Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 1. REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES [201 - 3260]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

PART 1. PUBLIC UTILITIES ACT [201 - 2120]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 2.3. Electrical Restructuring [330 - 400]

  ( Chapter 2.3 added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 854, Sec. 10. )

ARTICLE 7. Research, Environmental, and Low-Income Funds [381 - 384.5]
  ( Article 7 added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 854, Sec. 10. )

381.
  

(a) To ensure that the funding for the programs described in subdivision (b) and Section 382 are not commingled with other revenues, the commission shall require each electrical corporation to identify a separate rate component to collect the revenues used to fund these programs. The rate component shall be a nonbypassable element of the local distribution service and collected on the basis of usage.

(b) The commission shall allocate funds collected pursuant to subdivision (a), and any interest earned on collected funds, to programs that enhance system reliability and provide in-state benefits as follows:

(1) Cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation activities.

(2) Public interest research and development not adequately provided by competitive and regulated markets.

(3) In-state operation and development of existing and new and emerging eligible renewable energy resources, as defined in Section 399.12.

(c) The Public Utilities Commission shall order the respective electrical corporations to collect and spend these funds at the levels and for the purposes required in Section 399.8.

(d) Each electrical corporation shall allow customers to make voluntary contributions through their utility bill payments as either a fixed amount or a variable amount to support programs established pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b). Funds collected by electrical corporations for these purposes shall be forwarded in a timely manner to the appropriate fund as specified by the commission.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 512, Sec. 19. Effective September 27, 2006.)

381.1.
  

(a) No later than July 15, 2003, the commission shall establish policies and procedures by which any party, including, but not limited to, a local entity that establishes a community choice aggregation program, may apply to become administrators for cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs established pursuant to Section 381. In determining whether to approve an application to become administrators and subject to an aggregator’s right to elect to become an administrator pursuant to subdivision (f), the commission shall consider the value of program continuity and planning certainty and the value of allowing competitive opportunities for potentially new administrators. The commission shall weigh the benefits of the party’s proposed program to ensure that the program meets the following objectives:

(1) Is consistent with the goals of the existing programs established pursuant to Section 381.

(2) Advances the public interest in maximizing cost-effective electricity savings and related benefits.

(3) Accommodates the need for broader statewide or regional programs.

(b) All audit and reporting requirements established by the commission pursuant to Section 381 and other statutes shall apply to the parties chosen as administrators under this section.

(c) If a community choice aggregator is not the administrator of energy efficiency and conservation programs for which its customers are eligible, the commission shall require the administrator of cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs to direct a proportional share of its approved energy efficiency program activities for which the community choice aggregator’s customers are eligible, to the community choice aggregator’s territory without regard to customer class. To the extent that energy efficiency and conservation programs are targeted to specific locations to avoid or defer transmission or distribution system upgrades, the targeted expenditures shall continue irrespective of whether the loads in those locations are served by an aggregator or by an electrical corporation. The commission shall also direct the administrator to work with the community choice aggregator, to provide advance information where appropriate about the likely impacts of energy efficiency programs and to accommodate any unique community program needs by placing more, or less, emphasis on particular approved programs to the extent that these special shifts in emphasis in no way diminish the effectiveness of broader statewide or regional programs. If the community choice aggregator proposes energy efficiency programs other than programs already approved for implementation in its territory, it shall do so under established commission policies and procedures. The commission may order an adjustment to the share of energy efficiency program activities directed to a community choice aggregator’s territory if necessary to ensure an equitable and cost-effective allocation of energy efficiency program activities.

(d) The commission shall establish an impartial process for making the determination of whether a third party, including a community choice aggregator, may become administrators for cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs pursuant to subdivision (a), and shall not delegate or otherwise transfer the commission’s authority to make this determination for a community choice aggregator to an electrical corporation.

(e) The impartial process established by the commission shall allow a registered community choice aggregator to elect to become the administrator of funds collected from the aggregator’s electric service customers and collected through a nonbypassable charge authorized by the commission, for cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs, except those funds collected for broader statewide and regional programs authorized by the commission.

