take the hard cards to your local law enforcement agency to get fingerprints on them. After the your fingerprints are completed, please make sure you enter all the information as referenced on this FD-258 template. After both fingerprint hard cards are completely filled out, please mail both copies to CPUC Energy Division - ESP Registration, 505 Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco CA 94102. Each fingerprint applicant is requested to submit two fingerprint hard cards. Failure to complete these steps may delay your background check.
  4. Post a minimum security deposit of $25,000 in the form of either a cashier's check or a financial guarantee Bond with the CPUC at the time of registration. If submitting a cashier's check, please fill out and submit the Information Accompanying ESP Cash Deposit form at the time of registration.
  5. Prior to signing up and initiating a Direct Access Service Request on behalf of any customer, execute an agreement with a scheduling coordinator (SC) authorized by the Independent System Operator (ISO). Submit copies of all SC Agreements (waived for ESPs authorized as SCs).
  6. For ESPs offering electric service to residential or small commercial customers, submit a copy of your Section 394.5 Notice to the Energy Division of the CPUC on or before the date you sign up your first customer or when the first standard service plan filing is due, whichever is earliest.
  7. Note: Requirements for New ESPs: Resource Adequacy Requirements and Renewable Portfolio Standards Requirements.

List of Registered ESPs, provided pursuant to California Public Utilities Code Section 392.1(a), and PUC Decisions (D).98-03-072 and 03-12-015.

ESP Reminders for registered ESPs

Glossary of Terms


Consumer Affairs Branch