CCA Digest

CALIFORNIA Roundup, November 2015


A Message from LEAN’s Executive Director

As California’s CCA representatives prepare for participation in the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change, the recent tragedy in Paris has put the topics of the conference in tragic and immediate perspective.

It is no longer open to question that climate change is here and already affecting communities all over the world. Climate change will increasingly affect the availability of arable land, energy resources and water supplies, which will in turn impact food security and local economies. Scarcity and dramatic environmental changes disrupt stable political systems and create tensions that can evolve into war. We must stand up to the potential challenges climate change presents with concrete, collaborative action. And so we travel to Paris to share the effective, local climate solution that is community choice aggregation.

We look forward to reporting on the UN Conference on Climate during next month’s CCA Market Call on December 11. In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
Shawn Marshall signature
SDG&E Plans Independent Marketing Affiliate

On November 20, SDG&E filed an advice letter with the CPUC stating its intention to form an independent marketing division through its parent company, Sempra. To comply with State law, the affiliate’s marketing activity must be funded by shareholders (not ratepayers), and must comply with the Code of Conduct in terms of factual content and accuracy related to CCA information.
SDG&E proposes an effective date of December 21, 2015, although the CPUC could slow the process if it has concerns regarding compliance with Commission rules.
LEAN Energy and the CCA community are still reviewing the advice letter and discussing a coordinated response.  Protests are due to the CPUC byDecember 10, 2015.  Information about where to send protests is included in the SDG&E Advice Letter, which you can find here.

Update on CCA Program Developments in California
The City of Paradise in Butte County recently hosted a meeting on the County’s potential move toward CCA.

Dozens of other California communities continue to move ahead with technical studies, community outreach and program planning. The following provides highlights only– for more information about activities in other communities, get in touch with LEAN Energy.

Other updates …   

City / County of San Francisco  
Prop H passed with support of CleanPowerSF advocates: IBEW 1245 measure (Prop G) removed from ballot / defeated
Humboldt & Lake Counties   Plan to issue RFP for CCA technical and program services–week of November 16
San Mateo County   
Board of Supervisors passed CCA ordinance; JPA resolution to be heard on 11/17; October 2016 program launch
City of San Jose  
Business and local government outreach underway; may form as a single city
Los Angeles County / South Bay Cities  
County moving ahead with tech study and business plan. Hermosa Beach pursuing two options: form as a single city or join County’s effort
Contra Costa County  
Exploring program options: form county-wide JPA, join MCE or join Alameda County’s effort
Silicon Valley Clean Energy   
Tech study complete; outreach to other Santa Clara County cities underway with March 2016 deadline for passage of JPA resolutions and CCA ordinances. Plan for early 2017 launch
Monterey Bay Tri-Counties
Tech study complete in December; targeted summer 2017 launch

PG&E’s proposal to nearly double its PCIA in 2016 would affect the viability of existing CCAs as well as communities considering launch in 2016, and will hurt all CCA customers, especially low income customers. In the CPUC’s proceeding on this issue (A1506001), MCE and LEAN have opposed the drastic increase in the PCIA and proposed ways to stabilize the PCIA without hurting existing utility “bundled” customers.

On November 13, the CPUC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a proposed decision that would approve PG&E’s proposal and reject all proposals to reduce the impacts of the PCIA on CCA customers.Here is the link to the decision.


Click here for more detailed information including draft letters, where to send your letter, and an overview of the PCIA provided by MCE. Your letter must reach the CPUC Commissioners before December 17 when the Commission will vote on the decision or an alternative.
LEAN and the state’s CCAs will continue to work at the CPUC to assure fair cost allocations to CCA customers and policies that assure Californians get the benefit of customer choice and other benefits of CCA programs.

The Future of Behind-the-Meter Solar:
Net Energy Metering 2.0
CCAs care about solar power as a supply resource and as a way to serve their customers’ interests in local clean power and lower utility rates. All three of California’s operating CCAs have made a commitment to developing local solar as a way to support their local economies. One of the ways CCAs promote customer investments is to pay customers for the excess power they produce and deliver into the grid–called “net energy metering” (NEM).

NEM has been a successful incentive for investments in onsite solar projects by customers of CCAs and private utilities. The economics of investments in small solar systems, however, may be changing soon. The CPUC is currently considering changes to utility rates and NEM tariffs in response to AB 327, signed by the Governor in October 2013.

CCAs and CALSEIA (California Solar Energy Industry Association) report in on CCA NEM programs and utility proposals before the CPUC.
Sonoma Clean Power’s NEM Tariffs — Amy Rider, SCP Program Manager, describes SCP’s net metering tariff, called ProFit, which pays solar customers retail for excess power and permits customers to “cash out” their credits rather than rolling over credits to the following year (as PG&E does). SCP has so far paid out more than $200,000 to its customers, mostly to local schools, for the excess solar generation they have produced onsite.

Marin Clean Energy’s NEM Tariffs — Justin Kudo, MCE Customer Accounts Manager, reports that MCE has over 5,000 NEM accounts and customers may cash out their credits at any time. MCE pays the retail rate plus $.01/kwh as an incentive for its customers to produce solar power. Please see MCE’s updated NEM information here.
Utility Proposals to Change Solar NEM Payments and Other Rates 

California utilities have proposed some significant changes to NEM transmission charges that will affect CCA solar customers. As part of an elaborate rulemaking inquiry at the CPUC in response to AB 327PG&E, for example, has proposed changes that could cut into solar customer bill savings by more than 10%.  The most significant of these proposed changes include:
  • A “demand charge” on residential solar customers of $3/kilowatt/month (plus a new $10 minimum bill/month)
  • Reduced payments for power going into the grid from average 16.3 cents/kwh to 9.7 cents/kwh — effectively eliminating credits related to T&D for utility customers as well as CCA customers.
CALSEIA Response to Utility Proposals

CALSEIA’s Director of Policy, Brad Heavner, reports on solar industry concerns regarding proposed changes to net energy metering presented to the CPUC:

  • Utility estimates of bundled customer support for solar customer rates is about 8-9 cents, compared to CALSEIA’s estimate of about 1 cent;
  • For customers who invest in solar projects, utility proposals would increase payback period to as much as 20 years, compared to current payback of about 7 years;
  • The timing of the utility rate changes presents a negative double whammy for solar development– utility proposals are timed to coincide with the phase-out in 2017 of the “investment tax credit,” which will add additional ‘rate shock’ to the market.
  • Utility proposals would disporportionally affect the cost-effectiveness of residential and small commercial customer investments, not those of large commercial or agricultural customers;
  • CALSEIA is proposing gradual increases to proposed NEM 2.0 charges and is considering proposals to extend or increase the current peak period “caps” on net energy metering
The CPUC’s proposed decision is expected in December 2015. We will keep you posted on how this issue unfolds in the coming months!
Regulatory Update from Lancaster Choice Energy
Barbara Boswell, LCE’s Program Director, reports that the CPUC staff rejected SCE’s advice letter proposing that CCA CARE customers pay the PCIA. Although SCE’s PCIA is expected to be zero for 2016, this staff decision protects LCE’s low-income customers from increases in subsequent years (at least for the time being). Almost 40% of LCE’s residential customers are low-income CARE customers.

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