BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                              1





                SENATE ENERGY, UTILITIES AND COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE
                                 ALEX PADILLA, CHAIR
          

          AB 270 -  Bradford                                Hearing Date:   
          June 18, 2013              A
          As Amended:         April 16, 2013           FISCAL       B
                                                                        
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                                      DESCRIPTION
           
           Current law  requires electrical and gas corporations (IOUs) to  
          pursue all cost effective and feasible energy efficiency and  
          demand reduction resources to meet unmet resource needs before  
          additional energy procurement. The (California Public Utilities  
          Commission (CPUC) is required to identify potential energy  
          efficiency savings and establish targets for electrical and gas  
          utilities. (Public Utilities Codes 454.5-454.56)
           
          This bill  directs the CPUC to require that the IOUs produce a  
          single web site for public access of information regarding  
          energy efficiency programs including data on site location,  
          project cost, and projected energy savings. Customer specific  
          information would be excluded from the website as defined in  
          current law. 

           Current law  requires that the CPUC prepare a written report to  
          the Legislature detailing mandated programs and their costs to  
          ratepayers. (PUC 747)

           This bill  requires the CPUC to report on its efforts to identify  
          ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar to  
          programs administered by other state agencies. The CPUC is also  
          required to make revisions to programs to ensure they are  
          complimentary and not duplicative of other state efforts. 

                                      BACKGROUND

           Energy Efficiency - California has pursued its energy demand  
          reduction goals through two primary avenues: utility-sponsored  
          programs to reduce end-user consumption, and codes and standards  
          designed to lower the energy use of buildings and appliances. By  










          2004, these efforts had cumulatively saved more than 40,000  
          gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity and 12,000 megawatts (MW) of  
          peak electricity, equivalent to 24 500-MW power plants. More  
          than half of the statewide savings has come from the building  
          and appliance standards, with the balance resulting from  
          programs implemented by the state's IOUs and local  
          publicly-owned utilities (POUs).  As a result of these efforts  
          California's energy use per capita has remained stable for more  
          than 30 years while the national per capita average has  
          increased by 40 percent and is nearly double that of California.  


          Energy efficiency is at the top of the "loading order," and  
          California's utilities are required to first meet their energy  
          needs through cost-effective energy efficiency measures before  
          renewable and conventional generation. The state's IOUs and, to  
          a lesser extent, the publicly owned utilities, administer  
          hundreds of energy efficiency programs that provide financial  
          incentives and rebates for installing energy efficient  
          appliances, lighting, windows, HVAC systems and other  
          technologies or measures. The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO)  
          reports that these programs have totaled $9 billion in ratepayer  
          funding since IOUs began administering them in 1998<1>. The CPUC  
          reports the IOUs have requested roughly $2 billion in funding  
          for energy efficiency programs in 2013-2014, including HVAC,  
          lighting, government partnerships, non-residential custom  
          projects, and financing programs. These programs are expected to  
          generate 4,670 GWh of energy savings in that cycle.

          A summary of funding of previous and ongoing programs follows:

                     $1 billion per year from IOU ratepayers for programs  
                 approved by the CPUC through 2014, with $220 million for  
                 financing and expansion of the "Energy Upgrade  
                 California" program offering residential energy  
                 efficiency incentives and rebates up to $4,500 per  
                 customer.

                     $25 million in ratepayer funds for a "Clean Energy  
                 Upgrade Financing" program required by ABx1 14 (Skinner,  
                 2011) to finance energy efficiency retrofits with loans  
                 administered by the California Alternative Energy and  
               -------------------------
          <1> Roberts, T., Simbol, A., and Taylor, M. "Energy Efficiency  
          and Alternative Energy Programs", LAO, 2012  
          http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/PubDetails.aspx?id=2677








                 Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA)  
                 within the State Treasurer's Office.

                     $300 million per year from IOU ratepayers for free  
                 energy efficiency and weatherization services for IOU  
                 low-income customers approved by the CPUC.

                     $30 million per year in federal funding for free  
                 weatherization services for low-income residents  
                 administered by the California Department of Community  
                 Services and Development (CDCS).

                     $185 million in one-time funding for free  
                 weatherization services for low-income residents from the  
                 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)  
                 administered by CDCS.

                     $280 million in one-time ARRA funds for energy  
                 efficiency programs administered or coordinated by the  
                 California Energy Commission (CEC), including Energy  
                 Upgrade California and several pilot programs designed to  
                 develop best practices for energy efficiency retrofits of  
                 California's buildings constructed prior to adoption of  
                 Title 24 energy efficiency building standards. These  
                 pilots are intended to help CEC develop a comprehensive  
                 energy efficiency strategy for this old building stock,  
                 as required by AB 758 (Skinner, 2009).
                                           
                                      COMMENTS
           
              1.   Author's Purpose  . The author argues that California's  
               energy efficiency programs need collaboration,  
               accountability, and transparency to ensure their  
               effectiveness. The author believes that a public website  
               that aggregates the IOUs' efforts will bring public  
               transparency. Furthermore, by requiring the CPUC to  
               identify programs that overlap with other agency programs,  
               the state can better coordinate its efforts and reduce the  
               number of duplicative programs.

              2.   Inter-Agency Collaboration  . This bill requires the CPUC  
               to identify programs that overlap with other state agency  
               programs including the CEC, the State Air Resources Board,  
               and the CAEATFA. This bill places the burden on the CPUC to  
               modify ratepayer funded programs to ensure that CPUC and  









               IOU efforts are complimentary to the other agency programs  
               and not duplicative. Is this the most cost-effective  
               prescription? Could it be more cost-effective to alter the  
               other agency-administered programs rather than the IOUs?  
               Furthermore, the bill does not address what is to occur if  
               a POU operates a program that is duplicative of a state  
               agency program. A more comprehensive top-down approach may  
               still be needed to provide a more holistic and  
               cost-effective approach to achieving the state's energy  
               efficiency goals.

              3.   Personal Information Protections  . The bill requires that  
               certain personal information be excluded from the online  
               reports pursuant to current law and references those  
               sections. The IOUs and the CPUC are already bound by those  
               protections in current law and it is not necessary to  
               cross-reference those obligations.  Additionally the bill  
               misstates the CPUC's obligation and incorrectly references  
               the Public Records Act.  To prevent redundancy and the  
               potential for inadvertent modification of existing law, the  
               committee may wish to consider amending the bill to strike  
               lines 4-14, at page 4.  
           
                                    ASSEMBLY VOTES
           
          Assembly Floor                     (70-0)
          Assembly Appropriations Committee  (17-0)
          Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee                       
          (15-0)

                                       POSITIONS
           
           Sponsor:
           
          Author

           Support:
           
          Division of Ratepayer Advocates

           Oppose:
           
          None on file.
          











          Kyle Hiner 
          AB 270 Analysis
          Hearing Date:  June 18, 2013