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AB-803 Energy: low-income energy efficiency programs.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/13/2017 09:00 PM
AB803:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 13, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 25, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 04, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 14, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 803


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Sections 382 and 2790 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 803, as amended, Quirk. Energy: low-income energy-efficiency programs: weatherization. energy efficiency programs.
(1) Existing law requires the Public Utilities Commission to establish programs to assist low-income electricity and gas customers, including the California Alternate Rates for Energy or CARE program. customers. Existing law requires the commission, not less often than every 3rd year, to conduct an assessment of the needs of low-income electricity and gas ratepayers. Existing law requires the assessment to evaluate low-income program implementation and the effectiveness of weatherization services and energy efficiency measures in low-income households. Existing law requires the assessment to consider whether existing programs adequately address low-income electricity and gas customers’ energy expenditures, hardships, language needs, and economic burdens.
This bill would require the commission to conduct the a new assessment not less often than every 5th year, instead of every 3rd year. The bill would require the assessment to additionally evaluate the impacts of low-income programs on low-income households and to consider whether available technologies, in combination with existing programs, adequately address those low-income electricity and gas customers’ concerns. The bill would require the assessment to measure the overall participation rates of low-income electricity and gas customers in existing low-income programs for which they are eligible.
This bill would require the commission to consider whether the eligibility requirements for low-income programs should be changed to better serve in-need populations and to maximize the effectiveness of moneys spent through those programs.
(2) Existing law requires the commission, by December 31, 2020, to ensure that all eligible low-income electricity and gas customers are given the opportunity to participate in low-income energy efficiency programs. Existing law requires these programs to be designed to provide long-term reductions in energy consumption at the dwelling unit, and authorizes the programs to include improved insulation, energy efficient appliances, measures that utilize solar energy, and other improvements to the physical structure.
This bill would require the entities administering the programs to also consider the reductions to greenhouse gas emissions and benefits to air quality that may result from facilitating customer fuel switching that will not increase the average energy costs to a program’s participants.

(2)

(3) Existing law requires an electrical or gas corporation to perform home weatherization services for low-income customers if the commission determines that a significant need for those services exists in the corporation’s service territory. For these purposes, existing law authorizes weatherization to include, where feasible, specified measures for a dwelling unit and other building conservation measures, energy management technology, energy-efficient appliances, and energy education programs, as specified.
This bill would require that, to the extent feasible they are feasible, reduce hardships, and are cost effective, those measures reflect the most current and relevant available knowledge and technologies, where applicable. The bill would also require the commission to ensure that its proceeding schedule does not limit an electrical or gas corporation’s ability to provide those measures, as applicable.

(3)

(4) Because the bill would require the commission to impose new requirements on electrical and gas corporations and a violation of any part of any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime, this 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.

 Section 382 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

382.
 (a) Programs provided to low-income electricity customers, including, but not limited to, targeted energy-efficiency services and the California Alternate Rates for Energy program program, shall be funded at not less than 1996 authorized levels based on an assessment of customer need.
(b) In order to meet legitimate needs of electricity and gas customers who are unable to pay their electricity and gas bills and who satisfy eligibility criteria for assistance, recognizing that electricity is a basic necessity and that all residents of the state should be able to afford essential electricity and gas supplies, the commission shall ensure that low-income ratepayers are not jeopardized or overburdened by monthly energy expenditures. Energy expenditure may be reduced through the establishment of different rates for low-income ratepayers, different levels of rate assistance, and energy efficiency programs.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit electricity and gas providers from offering any special rate or program for low-income ratepayers that is not specifically required in this section.
(d) (1) An assessment of the needs of low-income electricity and gas ratepayers shall be conducted periodically by the commission with the assistance of the Low-Income Oversight Board. A new periodic assessment shall be made not less often than every fifth year. The assessment shall evaluate low-income program implementation and impacts on low-income households, and the effectiveness of weatherization services and energy efficiency measures in low-income households. The assessment shall consider whether existing programs and available technologies adequately address low-income electricity and gas customers’ energy expenditures, hardships, language needs, and economic burdens. The
(2) The assessment shall measure the overall participation rates of low-income electricity and gas customers in existing low-income programs for which they are eligible.
(3) The commission shall consider whether the eligibility requirements for low-income programs should be changed to better serve in-need populations and to maximize the effectiveness of moneys spent through those programs.
(e) (1) The commission shall, by not later than December 31, 2020, ensure that all eligible low-income electricity and gas customers are given the opportunity to participate in low-income energy efficiency programs, including customers occupying apartments or similar multiunit residential structures. The commission and electrical corporations and gas corporations shall make all reasonable efforts to coordinate ratepayer-funded programs with other energy conservation and efficiency programs and to obtain additional federal funding to support actions undertaken pursuant to this subdivision.
(2) These programs shall be designed to provide long-term reductions in energy consumption at the dwelling unit based on an audit or assessment of the dwelling unit, and may include improved insulation, energy efficient appliances, measures that utilize solar energy, and other improvements to the physical structure.
(3) To the extent consistent with proper treatment of ratepayers, the entities administering low-income energy efficiency programs shall also consider the reductions to greenhouse gas emissions and benefits to air quality that may result from facilitating customer fuel switching, as applicable, that will not increase the average energy costs to a program’s participants.
(f) The commission shall allocate funds necessary to meet the low-income objectives in this section.

SEC. 2.

 Section 2790 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

2790.
 (a) The commission shall require an electrical or gas corporation to perform home weatherization services for low-income customers, as determined by the commission under Section 739, if the commission determines that a significant need for those services exists in the corporation’s service territory, taking into consideration both the policy of reducing the hardships facing low-income households and the cost-effectiveness of the services.
(b) (1) For purposes of this section, “weatherization” may include, where feasible, any of the following measures for any dwelling unit:
(A) Attic insulation.
(B) Caulking.
(C) Weatherstripping.
(D) Low flow showerhead.
(E) Waterheater blanket.
(F) Door and building envelope repairs that reduce air infiltration.
(2) The commission shall direct any electrical or gas corporation to provide as many of these measures as are feasible for each eligible low-income dwelling unit.
(c) “Weatherization” may also include other building conservation measures, energy management technology, energy-efficient appliances, and energy education programs determined by the commission to be feasible, taking into consideration for all measures both the cost-effectiveness of the measures as a whole and the policy of reducing energy-related hardships facing low-income households. households and the cost-effectiveness of the measures as a whole.
(d) Weatherization programs shall use the needs assessment pursuant to Section 382.1 to maximize efficiency of delivery.
(e) For purposes of this section, “energy management technology” may include a product, service, or software that allows a customer to better understand and manage electricity or gas use in the customer’s home.
(f) To the extent feasible it is feasible, reduces hardships, and is cost effective, measures a measure provided pursuant to this section shall reflect the most current and relevant available knowledge and technologies, where applicable. The commission shall ensure that its proceeding schedule does not limit an electrical or gas corporation’s ability to provide these measures, as applicable.

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.