Group battles aims of utility giants

“Community choice" for electricity at risk?

A local group pushing to establish "community choice aggregation (CCA)," an energy supply method that proponents say would compete with San Diego Gas & Electric by attempting to distribute both cheaper and greener power to consumers, is among many crying foul over a bill detractors say would eliminate such competition and overrule the will of California voters.

The San Diego Energy District Foundation first explored the idea of implementing community choice in 2005, citing a study at the time that forecast a 40 percent increase in renewable energy use and "better stabilization of energy rates" over 20 years. At the time, CCA would have resulted in a net increase in cost to consumers, though the group notes the cost of solar installations have fallen by roughly half since then and would make implementation of the program more cost-effective today.

It's unclear whether the claimed increases in renewable energy use are in addition to or as a result of Executive Order S-03-05, signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, which calls for dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas production regardless of who is supplying California's energy.

According to an April 29 statement from nonprofit community-choice advocate LEAN Energy US, "Current law allows local governments to form a not-for-profit public agency to buy and generate their own energy while partnering with the incumbent utility for the transmission and delivery of electricity over utility power lines. This allows communities to compete with the IOUs on the environmental value and price of the electricity itself, while continuing to pay for transmission, distribution and customer billing services as utility ratepayers."

Hesitant to embrace competition, Northern California utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric sponsored Proposition 16 in 2010, which would have required a 2/3 supermajority vote from any locality before public funds could be spent on establishing a CCA district. The measure failed by a five-point margin in a relatively low turnout election.

San Diego Energy District and other entities, including the County of San Diego and the California Sierra Club, are now battling Assembly Bill 2145, introduced by assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), which "would authorize the [state public utilities] commission to require that a community-choice aggregator, when registering with the commission, provide additional information to ensure compliance with basic consumer protection and other rules and other procedural matters."

The main gripe is that, rather than allowing a municipality to automatically enroll residents in the new (and potentially more costly) energy option, consumers would have to opt in, rather than being automatically enrolled with an option to opt out of the service, as has been the case in other areas such as Sonoma and Marin Counties, which have already put CCA districts into place.

"If AB 2145 passes, community choice will be replaced with zero choice," says the Sierra Club's Andrew Christie, who is working to put a CCA in place in San Luis Obispo. "There will be no chance of establishing local, public energy programs that would incentivize a local green energy economy."

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Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) means lower energy bills for us and lost revenue for our Big Utilities who have been responsible for San Diego's energy rate increases, that also resulted in record profits for SCE and SDG&E shareholders, so it is no surprise that Utilities are doing everything they can, to keep CCA from becoming a reality in SoCal.

SDED needs to step up its game and get potential ratepayers to demand equal treatment from their Leaders or they will be out of business even before they go into business, since SDG&E controls most of the political and MSM in San Diego!

Left out of this Energy conversation are the really large refunds due to all ratepayers from the multi-Billion Dollar potential San Onofre Replacement Steam Generator Project Debacle which could happen if the CPUC finally starts treating SoCal ratepayers as well as it has been treating the Utilities that destroyed our San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant!

Public utilities commission's rape of the ratepayers by Don Bauder http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/may/03/ticker-cpuc-no-time-other-side/?c=171475

Big Energy Utilities, wants to control all energy generation and they are using their political clout to delay residential solar installations and/or their tax credits so that they can acquire ever more of the energy market share.

Tesla and First Solar are taking another approach by now starting to offer residential/commercial systems that allow their owners to generate and store their own energy, an idea that the Big Utilities, Big Nuclear Big Oil, Big Gas and Big Coal all hate because it offers ratepayers a direct affordable way to generate most if not all their own energy for both their home and/or vehicles, which means, after payback, 20+ years of

True Energy Freedom instead of yet more Utility Energy Slavery.

