CALIFORNIA PUC APPROVES ENERGY EFFICIENCY PLANS

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by The California Public Utilities Commission and
received via e-mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.) 
CPUC APPROVES ENERGY EFFICIENCY PLANS AND LEVERAGES LOCAL
GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE CONSUMER BENEFITS 
SAN FRANCISCO, November 8, 2012 -- The California Public
Utilities Commission (CPUC), building on California’s proud
history in energy efficiency, today approved a portfolio of
energy efficiency programs and budgets for 2013-2014, further
affirming that cost-effective energy efficiency is the state’s
least expensive and most environmental resource, as well as the
first line of defense against power shortages. Approved programs
will deliver approximately 4,000 gigawatt-hours and 750
megawatts of electricity savings over the next two years,
reducing the need for at least two large power plants, while
also delivering significant savings of natural gas. 
The CPUC approved plans for Pacific Gas and Electric Company,
Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern
California Gas Company, and community choice aggregator Marin
Energy Authority. Further, to better leverage energy efficiency
expertise at the local government level, the CPUC created two
Regional Energy Networks to complement the utility programs -
the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) and
the Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN). 
In a May 2012 decision, the CPUC transitioned from a single year
extension of existing energy efficiency programs for 2013 to a
two year transition portfolio for 2013 and 2014.  This change
allows California to refocus its energy saving efforts, take
advantage of the lessons learned from American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded programs, and move energy
efficiency portfolios away from short-term savings towards
deeper, longer lasting measures, such as building retrofits.
Following the May decision, the utilities submitted their energy
efficiency plans to the CPUC in July and the CPUC acted quickly
to evaluate and approve aspects of those plans today. 
The CPUC approved a total budget of approximately $1.9 billion
for the energy efficiency efforts of the utilities, MEA, and the
two Regional Energy Networks.  The utilities will use any
unspent funds from prior energy efficiency cycles by the end of
2014 in order to smooth any rate impacts over the next two
years. 
Utility efforts approved by the CPUC include the expansion of
Energy Upgrade California, the CPUC’s primary program to
retrofit existing homes. The CPUC also takes significant steps
to bring HVAC installations up to code and expand third-party
programs. In lighting, the CPUC directs the utilities to target
bulbs in the upper end of the market. The decision also approves
approximately $220 million of financing, including on-bill
finance, extension of programs first created under ARRA, and
four new pilot programs. Further, utilities are directed to
develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing workforce,
education, and training activities in their energy efficiency
portfolios, while also tracking certain workforce data. 
Regional Energy Networks (RENs) are a new concept for this cycle
of energy efficiency programs. They are independently
administered by local governments and serve as an incubator for
new ideas. The three screening criteria the CPUC used in
evaluating the two REN program proposals were 1) activities that
utilities cannot or do not intend to undertake; 2) pilot
activities where there is no current utility program offering,
and where there is potential for scalability to a broader
geographic reach, if successful; and 3) pilot activities in hard
to reach markets, whether or not there is a current utility
program that may overlap. SoCalREN’s budget was approved at
approximately $45 million for activities involving Energy
Upgrade California, financing, and creation of a SoCal Virtual
Energy Center to aggregate local government activities in the
region. BayREN’s budget was approved at approximately $26
million for activities involving Energy Upgrade California,
financing, and Codes and Standards work. 
Turning to community choice aggregation energy efficiency
activities, MEA’s budget was approved at approximately $4
million for activities involving multi-family buildings; small
commercial, demand reduction program; and financing. 
Said Commissioner Mark J. Ferron, the lead Commissioner in this
proceeding, “One of the reasons why I wanted to join the CPUC
was to explore how the government can use smart incentives to
create positive change in the energy efficiency market.  While
there is more work still to be done, our decision today
represents a new leaf in our collaborative process.  I hope that
our efforts to increase transparency and to be quick with our
regulatory actions provide some much needed market certainty and
clarity.” 
Added CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, “Today’s decision builds
on California’s proud history in energy efficiency. It enables
us to utilize local governments to grow and improve energy
efficiency programs, while maintaining our commitment to utility
efforts and Energy Upgrade California.” 
“This decision provides greater empowerment for the Regional
Energy Networks to meet the state’s energy efficiency goals -
the number one loading order of the Energy Action Plan - and it
is a model for utility and local government cooperation,” said
Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon. “I am pleased to see that this
decision encourages Regional Energy Networks to engage with
women, minority, and disabled veterans business enterprises in
their energy efficiency program contracting plans.” 
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov. 
### 
Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, news@cpuc.ca.gov 
(sgp) NY 
#<278855.14078.3.1.0.0.76>#
 
 
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.