Stemming from the Council’s monthly meetings with Energy Division staff, the Council and Members were invited to serve as a panel at the July 11 Energy Efficiency Third-Party Solicitations Semi Annual Stakeholder Forum. Greg Wikler led a panel of three participants: Joanne O’Neill, Ying Wang, and Dan Stay to discuss challenges and opportunities re: solicitation timing improvements, bidder feedback processes, IOU contracting reforms, and DBE opportunities. The opportunity to serve as a panel at this venue represents a first for the Council and our Members.
Soon after the Forum, the CPUC solicited feedback on an extensive series of questions on directly relevant topics. The Council provided comments in response. Later in December, the CPUC issued a proposed decision that largely parallels the Council’s positions put forth in our comments and the Forum panel. The proposed decision represents (potential) wins on several key issues. However, there are a few matters that remain unresolved and the Council will continue working to address those while securing potential wins. Those key issues in the proposed decision include:
- Removing requirements for performance assurances as a starting point for contract negotiation;
- Requiring cybersecurity insurance only when deemed necessary;
- Removing the requirement for a two-stage solicitation process;
- Updating the definition of diverse business enterprise to include businesses owned by persons with disabilities;
- Updating terms and conditions to reflect the Total System Benefit metric;
- Clarifying financial conflict of interest rules for procurement review group members;
- Requiring a consistent methodology to account for administrative costs associated with third-party contracts;
- Allowing the use of strategic energy management approaches beyond the industrial sector; and
- Adopting data sharing requirements for Commission authorized energy efficiency programs
In late summer 2022, the Council collaborated with CPower to address significant concerns with the CPUC and Southern California Edison (SCE’s) late-filed and unanticipated movement of a report into evidence. The primary concern regarded the impacts of SCE’s filing the report: it changed the position of the joint parties on whether or not to pursue an evidentiary hearing. The Council and CPower jointly moved for expedited clarification of the ALJ’s email ruling on the issue, and ultimately, the report was removed as evidence, signaling a significant win for the Council and CPower in their collaborative efforts to uphold procedure and process.
Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification
The Council built on a good relationship with EM&V related CPUC staff. CPUC staff participated in a Council EM&V Quarterly meeting to solicit input and guidance from Council Members regarding how to better format and manage the CPUC’s Winter Quarterly Stakeholder meeting. Through extended collaboration, CPUC staff incorporated much of the Council and Members’ input to improve what and how information was shared during the EM&V Quarterly Stakeholder meeting, including a deeper dive on key utility reports (compared to previous brief “fly-bys” providing no substance on key reports) and greater opportunities for stakeholder Q&A.The Council looks forward to greater and ongoing collaboration with the CPUC on these issues.
Avoided Cost Calculator
In late summer, the CPUC adopted Resolution E-5228 updating the Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC) process and calculation. Most of the updates were supported by the Council and proved to be generally beneficial. Some key updates include:
- Eliminates minor updates in odd-numbered years.
- Requires biennial major update to allow for more opportunity for comment (informally). The process must begin in July.
- Must provide at least 6 weeks for review before ACC is adopted/updated.
- Adopts the practice of using the ACC to determine the increased supply costs of fuel substitution.
- Adds an additional avoided cost – the Avoided Gas Infrastructure Cost (AGIC), to be on a separate ACC spreadsheet tab and not included in the hourly marginal costs. The AGIC includes three categories of costs: i) mainline extensions; ii) service extension; and iii) meter.
- Adopts an interim natural gas-specific greenhouse gas adder, based on building electrification costs, using data contained in the California Energy Commission’s analysis on gas sector decarbonization to develop the value for the adder. The value will be reviewed in this Resolution.
Demand Flexibility Through Electric Rates (R.22-07-005)
The Council advocated for a streamlined and efficient process between proposed rulemaking tracks A (re: income-graduated fixed charge, etc.) and B (re: electric rate design principles and demand flexibility rate design principles) during our pre-hearing conference and post-prehearing conference. The CPUC’s schedule, as proposed in their OIR reflected the Council’s (and others’) guidance into account over the advocacy of the IOUs, laying forward a parallel process between both tracks. The Council continues to engage on this issue, including through comments and recently established Working Groups.
Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM)
Under A.22-05-002 et. al., the CPUC has issued a proposed decision to extend the DRAM pilot for another year. The Council submitted joint comments alongside CPower, Leapfrog Power, and Voltus supporting the proposed decision.