Proceedings, Decisions, and Legislation

Recent developments, and resources for understanding them, are listed at the top of the page. Scroll down for older, foundational energy efficiency and sustainability legislation, orders, and decisions.

The “Rolling Portfolio” cycle, budgets, planning and new collaboration: CPUC R.13-11-005

CPUC’s R.13-11-005 rulemaking activities include setting energy efficiency budget and goals for 2015, exploring a change to a rolling portfolio process, and inviting new collaboration to increase stakeholder engagement.

The CPUC Decision concluding Phase I of these activities, D.14-10-046, was released in October 2014:

  • This Decision set the 2015 budget for energy efficiency programming by Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) and California’s two Regional Energy Networks (BayREN and SoCalREN) at approximately $1 billion, and provided energy-savings goals and expectations regarding programming to meet those goals.
  • The Decision references a 2013 study that explored the remaining potential for energy savings in California, over time. This study was updated in 2015; for additional documents and models related to the study, see CPUC’s Energy Efficiency Potential and Goals Studies page.

In October 2015, the CPUC issued approval of the new “rolling portfolio” cycle structure and energy efficiency goals for 2016 and beyond. Read a summary of the decision from NRDC’s Lara Ettenson here.

For more information, check out EE Coordinator posts on the rolling portfolio. You can get involved in the 2016 stakeholder process to review the energy efficiency program planning for 2017 and beyond by visiting the EE Coordinating Committee website at For more information on the EE Coordinating Committee, click here.

AB 802: Building Benchmarking, Data Access/Disclosure, and EE Incentives and Baselines

The full text of Assembly Bill 802, which was approved by the Governor October 2015, is available here. This law directs the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to, by September 1, 2016, “authorize electrical corporations and gas corporations to provide incentives, rebates, technical assistance, and support to their customers to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings, as specified”

and “authorize electrical corporations and gas corporations to recover the reasonable costs of those programs in rates. The bill would require the PUC to authorize electrical corporations and gas corporations to count all energy savings achieved through the authorized programs, unless determined otherwise, toward overall energy efficiency goals or targets established by the PUC. The bill would authorize the PUC to adjust the energy efficiency goals or targets of electrical corporations and gas corporations to reflect the estimated change in energy savings resulting from those programs.”

In this way, AB 802 allows incentives to be paid out for a project’s full realized energy savings, and not just for the energy savings found above the state’s very stringent energy code (as set under Title 24).

Read summaries and feedback on AB 802 below:

In a CEC 10/8/15 press release, Commissioner McAllister shared the following on the passage of AB 802:

“California has set high goals to increase energy savings through short- and long-term energy efficiency measures. Effective solutions will be those that provide true value for commercial building owners and consumers. When these groups have access to their building’s energy use compared to similar structures, they are able to make informed decisions to improve performance. Assembly Bill 802, among other things, makes it much easier for building owners to access that usage information, benchmark the building, and identify the most attractive opportunities for investment. Energy-related physical and operational improvements will add value to and increase occupant comfort of the state’s commercial and multifamily buildings, in the process activating a project-focused market that generates economic growth. I am excited that through passage of AB 802 California is again leading by providing transparency to the marketplace and reducing barriers to action.”

For more information, check out EE Coordinator posts involving AB 802.

AB 793: Data Access, and Access Adoption Incentives to be Provided by Utilities

This bill, signed by the Governor October 2015, requires that investor-owned utilities and all CPUC Program Administrators to engage with residential customers to improve energy user data access. To excerpt from the Governor’s press release, “AB 793 requires each electrical or gas corporation to develop an outreach program to educate customers about the ability to ascertain real-time or near real-time energy use data by employing energy management technologies.  Energy management technologies include any product, service or software that allows a customer to better understand and manage energy use in the customer’s home or place of business, such as a Nest thermostat or a home area network (HAN) device that is able to interface with the customer’s advanced or “smart” meter.  AB 793 would also require electrical or gas corporations to develop an incentive program, such as a rebate program, to increase the deployment of these technologies.”

Read more from the press release here. The full text of the bill is available here.

As this bill is implemented, there may be opportunities for local governments to leverage the residential sector’s increased data access for development of community programs or pilots.

SB 350: Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015

This bill increases California’s renewable energy mix to 50 percent and doubles the energy efficiency of existing buildings.

The full text of Senate Bill 350, which was approved by the Governor September 2015, is available here. To focus on SB 350’s energy efficiency components, one of the biggest changes SB 350 makes is in how energy efficiency savings is counted – and with AB 802, how energy efficiency savings can then be rewarded. Per SB 350:

  • “energy efficiency savings and demand reduction reported for the purposes of achieving the targets established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be measured taking into consideration the overall reduction in normalized metered electricity and natural gas consumption where these measurement techniques are feasible and cost effective.”
  • the CPUC is directed to “achieve greater energy efficiency in existing residential and nonresidential structures that fall significantly below the current standards in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.”

SB 350 also specifically calls out that the CPUC should, at a minimum:

  • “Authorize pay for performance programs that link incentives directly to measured energy savings. As part of pay for performance programs authorized by the commission, customers should be reasonably compensated for developing and implementing an energy efficiency plan, with a portion of their incentive reserved pending post project measurement results.”
  • “Authorize programs to achieve deeper savings through operational, behavioral, and retrocommissioning activities.”

