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AB-354 Energy efficient appliance rebate program.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/18/2021 09:00 PM
AB354:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 354


Introduced by Assembly Member Cooper

January 28, 2021


An act to amend Section 769.5 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to public utilities. add and repeal Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 25970) of Division 15 of the Public Resources Code, relating to energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 354, as amended, Cooper. Public Utilities Commission: expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process. Energy efficient appliance rebate program.
The existing Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act establishes the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission and requires the commission to prescribe, by regulation, standards for minimum levels of operating efficiency to promote the use of energy- and water-efficient appliances whose use requires a significant amount of energy or water on a statewide basis. Existing law requires that the minimum levels of operating efficiency be based on feasible and attainable efficiencies or feasible improved efficiencies that will reduce the energy or water consumption growth rates. Existing law prohibits a new appliance manufactured on or after the effective date of the standards to be sold or offered for sale in the state unless it is certified by the manufacturer thereof to be in compliance with the standards. Existing law requires the commission to administer various programs to improve energy efficiency.
This bill would require the commission, by July 1, 2022, to create a 3-year appliance rebate program to provide eligible residential customers of an electric utility or gas utility with monetary incentives to purchase new appliances that meet energy star or similar energy efficiency standards approved by the commission. The bill would limit eligibility for the program to those customers with annual household incomes that are no greater than 200% of the federal poverty guideline levels. The bill would limit rebates to appliances purchased for an eligible customer’s primary residence and limit a customer to no more than 3 rebates during the term of the program. The requirements of the bill would become operative upon the appropriation of sufficient funds in the Budget Act to implement the bill’s requirements.

Existing law places various duties upon the Public Utilities Commission with respect to distributed generation, and requires each electrical corporation to submit to the commission for its approval a distribution resources plan proposal to identify optimal locations for the deployment of distributed resources. Existing law authorizes the commission to establish an expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process, with the goal of resolving disputes over interconnection applications within the jurisdiction of the commission in no more than 60 days from the time the dispute is formally brought to the commission.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to the provision authorizing the commission to establish an expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (Chapter 547 of the Statutes of 2015) set the ambitious statewide goal of doubling energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas used by retail end-use customers by January 1, 2030. This includes through programs that provide financial incentives, rebates, technical assistance, and support to energy customers.
(b) Doing laundry and cooking can each make up 4 percent of household energy consumption, and refrigeration can consume as much as 20 percent. Household appliances are large consumers of energy, which presents an opportunity to reduce statewide energy consumption by switching out old household appliances for new ones that meet more stringent energy efficiency standards.
(c) Residential customers are price-sensitive with respect to purchasing appliances, and the economic impacts of COVID-19 have exacerbated that sensitivity for many Californians.
(d) Appliance rebates can help working individuals and families make the transition to more efficient household appliances, which would help reduce statewide energy consumption, save households money, and stimulate the economy through appliance purchases.
(e) The Legislature hereby directs the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to create a rebate program for household appliances to meaningfully stimulate adoption of new, more efficient appliances.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 25970) is added to Division 15 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER  11.5. Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program

25970.
 (a) By July 1, 2022, the commission shall create a three-year appliance rebate program to provide eligible residential customers of an electric utility or gas utility with monetary incentives to purchase new appliances that meet energy star or similar energy efficiency standards approved by the commission. Customers with annual household incomes that are no greater than 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline levels shall be eligible for the program. In administering the program, the commission shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish a rebate level for each appliance product type.
(2) Define how the rebates will be processed, including a digital option for rebate applications and rebate delivery to customers.
(3) Create a plan for recycling old, replaced appliances.
(4) Determine energy efficiency requirements for those appliances that are eligible for rebates.
(b) (1) Eligible customers shall receive a rebate, in an amount to be determined by the commission, of up to three hundred dollars ($300) per eligible appliance.
(2) Eligible customers may redeem no more than three rebates during the term of the program.
(3) Eligible customers shall receive an additional twenty-five dollars ($25) incentive for recycling each replaced appliance.
(c) Appliances eligible under the rebate program shall include:
(1) Refrigerators.
(2) Washers.
(3) Dryers.
(4) Dishwashers.
(5) Ovens and cooktops.
(6) Other appliances that meet energy consumption or energy efficiency thresholds, as determined by the commission.
(d) The rebate program shall allow use of the rebate for the purchase of new gas appliances that meet energy efficiency standards pursuant to this section.
(e) Rebates shall only be applicable to appliance purchases for an eligible customer’s primary residence.
(f) There shall be no cost or rate increase to ratepayers in implementing this program.
(g) This section shall become operative upon the appropriation of sufficient funds in the Budget Act to implement this section.

