CPUC Issues Emergency Reliability Rulemaking

On November 20, 2020, the CPUC issued its Order Instituting Rulemaking to Establish Policies, Processes, and Rules to Ensure Reliable Electric Service in California in the Event of an Extreme Weather Event in 2021 (R.20-11-003). In response to the 2020 summer heat storms and corresponding rotating outages in California, the CPUC initiated the new rulemaking to identify and execute all actions within the CPUC’s authority to ensure reliable electric service in the event that an extreme heat storm occurs in the summer of 2021. The new proceeding will implement temporary changes to existing processes, programs, and rules for demand response, resource adequacy (“RA”), and other initiatives to increase energy supply and decrease demand during the peak demand and net demand peak hours in the summer of 2021 if needed. Specifically, the new proceeding will consider:

  • Whether it is possible to increase the month-ahead RA procurement requirement (based on the CEC’s prospective summer assessment report);
  • Whether RA resources can be tagged to ensure capacity cannot be exported during critical times;
  • Whether to implement parameters for suspending restrictions on fossil-fueled back-up generators;
  • Whether to direct IOUs to (i) develop new supply-side resources to the extent they can be brought online in 2021; (ii) procure additional incremental capacity from existing resources; (iii) implement efficiency upgrades to existing generators; and (iv) retrofitting existing generators set to retire (including Once-Through-Cooling generators); and
  • Whether to develop new demand response programs, revise supply-side reliability demand response programs, and improve load shifting programs.

Many of the changes contemplated by the OIR are expected to remain in effect for limited duration (e.g., 2021), but the CPUC will address whether particular measures may extend further. All electric IOUs are named as respondents.

Comments on the OIR are due November 30, 2020 and reply comments are due December 10, 2020.

For additional information, please contact Jed Gibson.