Captd/founder, let me add a couple of comments. First off, Tesla is not partnering with FirstSolar. The partnership is between Tesla and Solar City. Elon Musk is a cousin of the founders of Solar City, and Chairman of the Board, I believe, so I guess you could say that it is not a coincidence that the 2 companies partnered up. Next, the battery systems are not going to be sold to either commercial or residential customers. They are going to be provided at no charge on a 10 yr service contract, so there isn’t the usual “payback” period that most people think of when it comes to solar installations. Actually, I don't believe that these are going to be available for residential use anytime soon. When I inquired last fall, I was told that Solar City is testing these batteries, on about 300 of its residential customers in California, in what they termed a pilot program running into 2015. But their main target is for commercial applications right now. Because the rate structure for most businesses includes a demand charge, something residential customers don't pay, the amount of money a large business could save would be significant and worth the cost of a 10 yr service contract, making battery back up more attractive for them because the battery storage system will let a customer shift off the grid when conventional power is most expensive. I have read that they are going to be very expensive, as much as $1000 per Kw of storage so it could be years before batteries make financial sense for homes because homeowners don't pay that demand charges meaning isn't an economic way for the battery to recoup that cost. As I noted, the plan at this point is that Solar City won't charge customers for the battery, but will instead offer it as a service for a monthly fee. In a residential application, even if using the batteries as a sole power source at night or any other times when the sun in not shining thru, the savings would not be nearly as great. When you're talking in the neighborhood of $25k per battery, one would have to have a HUGE monthly electric bill. So expensive it could be years before batteries make financial sense for homes.


Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs) 771 Jamacha Rd #148 El Cajon, CA 92019 CitizensOversight.org Contact: Ray Lutz / 619-820-5321 [email protected]itizensoversight.org

May 6, 2014



Overly complex proposed settlement hides double/triple-dipping and allows utilities to avoid responsibility for imprudence, design errors, and avoiding NRC review

EVENT DETAILS EVENT 1: Press Conference on proposed $3.3 billion settlement on San Onofre Speakers: Ray Lutz (Citizens Oversight / CDSO), Mike Aguirre (counsel for Ruth Henricks, party of the SONGS OII) Charles Langley (also from Aguirre's law firm) Jean Merrigan (Women's Energy Matters - via written comment) CDSO members will make comments on the nuclear waste issue and subsequent CEP mtg. WHERE: San Juan Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 WHEN: 5:00 to 5:45 p.m.

EVENT 2: Community Engagement Panel (CEP) Workshop on Nuclear Waste See http://www.songscommunity.com/news2014/news043014.asp for full details. WHERE: Same location, but inside. WHEN: 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

SAN DIEGO (2014-05-06) -- The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre (CDSO) will join with a number of other non-settling parties at a press conference at 5pm on May 6, 2014, at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. This press conference is regarding the proposed $3.3 billion San Onofre settlement of the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) investigation into the outage at the nuclear plant.

At this meeting, speakers will attempt to clarify why the proposed settlement should not be approved, and instead, a second round of negotiations should occur, with specific criteria provided by the Commission.

"This case is truly unprecedented," said Ray Lutz, National Coordinator for Citizens Oversight, Inc. and active participant at the CPUC proceedings in San Francisco on the investigation into the outage at San Onofre. "There have been many prudent early retirements of plants, and there have been imprudently managed and failed projects. But there has never been an imprudently managed failed project that prompted complete plant abandonment.

Cont. 2 "The utilities want ratepayers to bailout wall street investors, and to give them a larger return than even a prudent early retirement, which typically allow investors to recover their investment with no ROI. The Commission has usually been completely hands-off on failed projects -- no ratepayer bailouts at all.

"It's a good question. Why should the ratepayer be on the hook? The project was SCE's responsibility. They made the key management decision to avoid the NRC approval process, they knew they had problems back in 2005 and avoided making any corrections to the design because it might trigger that process, and violate the executive mandate.

"Instead of being bailed out, we should be looking for the executive that made that decision and make sure he has to find another job."

Lutz explained that a reasonable proposal which would eliminate the $2.8 billion bailout. "Replacement power" which had to be purchased during the outage is not really a loss, but power that was purchased to cover energy requirements. It is already covered by rates, and it is reasonable to remove it. That is about $500 million, so the actual bailout is $2.8 billion.

The utilities stipulate in their settlement agreement that they will avoid the Phase 3 reasonableness review of the entire Steam Generator Replacement Project. The Commission presumes imprudence -- the burden of proof rests on the utility to show it acted reasonably and prudently. Without the proceeding, imprudence is therefore the presumption. But we lose more than that by not completing the proceeding, as the CPUC itself should also make changes in how it handles and approves such projects.