(f) A community choice aggregator electing to become an administrator shall submit a plan, approved by its governing board, to the commission for the administration of cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs for the aggregator’s electric service customers that includes funding requirements, a program description, a cost-effectiveness analysis, and the duration of the program. The commission shall certify that the plan submitted does all of the following:

(1) Is consistent with the goals of the programs established pursuant to this section and Section 399.4.

(2) Advances the public interest in maximizing cost-effective electricity savings and related benefits.

(3) Accommodates the need for broader statewide or regional programs.

(4) Includes audit and reporting requirements consistent with the audit and reporting requirements established by the commission pursuant to this section.

(5) Includes evaluation, measurement, and verification protocols established by the community choice aggregator.

(6) Includes performance metrics regarding the community choice aggregator’s achievement of the objectives listed in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, and in any previous plan.

(g) If the commission does not certify the plan for the administration of cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs submitted by a community choice aggregator pursuant to subdivision (f), the community choice aggregator electing to administer these programs may submit an amended plan to the commission for certification. No moneys may be released to a community choice aggregator unless the commission certifies the plan pursuant to subdivision (f).

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 162, Sec. 155. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2013.)

381.2.
  

(a) (1) The commission shall investigate the ability of electrical corporations and gas corporations to provide various energy efficiency financing options to their customers for the purposes of implementing the program developed pursuant to Section 25943 of the Public Resources Code.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission implement this section by establishing applicable rules, within a reasonable period of time and in an open process, that are clear and operate on a prospective basis.

(b) Recognizing the already underway 2015 commission work to adopt efficiency potential and goals, the Energy Commission work on its 2015 energy demand forecast, and the need to determine how to incorporate meter-based performance into determinations of goals, portfolio cost-effectiveness, and authorized budgets, the commission, in a separate or existing proceeding, shall, by September 1, 2016, authorize electrical corporations or gas corporations to provide financial incentives, rebates, technical assistance, and support to their customers to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings based on all estimated energy savings and energy usage reductions, taking into consideration the overall reduction in normalized metered energy consumption as a measure of energy savings. Those programs shall include energy usage reductions resulting from the adoption of a measure or installation of equipment required for modifications to existing buildings to bring them into conformity with, or exceed, the requirements of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, as well as operational, behavioral, and retrocommissioning activities reasonably expected to produce multiyear savings. The commission shall authorize an electrical corporation and gas corporation to count all energy savings achieved through the authorized programs created by this subdivision, unless determined otherwise, toward overall energy efficiency goals or targets established by the commission. The commission may adjust the energy efficiency goals or targets of an electrical corporation and gas corporation to reflect this change in savings estimation consistent with this subdivision and subdivision (d).

(c) Effective January 1, 2016, electrical corporations and gas corporations are authorized to implement the provisions of subdivision (b) for high opportunity projects or programs. The commission shall provide expedited authorization of high opportunity projects and programs to apply the savings baseline provisions in subdivision (b).

(d) In furtherance of subdivision (b), the commission, in consultation with the Energy Commission, shall consider all of the following:

(1) The results of any interagency baseline assessment.

(2) Any available results from electrical corporation and gas corporation baseline pilot studies ordered in commission Decision 14-10-046 (October 24, 2014), Decision Establishing Energy Efficiency Savings Goals and Approving 2015 Energy Efficiency Programs and Budgets.

(3) Information necessary to ensure consistency with the energy forecast and planning functions of the Energy Commission and the Independent System Operator.

(e) The commission may direct electrical corporations and gas corporations to make filings that are necessary to ensure coordination with the energy forecast and planning functions of the Energy Commission and the Independent System Operator.

(f) The commission shall prioritize energy efficiency activities consistent with Sections 454.55 and 454.56.

(g) (1) This subdivision shall impose the operative requirements pursuant to this section for custom projects and other custom programs for industrial, agricultural, commercial, residential, and public sector customers. This subdivision shall become operative on July 1, 2019, and shall apply only to those programs and projects.

