CPUC Issues “Green Book” on Customer Choice

The CPUC’s Policy and Planning Division is seeking comment on a Draft Report entitled, California Customer Choice: An Evaluation of Regulatory Framework Options for an Evolving Electricity Market. The draft report is in response to the proliferation of Community Choice Aggregators (“CCAs”) in California and seeks to develop a plan for managing this transition. As part of the transition, new regulation may affect both CCAs and Electric Service Providers (“ESPs”). In the opening statement and recent Op-Ed in the Sacbee, CPUC President, Michael Picker warns of the potential for another energy crisis.

The CPUC seeks feedback on questions as:

  • How do we protect safe delivery of electricity to meet customer demand in an increasingly fragmented market?
  • How will we ensure that increasing fragmentation of suppliers and buyers will add up to meet our ambitious clean energy goals?
  • How will we make sure that different players are meeting their responsibilities to provide all the energy resources we need to make the grid work?
  • How will we protect customers from the unfair behavior like “slamming” and “cramming” that we saw during deregulation of telecommunications?
  • What preparations should we make for customers who might become stranded without service if their electric provider fails, as many did in the previous California deregulation?
  • What is the best way for a fair, affordable and durable transition?

Notably absent from the Green Book is any discussion of the direct procurement undertaken by Direct Access customers on their own behalf in pursuit of institutional sustainability goals. Currently, large customers who contract directly with resources and have deliveries made through their ESP are disadvantaged insofar as the long-term nature of the commitment cannot be acknowledged in the ESP’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) compliance obligations.

Comments on the Green Book are due June 4, 2018 and will be followed with the publication of a white paper with responses from the players who are driving this transformation of California’s electricity supply. The white paper will inform the next stage of the process to gather input before the CPUC issues a final paper outlining the state’s policy and regulatory path forward. The draft report is available here. If you would like to discuss this development, please contact Brian Biering (bsb(at)eslawfirm.com) or Andy Brown (abb(at)eslawfirm.com) by email or by calling (916) 447–2166.