15. Inspection and Maintenance Report - Annual Requirement Adopted

This decision implements SB 32 by adding an inspection and maintenance provision to the tariffs and the power purchase agreements under the § 399.20 FiT Program.

SB 32 amends § 399.20 by adding an inspection and maintenance provision at subsection (p) of § 399.20. Section 399.20(p) provides that the "owner of the electric generation facility receiving a tariff pursuant to this section shall provide an inspection and maintenance report to the electrical corporation at least once every other year." SB 2 1X makes no changes to this provision. Section 399.20(p) further provides that this inspection and maintenance report be prepared by a California-licensed electrician who is not the owner or operator of the facility and that the report must be prepared at the expense of the owner or operator.

All parties agree that § 399.20(p) requires an inspection and maintenance report by a California-licensed electrician who is not the owner or operator of the facility. We find this interpretation of the statute consistent with the plain language of the statute and, therefore, reasonable.

Parties disagree on some of the implementation details of § 399.20(p), such as the appropriate time interval between reports. PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E propose annual reporting, which they argue is consistent with the plain statutory language. AECA, CALSEIA, and FuelCell Energy propose reporting once every two years (biennially) rather than annually because annual reporting would be duplicative, burdensome, and costly.

The language of the statute does not provide definitive direction on this question. However, we find annual reporting, rather than a longer time interval, reasonable based on the importance of proper maintenance of the electric system.

Joint Solar Parties and SunEdison suggest that, to avoid unnecessary duplication, the Commission coordinate the § 399.20(p) report with any required reports required under the Tariff Rule 21. We acknowledge that possible efficiencies may exist in such coordination. However, because the Commission is currently engaging in efforts to revise Tariff Rule 21 in R.11-09-011, we find it more appropriate to attempt to coordinate the reporting requirements after the Rule 21 revision is complete. Therefore, parties should bring any required coordination issues to our attention in either R.11-09-011 or in this proceeding at that time.

We do not at this time accept the recommendation of some parties, such as PG&E and the Californians for Renewable Energy (CARE), that we adopt a standardized form for this report. While efficiencies might be gained, we find the particularities of safety and reliability matters are better left to the individual utilities but we support the utilities' own efforts to coordinate on this issue and create a standardized form.

FuelCell Energy recommends the confidential treatment of these reports but provides no specific basis for its request. No other parties commented on this issue. Accordingly, in the absence of a showing that the confidential treatment is needed to protect a specific aspect of the market or the report, we deny this request.

As recommended by the utilities, we find that language concerning inspection and maintenance reporting should be included in both the FiT Program standard form contracts and tariff.

Accordingly, PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E shall add a provision reflecting the inspection and maintenance reporting to the FiT Program standard form contract and/or tariff that is being developed in this proceeding in accordance with the schedule set forth in the January 10, 2012 ALJ ruling. The Commission will review this provision submitted by the utilities and, in a separate decision accept, reject, or modify the provision. Related FiT tariff modifications will also be addressed in this separate decision.

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