(A) The commission shall authorize electrical corporations and gas corporations to provide financial incentives, rebates, technical assistance, and support to their customers to increase the energy efficiency of industrial, agricultural, commercial, residential, and public sector customers based on nationally recognized measurement and verification standards, such as the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol.

(B) All energy savings achieved through the programs authorized pursuant to this subdivision shall count toward the overall energy efficiency goals or targets established by the commission for an electrical corporation, gas corporation, or program administrator.

(C) The commission may adjust the energy efficiency goals or targets of an electrical corporation or gas corporation to reflect a change in the forecast energy savings consistent with this subdivision and subdivision (d).

(2) The commission shall develop and maintain rules for custom energy efficiency projects that include eligibility criteria and other metrics for determining whether a project is eligible for funding pursuant to the program.

(A) The commission shall review and circulate for public review and comment statewide eligibility criteria or metrics at least 30 days prior to changes, including posting on the commission’s Internet Web site.

(B) After the initial 30-day period for public review and comment, any changes to the initial proposed eligibility criteria or metrics shall be circulated for public review for not less than 15 days prior to final adoption.

(C) Once eligibility criteria or metrics are adopted, any proposed revision shall be circulated for public review and comment for not less than 30 days prior to a revision. For these purposes, grammatical corrections or other nonsubstantive modifications are not a revision and may be made when the need for the correction or modification is discovered.

(D) Statewide eligibility criteria or metrics shall operate only on a prospective basis, shall be applied uniformly and consistently by each electrical corporation and gas corporation, and shall not be applied retroactively to any pending or approved applications.

(E) Any delay in the adoption of eligibility criteria or metrics past July 1, 2019, shall not be the basis for denial of any application nor a basis to suspend the program.

(3) (A) The rules adopted by the commission for custom energy efficiency projects shall require each electrical corporation and gas corporation to maintain a custom measure project archive. The commission shall develop and maintain requirements for what information is to be included in the custom measure project archive, including information required to support the applications of customers’ custom energy efficiency projects.

(B) (i) Upon being notified of the filing of a new application, or that a proposed project has moved from the preapplication stage to the application stage, the commission shall make a determination of whether the application has been selected for review within 15 days and notify the electrical corporation or gas corporation of its decision to review.

(ii) The electrical corporation or gas corporation shall make the project application supporting documentation available to the commission for review within 15 business days of the commission review selection date. The commission shall develop and maintain requirements for what information is to be included in the custom measure project archive for those customer projects selected for review.

(iii) The commission shall, within 15 days of the submission of a project to the custom measure project archive, promptly notify an electrical corporation or gas corporation of any deficiency in the information supporting an application.

(iv) The review of a proposed project shall be concluded within 30 business days from when the date a project’s documentation is received by the commission, unless the commission determines it was provided incomplete or inaccurate supporting information from the electrical corporation or gas corporation, and notifies the electrical corporation and gas corporation of the need for additional review time. The 30 business days will restart from the time complete and accurate documentation, as noted in the notification of deficiencies, is submitted by the electrical corporation or gas corporation. The electrical corporation or gas corporation shall notify the customer applicant within 48 hours of any delays as a result of incomplete or inaccurate supporting project information, or if the commission needs additional review time.

(C) The commission shall notify the electrical corporation or gas corporation of the specific deficiencies in the information supporting an application, including each basis as to why the project is inconsistent with the eligibility criteria and metrics, which may include failure to adequately define the project, make specific recommendations for the conditions under which the project would be approved, and, if the application fails to adequately define the project, identify aspects of the project that require further definition.

(D) If, as a result of the review, the commission rejects the proposed project or requests modification of the project, the commission shall notify the electrical corporation or gas corporation of the reasons for the rejection or request for modification, including each basis as to why the project is rejected or modification is requested, and make specific recommendations for the conditions under which the project would be approved. The electrical corporation or gas corporation shall promptly inform the applicant as to the reasons why the project was rejected and the specific recommendations for the conditions under which the project would be approved.