The failed design of the steam generators resulted in the abandonment the huge San Onofre nuclear plant, including recent upgrades to keep it operating until 2022 and probably another 20 year license term after that. The utilities want full recovery of their investment, 2.95% ROI plus get paid $45 million for the failed steam generators, even though the value of this plant dropped to zero after their failed management of the steam generator replacement project. This is bad policy because it rewards failure with yet another bailout -- at rates higher than you can get in other investments right now (typical CD rate is 1.1%)

Plus, they want to dip into their insurance coverage and any judgment from the lawsuit with their contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Including this litigation in the settlement means it won't actually resolve until those cases are over, years or decades from now. Accepting this settlement by the Commission will mean it will have to monitored it for that entire time, essentially becoming a partner with SCE in their case against MHI. The settlement does not end for years, adding to the already overwhelming workload of the Commission. Approving this would certainly be insanity for that reason alone.

Cont. 3 The CDSO has already filed an opposition to the motion to adopt the settlement because of procedural matters, such as the fact that normally such a settlement involves all parties and requires the completion of the record. In this case, the settlement was negotiated in secret with only one other outside party (The Utility Reform Network, TURN) and then they revealed to the world on March 27, 2014, with the demand that it be adopted without any changes whatsoever, even before most of the investigation has been completed.

The alternative to adopting the settlement would be to negotiate better terms, or to complete the full CPUC investigation, including Phase 3, which is slated to review the reasonableness of the entire Steam Generator Replacement Project (SGRP). Completing the investigation can provide important lessons learned and influence policy to avoid similar failures in the future.

We will be recommending that the Commission deny approval of the current settlement, set guidelines for any future settlement, including minimum criteria for provisions and provide settlement procedures to include all parties of the proceeding. We also recommend the appointment of a magistrate judge that can hold frank discussions with both sides.

CDSO/COPS request that concerned citizens, organizations, and ratepayers email written comments in opposition to accepting the settlement, so that we may incorporate these comments into our official submission to the Commission. Please send them to [email protected] as soon as possible.

In a recent ruling, the Administrative Law Judges of the Proceeding, ALJ Darling and ALJ Dudney, outlined the schedule of events, reproduced below and including related events.

May 1, 2014 (Utilities are required to provide answers to a list of questions provided by the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) assigned to this investigation, ALJ Darling and ALJ Dudney.)

May 6, 2014 (5 p.m.) Press Conference by a number of non-settling parties, including the CDSO, to explain the proposed settlement, why it is a bad deal, and why an alternative settlement is appropriate. San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (PUBLIC MEETING)

May 6, 2014 (6 to 8:30 p.m. -- Directly after the press conference) The San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP) workshop on Used Nuclear Fuel issues. San Juan Capistrano Community Center. (PUBLIC MEETING) Agenda and details can be found here: http://www.songscommunity.com/news2014/news043014.asp This event includes renowned radioactive waste expert, Marvin Resnikoff.

Cont. 4 May 7, 2014 (Comments on the proposed settlement due from all formal parties in the proceeding.)

May 14, 2014 (Noon) Press conference by non-settling parties to be held on the steps of CPUC Headquarters, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102 (PUBLIC MEETING)

May 14, 2014 (1:30pm) Evidentiary Hearing begins on the settlement at CPUC Headquarters.

May 22, 2014 (Reply comments due from all formal parties in the proceeding.)

June 16, 2014 (4 - 7 pm) Community Meeting on the Settlement, Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92627 Settling parties and non-settling parties will have equal time, followed by comments by the public. (PUBLIC MEETING)

Further processing of the settlement is undefined at this time.

=================================================== The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre (CDSO) is a fictitious name of Citizens Oversight, Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focused on improving civic engagement, and provides the corporate umbrella for this project. CDSO has other member organizations including COPS, such as San Clemente Green, San Onofre Safety, and Residents Organized for a Safe Environment, and closely coordinates with other non-member organizations, and has many individual members who are residents of the affected area, ratepayers, or concerned citizens.

CDSO/COPS is funded by donations from the public. To learn how to donate, visit http://www.CitizensOversight.org and click on DONATE.

The Latest from Michael Aguirre:

Ruth Henricks' Objection to Order Setting Evidentiary Hearing on 14 May 2014 and the Failure of the CPUC to Set a PUC Rule 7.2 Prehearing Conference.


Ms. Henricks objects to the constrained and narrow length and breadth of the order setting an Evidentiary Hearing on 14 May 2014. Ms. Henricks also objects to the failure to set a PUC Rule 7.2. Prehearing Conference, further denying the rights of the opponents of the proposed settlement to a fair hearing.

Complete document: https://snt147.mail.live.com/mail/ViewOfficePreview.aspx?messageid=mgd9g5ZFjV4xG_AhBgS7KTLg2&folderid=flinbox&attindex=0&cp=-1&attdepth=0&n=58779582

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