BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


          AB  
          2861 (Ting)


          As Amended  August 1, 2016


          Majority vote


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          |ASSEMBLY:  |80-0  |(May 31, 2016) |SENATE: |39-0  |(August 24,      |
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          Original Committee Reference:  U. & C.


          SUMMARY:  Authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission  
          (CPUC) to establish an expedited distribution grid  
          interconnection dispute resolution process to resolve disputes  
          within 60 days, unless it determines more time is needed.   
          Specifies the elements to be included in the dispute resolution  
          process and requires the CPUC to establish a technical panel, a  
          review panel, and a public process for each dispute. 


          The Senate amendments require the CPUC to appoint a qualified  
          electrical systems engineer with substantial interconnection  
          expertise to advise the director of the energy division; require  
          the CPUC provide adequate commission staff to assist in  
          resolving interconnection disputes; and remove the word  
          "advisory" from the name of the technical panel to be  
          established pursuant to this bill.










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          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to Senate Appropriations,  
          approximately $731,000 (Utilities Reimbursement Account) to the  
          CPUC for staff necessary to develop and implement the expedited  
          distribution grid interconnection dispute resolution process.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Background:  Investor-owned utilities (IOUs) own the utility  
            lines that serve local areas, also known as the distribution  
            grid.  The interconnection is the physical connection between  
            a generator and the grid.  Disputes arise when the utility who  
            owns, manages, and maintains the grid won't connect generation  
            projects.  A typical dispute occurs when the utility requires  
            system improvements for safety purposes and the generator may  
            object to some or all of the costs of the improvements.
            Electric Rule 21 is a tariff that describes the  
            interconnection, operating and metering requirements for  
            generation facilities to be connected to an IOU's distribution  
            system, over which the CPUC has jurisdiction.  Section K of  
            Rule 21 establishes a dispute resolution process that first  
            provides a structure for bilateral negotiations between  
            representatives of a generation facility and the IOU, and then  
            directs unresolved disputes to the CPUC's Alternative Dispute  
            Resolution (ADR) process, which is administered by the CPUC's  
            Administrative Law Judge Division.  


            The CPUC does not have data on how many interconnection  
            disputes have gone through the ADR process.  However, the CPUC  
            describes the process as rarely, if ever, having been used by  
            interconnection applicants.  The CPUC attributes this to the  
            time and cost of the ADR process, and reports that developers  
            instead often raise complaints with CPUC's Energy Division  
            staff.  The CPUC reports that in the last year, the Energy  
            Division has received 20-30 informal requests for assistance  
            with interconnection disputes.


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








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