March 27, 2001
CPUC - 507
CPUC APPROVES PROGRAMS TO LIGHTEN ELECTRICITY LOAD
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today approved incentive programs for residential and business customers to conserve energy and to encourage businesses to provide a portion of their energy needs through renewable or super-clean generation.
Today's action complies with Assembly Bill 970 signed by Governor Gray Davis last September. The bill requires the Commission to initiate new programs which would encourage lowering the demand for electricity during peak periods, and encourage consumers to install renewable or super-clean distributed generation - generators that consumers would have installed on their side of the meter to cover their own needs.
The Commission approved program funding of $138 million annually, through December 31, 2004, to be recovered from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (Edison), San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas (SoCal Gas) companies. Although electric distribution revenues will cover most of the funds, some will be collected from the utilities' gas revenues since the programs will provide their customers with benefits, such as an improved environment.
The CPUC Energy Division recommended the programs last January. One program provides incentives for customers to use microturbines, small gas turbines, wind turbines, photovoltaics, fuel cells and internal combustion engines to provide some or all of that customer's electricity. Greater incentives will be provided for using super clean or renewable fuel. No incentives are provided for diesel-powered generation.
· Customers that have systems that are between 30 kW and 1 MW, which use photovoltaics, fuel cells using renewable fuel or wind turbines, will get a $4.50 per watt payment, up to a maximum of 50 percent of the project's costs.
· Customers that have systems up to 1 MW in size, which use fuel cells using nonrenewable fuel or waste heat recovery, will receive $2.50 per watt, up to a maximum of 40 percent of the project's costs.
· Customers that have systems up to 1 MW in size, which use microturbines or internal combustion turbines or engines using waste heat recovery will receive $1.00 per watt, up to a maximum of 30 percent of the project costs.
The Commission approved three pilot programs to lessen demand during peak periods. SDG&E will administer a pilot program targeted to reach 5,000 residential customers and Edison will administer a similar program targeted for 5,000 small commercial customers that, through use of the Internet, will enable the utilities to control the customers' thermostats. Equipment will be installed for free and at the end of each year residential customers will receive up to $100 and businesses will receive up to $250. Customers will have the flexibility to override the thermostat setting but if they do, they will receive less money.
PG&E will contract with a web designer to develop a website for residential and small business customers to have online access to historical energy bill information, rate options, and energy usage and cost information for common appliances. The program should reach 10,000 to 15,000 customers, providing them an incentive to access their profiles, possibly in the form of a $20 gift certificate for a home improvement store, appliance store or a specific product such as compact fluorescent lamps.
The utilities will provide these incentives for their customers, except in the SDG&E territory, where the San Diego Regional Energy Office will administer the distributed-generation program. The administrators will work out the details of the programs including their launch and availability. ###