Today's Law As Amended

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AB-961 Energy programs and projects: nonenergy benefits.(2019-2020)

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Unrecognized nonenergy benefits in cost-effectiveness tests employed by the Public Utilities Commission devalue important community benefits of distributed energy resource projects and discourage beneficial investments in environmental and social justice communities.
(b) Nonenergy benefits represent the array of diverse impacts of energy programs and projects beyond the generation, conservation, and transportation of energy. Nonenergy benefits exist in three overarching categories: participant nonenergy benefits, utility nonenergy benefits, and societal nonenergy benefits.
(c) Participant nonenergy benefits accrue to the program participants, including, but not limited to, reduced building or home operating costs, lower energy burden, increased property value, improved health, safety, and comfort, educational opportunities, increased energy reliability and household resilience, asset ownership, and beneficial fuel switching.
(d) Utility nonenergy benefits accrue as indirect costs or savings to the utility, including, but not limited to, bill payment improvements and reduced arrearages, reduced bad debt, infrastructure savings, improved fire safety, system resilience, and increased reliability for customers.
(e) Societal nonenergy benefits represent indirect program effects beyond those realized by ratepayers, the utility, or participants, and they accrue to society at large, including, but not limited to, quality local job creation, economic development, growth of tax receipts, increased community resilience, increased labor productivity, lower energy costs, increased property values, neighborhood stability, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, improved air quality and other environmental benefits, avoided short- and long-term displacement, improved fire safety, development of and access to new technologies, improved public health and reduced health care costs, meaningful community engagement, community pride, ratepayer satisfaction through thoughtful equity and inclusion, reduced water use, and reduced reliance on fossil fuels.
(f) Incorporating nonenergy benefits produces greater benefits to all ratepayers by increasing the societal benefits produced by public funds. Incorporating and tracking these benefits supports investments essential to California’s transition to a clean energy economy.

SEC. 2.

 Section 383 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Distributed energy resources” means distributed renewable generation resources, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric vehicles, and demand response technologies.
(2) “Environmental and social justice communities” means communities identified as disadvantaged communities pursuant to Section 39711 of the Health and Safety Code.
(b) The commission shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish common definitions of nonenergy benefits and attempt to determine consistent values for use in all distributed energy resource programs.
(2) Meaningfully consider producing nonenergy benefits in distributed energy resource programs and projects.
(3) Incorporate nonenergy benefits in distributed energy resource programs and projects in environmental and social justice communities.
(4) Track those benefits the nonenergy benefits produced in distributed energy resource programs during program evaluations.