BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 270
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          Date of Hearing:   April 8, 2013

                    ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON UTILITIES AND COMMERCE
                               Steven Bradford, Chair
                    AB 270 (Bradford) - As Amended:  April 1, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   Energy Efficiency: data transparency

           SUMMARY  :   This bill would require public information on  
          ratepayer-funded energy efficiency expenditures.  Specifically,  
           this bill  :  would require the California Public Utilities  
          Commission (PUC) to:

          a)Order Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) to establish, by June 1,  
            2014, a publicly available Internet Web site containing  
            specified information regarding ratepayer-funded energy  
            efficiency programs while maintaining customer  
            confidentiality.

          b)Include in its annual report to the Legislature on its effort  
            to identify and eliminate ratepayer-funded energy efficiency  
            programs that duplicate programs administered by other  
            specified state agencies.

           EXISTING LAW  

          1)Establishes ratepayer-funded programs to assist low-income  
            households through billing discounts and weatherization and  
            appliance replacement programs. (Public Utilities Code 327 and  
            382)

          2)Directs the PUC to administer cost-effective energy efficiency  
            programs funded by a nonbypassable system benefits charge  
            assessed on ratepayers to fund energy efficiency programs.  
            (Public Utilities Code 381)

          3)Requires electrical corporations to first meet its unmet  
            resource needs through all available energy efficiency and  
            demand reduction resources that are cost effective, reliable,  
            and feasible. (Public Utilities Code 454.5 (b)(9)(C)).

          4)Requires gas corporations to first meet its unmet resource  
            needs through all available natural gas efficiency and demand  
            reduction resources that are cost effective, reliable, and  
            feasible. (Public Utilities Code 454.56(b))








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          5)Establishes a surcharge on all natural gas consumed to fund  
            low-income assistance programs, cost-effective energy  
            efficiency activities, and research and development programs.  
            (Public Utilities Code 890)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement.  "The state currently lacks a comprehensive  
            framework that fully coordinates these activities to help  
            ensure that the state's goals are being achieved. California's  
            energy efficiency programs need collaboration, accountability,  
            and transparency to make sure we are on track to achieve  
            energy and climate goals for energy efficiency. We need to  
            know if California has adequate monitoring of programs and  
            results. We need to know if state agencies and departments are  
            coordinating and collaborating successfully to make sure our  
            energy efficiency goals will be met. Ratepayers deserve to  
            have confidence that their money is being used in the right  
            way.

           2)The Loading Order  . California statute requires IOUs to "first  
            meet its unmet resource needs through all available energy  
            efficiency and demand reduction resources that are cost  
            effective, reliable, and feasible." This is referred to as  
            'the loading order," meaning that new energy resources are  
            procured in the following order: (1) Energy efficiency and  
            demand response; (2) Renewable energy resources; (3) Clean and  
            efficient fossil generation. As a result of this  
            prioritization, many programs have been funded toward  
            achieving greater levels of energy efficiency.

           3)Ratepayers have paid $15 Billion (so far) on Energy  
            Efficiency.  In response to a directive in the 2012-13 Budget  
            Package the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) released a  
            report in December 2012 titled "Energy Efficiency and  
            Alternative Energy Programs." The report explored over a dozen  
            major programs that are intended to support the development of  
            energy efficiency and alternative energy in the state.  It  
            found that over the past 10 to 15 years, the state has spent a  
            combined total of approximately $15 billion on such efforts,  
            the majority of which has been funded by utility ratepayers.









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            In November 2012, the PUC adopted 2013-2014 budgets for  
            ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs at $1 billion per  
            year over the two year program.

           4)Where did the money go?  There is no public database showing  
            where energy efficiency improvements are occurring, how much  
            was spent to acquire the improvements, or the results of those  
            improvements. Lack of public information prevents assessment  
            of which programs are working well, need improvement, should  
            be discontinued, or are duplicative with other programs. Lack  
            of information constrains program evaluation to the PUC, the  
            consultants working for the PUC, or the utilities and causes  
            delays in assessing programs until well after the program  
            funds have been spent. 

           5)PUC proposed expenditure for an Energy Data Center  . The PUC  
            currently has a rulemaking underway to consider whether  
            establishing an Energy Data Center is in the public interest.  
            The goal of the research center would be to encourage  
            "independent research and analysis of current state,  
            Commission and utility programs using customer-specific data  
            but publishing results of that data in an aggregated and  
            anonymized form that protects customers' privacy."  
               