25971.
 This chapter shall become inoperative on July 1, 2025, and, as of January 1, 2026, is repealed.

SECTION 1.Section 769.5 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:
769.5.

(a)The commission may establish an expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process with the goal of resolving disputes over interconnection applications that are within the jurisdiction of the commission in no more than 60 days from the time the dispute is formally brought to the commission. If the commission establishes an expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process, the commission may provide exceptions to the 60-day time period when more than 60 days are needed to fairly and safely address a dispute.

(b)The expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process shall include the following elements:

(1)A distribution grid interconnection technical panel consisting of at least eight individuals selected by the commission. Four of the technical panel members shall be from electrical corporations and four shall not be from electrical corporations. The commission shall determine the length of the term of each member. A member shall not participate as a review panel member for the dispute resolution process for a contested interconnection application in any of the following situations:

(A)The member is an employee of, a contractor to, or an employee of a contractor to, an electrical corporation to which the contested interconnection application has been submitted.

(B)The member is the applicant, an installer, or an employee of an installer for the applicant, or a third-party electricity purchase agreement provider for the applicant.

(C)The member has a direct financial interest in the contested interconnection application.

(2)A review panel of four members shall be selected from the technical panel for each dispute.

(3)If an applicant is unable to resolve an interconnection-related dispute after working with the electrical corporation operating the distribution grid, the applicant may seek resolution of the dispute using the commission’s expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process.

(4)Upon agreeing to a final settlement of the dispute, parties shall be free to withdraw from the expedited distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process.

(5)If the dispute is filed with the commission, the commission shall ensure that the review panel shall review the dispute and make a recommendation to the executive director of the commission within 30 days of receiving the dispute.

(6)The commission shall establish a public process to allow the electrical corporation, the applicant, and other interested parties to file written comments on the recommendation of the review panel.

(7)The review panel shall request appropriate documents from the electrical corporation involved in the dispute, including, but not limited to, interconnection application studies.

(8)The scope of the review panel’s review shall be limited to issues regarding compliance with the established interconnection rules. Any recommendations shall ensure safe and reliable interconnection.

(9)The scope of the review panel’s review is limited to making recommendations to resolve specific customer disputes and recommending associated corrective actions, and the panel shall have no authority to assess penalties.

(10)Upon receipt of the recommendation from the review panel, the executive director shall have 30 days to review the recommendation and to prepare an order to the electrical corporation resolving the dispute. If the review panel cannot agree on recommendations, then each recommendation of a review panel member shall be submitted to the executive director, who shall make the decision resolving the dispute.

(11)An interested person seeking commission review of the executive director’s determination shall file the request for review within 10 days of the determination. Upon receipt of the request for review, the executive director or the energy division director shall prepare a proposed resolution of the matter for approval by the commission.

(c)The commission shall provide the members of the technical panel who are not from electrical corporations with an appropriate per diem compensation consistent with Section 19822.5 of the Government Code.

(d)The commission shall appoint a qualified electrical systems engineer with substantial interconnection expertise to advise the director of the energy division and shall provide adequate commission staff to assist in resolving interconnection disputes.