SACRAMENTO— Senior, low-income, labor, business and veterans’ groups are calling on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve resolution (E-4907) in order to protect statewide reliability planning and prevent cost-shifting of some energy costs from one group of electricity customers to another.
“There’s a hidden threat to the wallets of seniors and others who live on fixed incomes in California, a broken regulation that drives electricity bills higher and could force us to pay for power purchased on behalf of others,” said Gary Passmore, President of Congress of California Seniors. “We commend the CPUC for taking steps to protect electricity customers and to ensure common sense planning for systemwide energy reliability.”
The CPUC introduced the resolution in December and is expected to vote on it at its meeting on Feb. 8. It would require Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), local government entities that buy power for their customers, to comply with Resource Adequacy requirements. Under Resource Adequacy requirements, all electricity providers in California must forecast their customer count and demonstrate they have enough power to serve them in the year ahead.
Based on current timelines, however, CCAs may not be required to meet their Resource Adequacy obligations for the calendar year in which they first provide new or expand service.
As a result, utilities are buying power for customers who soon may be served by new CCAs. The remaining utility customers are then left paying for power purchased for others. This cost shift is in conflict with state law that requires utility customers to remain financially “indifferent” when CCAs are created.
Passage of the resolution would require CCAs to fully comply with CPUC Resource Adequacy rules before they can begin serving customers. This would ensure that sufficient energy supply is being purchased for customers by the appropriate provider.
It is critical that regulations to preserve electric service reliability and protect customers keep pace with changes in the marketplace.
Equitable Energy Choice for Californians (EECC) was formed last year to support regulatory changes to ensure utility customers are not paying more than their share for clean energy and other power purchased for customers now being served by alternative energy providers, such as CCAs.
“No electricity customer, particularly those who are already struggling to make ends meet, should be forced to pay extra in their bills for power being used by other customers,” said Julian Canete, President & CEO, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. “We appreciate the CPUC taking steps to fix this problem and ensure regulations comply with current law.”
For more information about the coalition, Equitable Energy for Californians, visit www.EquitableChoice.com