CPUC Seeks Comment on Standby Charge Waiver for Microgrids

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is taking another step forward in implementation of Senate Bill 1339, aimed at commercializing microgrids and adopting resiliency strategies for California communities facing wildfire threats and Public Safety Power Shutoffs. Earlier this month the CPUC issued Decision 21-01-018, ordering revisions to utility rules and creation of new microgrid tariffs (see CPUC Orders Actions to Support Microgrid Development).

This week the CPUC held a workshop to discuss future activities of the newly established Resiliency and Microgrids Working Group, and issued an Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling for Track 3 of the microgrid proceeding (R.19-09-009). The ruling establishes a process for discussion of standby charges, which have been identified as an obstacle to microgrid development. The issues identified for consideration are:

  • Whether the CPUC should require the large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to waive standby charges for a customer operating a microgrid, regardless of fuel source, so long as: (1) waiving a standby charge will enable the microgrid customer to provide an incremental benefit to other customers; and (2) that is commensurate with the magnitude of the otherwise applicable standby charges.
  • Whether the CPUC should limit the eligibility of microgrid resources for the standby charge waiver to ensure compliance with the State’s air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements.
  • Under what conditions should standby charges be waived or reduced.

The ruling includes background on standby charges, and a list of more detailed questions for discussion and comment. The CPUC has scheduled a virtual Working Group Meeting on Friday, February 19, from 10 am to 12 noon to discuss standby charges generally and the questions. Opening comments in response to the ruling and questions are due March 3. Reply comments are due March 10.

Additional issues will be addressed in Track 4 of the microgrid proceeding: (1) multi-property tariffs and alternatives; (2) value of resiliency; (3) interconnection issues; and (4) revisiting of single property tariff. The Resiliency and Microgrids Working Group will meet on February 22 from 2 pm to 4 pm to discuss the multi-property microgrid tariff.

Contact: Christian Briggs or Brian Biering