(E) The commission shall not reject a proposed project or request modification of a project on the basis of inconsistency with eligibility criteria or metrics that were not in effect at the time the project application was submitted.

(F) If any party to the project is unsatisfied with the commission’s directions for the project, a dispute resolution process may be initiated by that party. The commission shall adopt rules for the conduct of the dispute resolution process.

(G) If a project is not selected by the commission for review within the period determined pursuant to subparagraph (B), or if a project has not received written direction from the commission within the period specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (B), the commission shall be deemed to have waived review of the project and the project may proceed as if it had been approved by the commission, but the project shall still be subject to the review of the electrical or gas corporation.

(4) (A) For projects that were not reviewed and did not receive written documentation, as specified in subparagraph (G) of paragraph (3), an electrical corporation or gas corporation may rely on its project application review process to determine the forecast energy savings values for the project based on rules adopted by the commission, and base the final customer incentive payment and contractor pay-for-performance payment on postinstallation measurement and verification results.

(B) The commission may employ postinstallation review of a project to determine if the project was carried out consistent with the application and to obtain information pertaining to whether the eligibility criteria or metrics should be revised.

(5) Except as described in paragraph (2), nothing in this subdivision limits the commission’s existing authority to evaluate projects or programs for the purpose of prospectively adjusting the projects or programs for industrial and agricultural processes, facilities, systems, and equipment.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 562, Sec. 1. (SB 1131) Effective January 1, 2019.)

381.4.
  

The commission shall require an electrical or gas corporation to revise a ratepayer-funded energy efficiency program identified pursuant to Section 913.9 as necessary to ensure that the program complements and does not duplicate a program administered by a state agency.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 425, Sec. 1. (SB 385) Effective January 1, 2018.)

381.5.
  

It is the intent of the Legislature to protect and strengthen the current network of community service providers by doing the following:

(a) Directing that any evaluation of the effectiveness of the low-income energy efficiency programs shall be based not solely on cost criteria, but also on the degree to which the provision of services allows maximum program accessibility to quality programs to low-income communities by entities that have demonstrated performance in effectively delivering services to the communities.

(b) Ensuring that high quality, low-income energy efficiency programs are delivered to the maximum number of eligible participants at a reasonable cost.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 700, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

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 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 electric and gas customers who are unable to pay their electric 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 electric and gas providers from offering any special rate or program for low-income ratepayers that is not specifically required in this section.

(d) Beginning in 2002, 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 periodic assessment shall be made not less often than every third year. The assessment shall evaluate low-income program implementation and the effectiveness of weatherization services and energy efficiency measures in low-income households. The assessment shall consider whether existing programs adequately address low-income electricity and gas customers’ energy expenditures, hardship, language needs, and economic burdens.

(e) 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.

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.

(f) The commission shall allocate funds necessary to meet the low-income objectives in this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 611, Sec. 1. (AB 327) Effective January 1, 2014.)

382.1.
  

(a) There is hereby established a Low-Income Oversight Board that shall advise the commission on low-income electric, gas, and water customer issues and shall serve as a liaison for the commission to low-income ratepayers and representatives. The Low-Income Oversight Board shall replace the Low-Income Advisory Board in existence on January 1, 2000. The Low-Income Oversight Board shall do all of the following to advise the commission regarding the commission’s duties:

(1) Monitor and evaluate implementation of all programs provided to low-income electricity, gas, and water customers.

(2) Assist in the development and analysis of any assessments of low-income customer need.

(3) Encourage collaboration between state and utility programs for low-income electricity and gas customers to maximize the leverage of state and federal energy efficiency funds to both lower the bills and increase the comfort of low-income customers.

(4) Provide reports to the Legislature, as requested, summarizing the assessment of need, audits, and analysis of program implementation.

(5) Assist in streamlining the application and enrollment process of programs for low-income electricity and gas customers with general low-income programs, including, but not limited to, the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service (ULTS) program and, including compliance with Section 739.1.

