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Randy
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CPUC Staff Issue Whitepaper on Residential Rate Reform

Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:53 pm

While it's a bit of a long read at 142 pages, the CPUC staff have issued a white paper with their recommendations on residential rate reform that would be in compliance with recent Assembly Bill 327 and CPUC decision R.12-06-013.

If you've ever wondered about residential utility rates in California, this paper will give you some great insight...It is a very complex topic, and covers Time-of-Use issues, Net energy Metering issues, Transitioning strategy, demand charges, low income rates, and fixed charges (among many other items)....

Check it out here:

http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/E ... 817577.PDF

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Re: CPUC Staff Issue Whitepaper on Residential Rate Reform

Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:36 pm

My quick take on this is that solar customers are going to get hurt badly. Summer peak rates will go down and off-peak rates will go up, as part of the overall theme of flattening or eliminating tiers. There is a proposal to grandfather existing solar customers to some extent for the lesser of 15-years or the remaining life of the customer's PPA [power purchasing agreement]. The staff recommends that the default rate structure for residential customers be TOU [time-of-use] on an opt-out basis. The bottom line is that it's going to cost significantly more to charge our cars during off-peak periods than it does now, whether you have solar or not, but that EV owners with solar will be hurt the most. I hope someone else reading this will tell me that I'm wrong.
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Randy
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Re: CPUC Staff Issue Whitepaper on Residential Rate Reform

Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:51 pm

Well, first of all, this is just a CPUC staff white paper that outlines their opinion. This isn't the way that the final outcome will be. There will be comments filed by multiple parties, and lots of back and forth dialog before anything changes.

I think it's a little bit early to say that EV drivers will pay higher prices....Lots of water will need to flow under the bridge before that is decided.

I do see less subsidization of certain rates in the future, as that is being talked about, but there is an exclusion for subsidies to be used where it furthers the goals of the State. So EVs could fit into that exclusion...

Stay tuned, it will take some time for all of this to go through the process...I wanted to post the link to the document because I find the subject to be quite fascinating...

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Re: CPUC Staff Issue Whitepaper on Residential Rate Reform

Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:08 pm

Randy wrote:Well, first of all, this is just a CPUC staff white paper that outlines their opinion. This isn't the way that the final outcome will be. There will be comments filed by multiple parties, and lots of back and forth dialog before anything changes.

I think it's a little bit early to say that EV drivers will pay higher prices....Lots of water will need to flow under the bridge before that is decided.

I do see less subsidization of certain rates in the future, as that is being talked about, but there is an exclusion for subsidies to be used where it furthers the goals of the State. So EVs could fit into that exclusion...

Stay tuned, it will take some time for all of this to go through the process...I wanted to post the link to the document because I find the subject to be quite fascinating...


Randy, my layman's impression is that while this is just a staff white paper, it appears to be comprehensive in terms of summarizing the input of stakeholders and the recommendations of staff. My impression is that the eventual outcomes will be selected from the recommendations outlined in the paper. My impression may not be accurate, but it isn't clear to the lay person what opportunities exist for deviation from what is recommended in the paper.

Please help us to understand how the "process" will go forward. Since stakeholder input has already been provided, what provisions of the process will allow for significant deviation from what is recommended in the paper? In other words, whose input would cause a change that would keep owners of renewable DG systems from ending up with a monthly minimum bill or a NEM grid usage charge? Where in the process does influence from the Governor's goals of GHG reduction, renewable DG and PEVs come in? It seems that there is little support in the paper for the argument that the societal value of residential NEM justifies subsidization in recognition of the significant capital outlay of the NEM customer.
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Re: CPUC Staff Issue Whitepaper on Residential Rate Reform

Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:22 am

I can't find the actual PUC proposal, but the SF Chron story gives some details:

New California proposal: Use less electricity, pay more

In the next four years, Californians who use the least electricity may see their utility bills go up — while those who use the most get a break.

State energy regulators on Tuesday proposed major changes to the way residents pay for electricity in the biggest overhaul of utility rates since California’s energy crisis more than a decade ago.

The state’s big, investor-owned utility companies currently charge different prices for electricity based on four “tiers” of usage as a way to encourage conservation. The proposal issued Tuesday by two administrative law judges at the California Public Utilities Commission would cut that number to two tiers by 2019, with only a 20 percent difference between the prices charged for each. Right now, PG&E’s top residential tier charges twice as much for electricity as the bottom tier.


The changes may seem counter to the state’s long-standing push for energy efficiency. But, according to the commission’s staff, the most efficient California households currently pay less for electricity than the utilities spend supplying it to them. They are, in effect, subsidized by households in the higher tiers.

“The status quo is a form of subsidy,” said Scott Murtishaw, energy adviser to commission President Michael Picker.

The proposed changes go further than just cutting the number of tiers.

Starting this summer, customers would have to pay a minimum bill of $10, with low-income households paying at least $5 per month. The utilities could later change that minimum bill to a fixed monthly charge for all users, with the commission’s approval.

And for most customers, electricity rates would vary by the time of day, starting in 2019. Power would probably cost the most when usage peaks in the late afternoon, with cheaper prices at night — another way of encouraging conservation.


The changes would apply to the state’s big, investor-owned utility companies, not the municipal utilities that serve such cities as Sacramento and Los Angeles. All of the changes require the approval of the five-member utilities commission to take effect. A vote could come as early as May 21.

PG&E backs idea...

Under the proposal, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. would shrink the number of tiers to three next year, then two in 2018. And in each year through 2019, the difference between the top and bottom years would shrink.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/ ... 215308.php

I know a lot of high-kWh-use PV ratepayers might be concerned about net subsidy reductions, but since it looks like I will be losing my conservation subsidy (tier 1, PG&E) I will probably be more likely to add PV in the future.

The future question for me, is when and if PG&E will increase the service fee to a high enough level that I will be better off cutting my home's grid tie entirely, and replace it with PV and batteries (which I already own-My LEAFs OE pack will probably be down to ~18 kWh, and ready for replacement in another four or five years) grid-supplemented by charging my BEV elsewhere (during the Winter) as required.
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Re: CPUC Staff Issue Whitepaper on Residential Rate Reform

Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:44 pm

Personally I welcome a simpler structure. As it stands even someone who is enthusiastic about exploring time-of-use or alternative rate plans is faced with a huge wall of complexity. One must do an outrageous amount of modeling and even so may end up getting smacked upside the head after making the change. When people of goodwill who are trying to do the right thing face this kind of situation, something is broken.

Also I think it's a good idea to charge a set fee for grid access regardless of your consumption. The wires, transformers, substations control centers and maintenance don't get cheaper when you install solar panels. I think there should be encouragements for conservation and alternative energy production but as it becomes more prevalent, the structure has to take the new realities into consideration.
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