CPUC Extends Opportunity To Comment On Draft Transmission Project Review Process

Interested parties will have until February 13, 2023 to comment on the new Transmission Project Review Process (TPR Process) proposed for approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in Draft Resolution E-5252. The original January 12 deadline for comment was extended by request of the large electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs), which urged the CPUC to provide more time for comment of this new and complex proposal.

As proposed, the TPR Process would create new, state-level oversight of transmission projects undertaken by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) beginning in 2024. The purpose of the proposed TPR Process is to establish a uniform process to review the IOUs’ capital transmission projects with the goals of: “providing clarity on projects aimed at making progress towards the state’s clean energy goals, contributing more robust information for CPUC permitting processes, informing the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) program, providing useful data to help develop grid resiliency and microgrid facilities, monitoring project costs, and in general facilitating the Commission’s safety and siting authority through enhanced oversight of the changing electric grid.”

Citing a lack of transparency in the current process, the increasing cost to ratepayers of IOU “self-approved” transmission projects and the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO’s) expectation that $30.5 billion of new investment in high voltage transmission capacity will be needed to meet the state’s clean energy goals in the next 20 years, Draft Resolution 5252-E creates a new process, including the following elements:

  • Stakeholders: Anyone with an interest in electric transmission development, service, and/or rates in the CAISO control area will have access to publicly available information on proposed IOU transmission projects, subject to applicable rules limiting access to confidential information or critical electric/energy infrastructure information (CEII).
  • Transmission Projects and Data: TPR process will apply to any Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdictional transmission project with actual or forecast costs of $1 million or more, including both CAISO and non-CAISO projects. The IOUs will provide for the CPUC and the public a semi-annually updated Project Spreadsheet identifying project-specific data for all relevant projects that had capital expenditures in the prior five calendar years, or actual or forecast capital expenditures for the current year or the next five-year period. The public version of the Project Spreadsheet will exclude confidential and CEII data. The data in the Project Spreadsheet, IOU Procedures (processes, strategies, documents created by the IOU to propose, authorize, plan prioritize, budget and implement a Spreadsheet project), and Authorization Documents are intended to enable the CPUC and stakeholders to thoroughly understand each IOU project.
  • Inquiry and Comment Period: The CPUC and stakeholders will be able to submit information requests and comments within 45 days after issuance of the IOU’s semi-annual Project Spreadsheet and Procedures documents, and within 15 days after a Stakeholder Meeting. The IOU will respond to information requests and comments within 15 business days.
  • Stakeholder Meetings: Each IOU will annually host at least two Stakeholder Meetings. The first Stakeholder Meeting of the year will include an assessment of the previous year’s transmission projects and an in-depth overview of objectives, assumptions and deliverables for the coming year. It will also offer stakeholder an opportunity to suggest new projects or project alternatives. Both Stakeholder Meetings will also focus on CPUC and stakeholder questions and comments.
  • Use of Information Obtained in the TPR Process: Information developed in the TPR process will be used by CAISO and transmission owners in determining the most efficient and cost-effective projects to build to address reliability, economic and public policy concerns. Data provided by the IOUs will feed into CEQA review and permitting, IRP, and wildfire mitigation efforts. And it may be used in other agency proceedings.

More detail on the TPR process may be found in Attachment A of Draft Resolution E-5252.

Comments submitted on or before February 13 are limited to 15 pages in length and should list the recommended changes to the Draft Resolution.

Contact: Brian Biering or Lynn Haug