(6) Encourage the usage of the network of community service providers in accordance with Section 381.5.

(b) The Low-Income Oversight Board shall be comprised of 11 members to be selected as follows:

(1) Five members selected by the commission who have expertise in the low-income community and who are not affiliated with any state agency or utility group. These members shall be selected in a manner to ensure an equitable geographic distribution.

(2) One member selected by the Governor.

(3) One member selected by the commission who is a commissioner or commissioner designee.

(4) One member selected by the Department of Community Services and Development.

(5) One member selected by the commission who is a representative of private weatherization contractors.

(6) One member selected by the commission who is a representative of an electrical or gas corporation.

(7) One member selected by the commission who is a representative of a water corporation.

(c) The Low-Income Oversight Board shall alternate meeting locations between northern, central, and southern California.

(d) The Low-Income Oversight Board may establish a technical advisory committee consisting of low-income service providers, utility representatives, consumer organizations, and commission staff, to assist the board and may request utility representatives and commission staff to assist the technical advisory committee.

(e) The commission shall do all of the following in conjunction with the board:

(1) Work with the board, interested parties, and community-based organizations to increase participation in programs for low-income customers.

(2) Provide technical support to the board.

(3) Ensure that the energy burden of low-income electricity and gas customers is reduced.

(4) Provide formal notice of board meetings in the commission’s daily calendar.

(f) (1) Members of the board and members of the technical advisory committee shall be eligible for compensation in accordance with state guidelines for necessary travel.

(2) Members of the board and members of the technical advisory committee who are not salaried state service employees shall be eligible for reasonable compensation for attendance at board meetings.

(3) All reasonable costs incurred by the board in carrying out its duties pursuant to subdivision (a), including staffing, travel, and administrative costs, shall be reimbursed through the public utilities reimbursement account and shall be part of the budget of the commission and the commission shall consult with the board in the preparation of that portion of the commission’s annual proposed budget.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 662, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2006.)

384.
  

(a) Funds transferred to the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission pursuant to this article for purposes of public interest research, development, and demonstration shall be transferred to the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury. The fund is a trust fund and shall contain money from all interest, repayments, disencumbrances, royalties, and any other proceeds appropriated, transferred, or otherwise received for purposes pertaining to public interest research, development, and demonstration. Any appropriations that are made from the fund shall have an encumbrance period of not longer than two years, and a liquidation period of not longer than four years.

(b) Funds deposited in the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Fund may be expended for projects that serve the energy needs of both stationary and transportation purposes if the research provides an electricity ratepayer benefit.

(c) The State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission shall report annually to the appropriate budget committees of the Legislature on any encumbrances or liquidations that are outstanding at the time the commission’s budget is submitted to the Legislature for review.

(Amended by Stats. 2005, Ch. 91, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2006.)

384.5.
  

(a) On or before March 1, 2014, the commission shall order electrical corporations to submit, on or before July 1, 2015, a tariff to be used, at the discretion of local governments, to fund energy efficiency improvements in street light poles owned by the electrical corporations to ensure reduced energy consumption for local governments who are streetlight customers covered by these tariffs.

(b) The tariff shall be designed to allow local governments to remit the cost of the improvement through the tariff over time, resulting in reduced energy consumption, without shifting costs to nonparticipating ratepayers. The cost of the improvement shall be identified separately rather than included within the charge for electrical service.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), the improvement performed pursuant to the tariff submitted under subdivision (a) shall be eligible for any rebate or incentives available through ratepayer-funded programs intended to increase energy efficiency.

(d) The electrical corporation that owns the street light poles shall install or otherwise make the energy efficiency improvements selected by the local government with an appropriately trained workforce in accordance with all applicable safety orders of the commission.

(e) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Electrical corporation” means an electrical corporation, as defined in Section 218, with at least 100,000 service connections in California.

(2) “Street light pole” means a pole, arm, or fixture used primarily for street, pedestrian, or security lighting.

(Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 616, Sec. 2. (AB 719) Effective January 1, 2014.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC