California Energy Commission To Develop Flexible Demand Appliance Standards

On October 9, 2019, Governor Newsom signed SB 49, which calls on the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) to adopt appliance standards that “facilitate the deployment of flexible demand technologies.” These standards must be “based on feasible and attainable efficiencies or feasible improvements that will enable appliance operations to be scheduled, shifted, or curtailed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity generation.” Standards must consider protective cybersecurity protocols and Critical Infrastructure Protection standards. The CEC must consult with the California Public Utilities Commission and load-serving entities to align the flexible demand appliance standards with demand response programs.

In forming the flexible demand appliance standards, the CEC must prioritize the following:

  • Appliances that can more conveniently have their electrical demand controlled by load-management technology and third-party load-management programs;
  • Appliances with load-management technology options that are readily available;
  • Appliances that have a user-friendly interface and follow a straightforward setup and connection process, such as remote setup by means of an internet website or application;
  • Appliances with load-management technology options that follow simple standards for third-party direct operation of the appliances; and
  • Appliances that are interoperable or open source.

Once approved, flexible demand appliance standards may become effective no sooner than one year after the adoption date.

The CEC has yet to address how it will go about implementing AB 49. Possible ways the CEC could address its AB 49 obligations include: a public process seeking input from stakeholders that leads to a guidance document; opening a rulemaking to add regulatory language in Title 20 (the Appliance Efficiency Standards) that fleshes out how the CEC will include demand responsive capabilities for appliances; or the CEC may start adding demand flexible features for appliances on an appliance-by-appliance basis in the individual appliance category rulemakings.

If you have any questions regarding California’s flexible demand appliance standards law or other questions regarding California’s energy efficiency appliance standards, please contact ESHD attorneys Jeff Harris, Brian Biering, or Chase Maxwell at 916-447-2166.