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SB-524 Energy efficiency programs: workforce requirements.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/13/2019 09:00 PM
SB524:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  August 13, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 08, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 524


Introduced by Senator Stern

February 21, 2019


An act to add Section 454.58 to the Public Utilities Code, relating to energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 524, as amended, Stern. Energy efficiency programs: workforce requirements.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including electrical corporations. Existing law provides for the commission to administer and oversee the implementation of various energy efficiency programs. Existing law requires the commission to identify all potentially achievable cost-effective electricity efficiency savings, to establish efficiency targets for an electrical corporation to achieve, to ensure that there are sufficient moneys available to electrical corporations to meet those efficiency targets, and to undertake a comprehensive review of the feasibility, costs, barriers, and benefits of achieving a cumulative doubling of energy efficiency savings and demand reduction by 2030, as specified.
This bill would require the commission, if an energy efficiency program program, other than a project to install, modify, repair, replace, or maintain a solar thermal system or solar energy system, contributes $50,000 or more in ratepayer-funded incentives for energy efficiency projects within the same building, facility, or building complex, to require the energy efficiency program administrator or program implementer, as applicable, to ensure that the work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce. The bill would exclude any additional labor costs resulting from the use of a skilled and trained workforce for those energy efficiency programs from the project costs of the commission’s cost-effectiveness tests.
The Public Utilities Act makes any public utility that violates the Public Utilities Act, or that fails to comply with any part of any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission guilty of a crime.
Because the provisions of this bill would be a part of the act and because a violation of a commission action implementing its requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The lack of effective workforce standards in energy efficiency programs has resulted in ratepayers subsidizing poor quality work and has created a disincentive for contractors to invest in training and employing qualified workers.
(b) The State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission’s 2016 update to the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan Update adopted a goal to transform efficiency incentive work from a low-cost bidder framework to a lowest cost qualified bidder framework through the incorporation of workforce standards into energy efficiency program requirements.
(c) Section 388.2 of the Public Utilities Code requires qualified contractors for certain energy efficiency retrofit projects on state or local agency buildings to employ a “skilled and trained workforce.”
(d) Requiring similar workforce standards for all ratepayer-subsidized energy efficiency projects will increase energy savings and reduce the number of underperforming projects that waste ratepayer moneys.
(e) Workforce standards for utility energy efficiency programs have the potential to transform the installer marketplace by creating an economic incentive for contractors to invest in a trained and qualified workforce.
(f) Effective workforce standards require comprehensive hands-on and classroom training.
(g) Projects receiving large ratepayer-funded energy efficiency incentives have a heightened responsibility to ensure they are achieving maximum energy savings.
(h) Requiring a designated percentage of the workers on large ratepayer-subsidized energy efficiency projects to be graduates of an approved apprenticeship program is necessary to ensure that workers will have had appropriate hands-on, classroom, and laboratory instruction for this work through programs that have been reviewed and approved by the Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. Approved apprenticeship programs generally require over 1,000 hours of classroom and laboratory training and over 5,000 hours of on-the-job training.

SEC. 2.

 Section 454.58 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

454.58.
 (a) Where an energy efficiency program, including, but not limited to, a program administered pursuant to Section 381, 381.2, or 890, contributes fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more in ratepayer-funded incentives for energy efficiency projects within the same building, facility, or building complex, the commission shall require the energy efficiency program administrator or program implementer, as applicable, to ensure that the work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce in accordance with Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code. Any additional labor costs resulting from the use of a skilled and trained workforce in accordance with Chapter 2.9 (commencing with Section 2600) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code pursuant to this section shall be excluded from the project costs of the commission’s cost-effectiveness tests.
(b) For purposes of this section, “energy efficiency project” does not include the installation, modification, repair, replacement, or maintenance of solar thermal systems, as defined in Section 2861 as that section read on January 1, 2018, or a solar energy system as defined in Section 2852.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.