            In the PUC's proceeding, the PUC is seeking comments from  
            intervenors on whether the Energy Data Center should be funded  
            by cap-and-trade auction revenue administrative funds,  
            electric program investment charge funds, energy efficiency  
            evaluation, measurement, and verification funds, a new source  
            from utility customers.
               
            The PUC's proposed 2013-2014 Energy Efficiency Budget  
            allocates $1.4 million to energy efficiency program data  
            management.  

            In a recent Utilities & Commerce Committee Hearing, held on  
            March 6, 2013, the Committee found that ratepayers may have  
            funded at least three comprehensive energy efficiency  
            databases already. 
            
           6)Public accountability.  A recent Department of Finance (Office  
            of State Audits and Evaluations) audit of the PUC which found  
            "significant weaknesses within PUC's budget operations which  
            compromise its ability to prepare and present reliable and  
            accurate budget information." it would be useful to have  








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            public accountability as to the use and status of the  
            ratepayer funds allocated to energy efficiency programs.

           7)Technical Amendments.  The bill, as written, acknowledges that  
            personal customer information shall not be disclosed, however,  
            this could be clarified to make the meaning personal customer  
            information more specific. The bill also directs the  
            commission to report on its efforts to identify and eliminate  
            programs that are duplicative with other state programs. Some  
            programs may be similar and complementary to PUC programs. The  
            author may wish to modify the language in the bill to  
            acknowledge complementary programs. The author may also wish  
            to amend the bill to clarify the intent to create a single  
            website, the meaning of up-to-date information, and the  
            location of links to the database on IOU websites.

            The following amendments will address these issues so that the  
            bill is specific about protection of private customer  
            information, make clear that ratepayer-funded programs are to  
            be complementary and not duplicative of other similar State  
            agency programs, and clarifies that there shall be a single  
            website, the meaning of 'up to date' information, and the  
            location of links to the database on IOU websites.

            589 (a) In an existing or new proceeding, the commission shall  
            require the electrical and gas corporations to cooperate in  
            establishing  an   a single  Internet Web site available to the  
            public that provides up-to-date information,  no less frequent  
            than every 30 days,   regarding ratepayer-funded energy  
            efficiency assistance programs that include all of the  
            following,  to the extent such information is available, in an  
            aggregated format that would not provide identifying  
            information about individual customers of the electrical and  
            gas corporations  :

            (1) The types of energy efficiency measures installed.
            (2) The location of each customer receiving ratepayer-funded  
            energy efficiency assistance  without disclosing personal  
            information about the customer.
             
            (b) (1) The commission shall order the electrical and gas  
            corporations to establish, based on data, ratepayer-funded  
            energy efficiency assistance program reports on  energy  
            efficiency  program totals, geographical and monthly  
            statistics, cost distribution, and progress toward program  








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            goals.

            (e) The commission shall have a link to the Internet Web site  
            established pursuant to subdivision (a) on the commission's  
            Internet Web site and require the electrical and gas  
            corporations to have a link to the Internet Web site  
            established pursuant to subdivision (a) on  its   the appropriate  
            page on the Internet Web sites of each electrical and gas  
            corporation  .

             (g) Unless the affected person, customer or entity consents,  
            the information, data and reports required to be provided and  
            published under this section shall not include:  
                (i) personal information as defined in Civil Code Section  
               1798.80(e);
               (ii) a customer's electrical or gas consumption data as  
               defined in Public Utilities Code Section 8380(a); or
               (iii) other information excluded from public disclosure  
               under the California Public Records Act, Government Code  
               Sections 6250, et seq.
                
            747.6.  The commission shall report annually on its effort to  
            identify  and eliminate  ratepayer-funded energy efficiency  
            programs that are    similar to  programs administered by the  
            State Energy Resources Conservation and Development  
            Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and the California  
            Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing  
            Authority in its annual report prepared pursuant to  
            subdivision (b) of Section 747  and to require revisions to  
            ratepayer-funded programs, as necessary, to ensure that the  
            ratepayer funded programs complement and do not duplicate  
            other State agencies' programs.
           

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Energy Efficiency Industry Council
          California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) (if amended)
          Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA)
          The Greenlining Institute
           Opposition 
           
          None on file








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          Analysis Prepared by  :    Susan Kateley / U. & C. / (916)  
          319-2083