SB 350 therefore allows for incentives to be paid based on actual energy savings associated with a project, rather than solely the savings found beyond what is required by Title 24’s energy efficiency standards (which buildings may not be performing at). SB 350 also requires incentives for a range of project types.

For more information, check out EE Coordinator posts involving SB 350.

California’s Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan 

In 2008, the California Public Utilities Commission first adopted the California Long-term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, presenting a single roadmap to achieve maximum energy savings across all major groups and sectors in California. This comprehensive Plan for 2009 to 2020 is the state’s first integrated framework of goals and strategies for saving energy, covering government, utility, and private sector actions, and holds energy efficiency to its role as the highest priority resource in meeting California’s energy needs. It is the Local Governments Chapter of this plan that lays out energy efficiency goals and strategies for local governments.

Since 2011, there has been significant review and planning for updates of the Strategic Plan. Click to the About > Strategic Plan page to learn more. You can also check out EE Coordinator posts related to the EE Strategic Plan.

AB 758: Existing Buildings, and Programming and Resource Requirements of the CEC and CPUC

AB 758, passed in 2009, requires the California Energy Commission (CEC), in collaboration with the California Public Utilities Commission and stakeholders, to develop a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy efficiency in the state’s existing buildings. As shared on the CEC’s website:

The Energy Commission foresees implementing AB 758 in three phases. The first phase began with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) implementation period (2010-2012). The Energy Commission’s ARRA-funded pilots supported energy efficiency efforts through state and local upgrade programs, workforce training, and financing. Funds were also used to implement an extensive outreach campaign, coupled with statewide and local public relations and marketing efforts. Phase I also included the development of the Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings Scoping Report, which outlined market needs and identified barriers to implementation. Phase I will conclude with the adoption of the AB 758 Action Plan, a roadmap of strategies encompassing all energy efficiency approaches.

Phase II will focus on implementing the roadmap necessary for foundational No Regrets Strategies to take hold and Voluntary Pathways to scale to achieve energy efficiency goals, partnerships, and market development. Phase III will develop and institute Mandatory Approaches that will move energy efficiency practices into the mainstream. Transformation and maturation of the energy efficiency marketplace will require the formation of partnerships and cooperation among all stakeholders.

The CEC released the Phase I Action mentioned above as the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan in 2015. An overview of the action plan from Former Coordinator Joseph Oldham was presented as part of the 2015 SEEC Forum and is available here.

The full text of AB 758 is available here. For more on AB 758, check out posts from the Coordinator on AB 758.

SB 375: Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008

Under the Sustainable Communities Act, the Air Resources Board (ARB) requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to develop Sustainable Communities Strategies, or “SCS”s to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets that are set by ARB.

The full text of SB 375, which was approved by the Governor in September of 2008, is available here.

SB 535: Greenhouse Gas-Reduction Investments to Benefit Disadvantaged Communities

SB 535 requires that 25 percent of the cap-and-trade funds go to projects that will benefit disadvantaged areas, and that at least 10 percent must be allocated to projects actually located in disadvantaged communities. The law gives the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) responsibility for identifying those communities. For the full text of SB 535, click here.

In October 2014, following a series of public workshops to gather public input, CalEPA released its list of disadvantaged communities for the purpose of SB 535. To inform its decision, CalEPA relied on the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen), a tool that assesses all census tracts in California to identify the areas disproportionately burdened by and vulnerable to multiple sources of pollution. For CalEnviroScreen data, maps, metrics measured, and more information, visit CalEPA’s website.

For more information, check out EE Coordinator posts involving SB 535.

Senate Bill 97 – California Environmental Quality Act Guideline Amendments of 2007

Senate Bill (SB) 97 was adopted in 2007 and directed the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to amend the CEQA Guidelines to address GHG emissions. The CEQA Guidelines prepared by OPR were adopted in December 2009 and went into effect March 18, 2010. Local governments may use adopted plans consistent with the CEQA Guidelines to assess the cumulative impacts of projects on climate change, if the plan for the reduction of GHG emissions accomplishes the following:

  • Quantify GHG emissions, both existing and projected over a specified time period, resulting from activities within a defined geographic area.
  • Establish a level, based on substantial evidence, below which the contribution to GHG emissions from activities covered by the plan would not be cumulatively considerable.
  • Identify and analyze the GHG emissions resulting from specific actions or categories of actions anticipated within the geographic area.
  • Specify measures or a group of measures, including performance standards, that substantial evidence demonstrates, if implemented on a project-by-project basis, would collectively achieve the specified emissions level.
  • Establish a mechanism to monitor the plan’s progress toward achieving the level and to require an amendment if the plan is not achieving specified levels.
  • Be adopted in a public process following environmental review.

Assembly Bill 32 – California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

AB 32 was approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006. The landmark legislation requires CARB to develop mechanisms that will reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Mandatory actions under the legislation to be completed by CARB include:

  • Identification of early action items that can be quickly implemented to achieve GHG reductions. These early action items were adopted by CARB in 2007 and include regulations affecting landfill operations, motor vehicle fuels, car refrigerants, and port operations, among other regulations.
  • Development of a scoping plan6 to identify the most technologically feasible and cost-effective measures to achieve the necessary emissions reductions to reach 1990 levels by 2020. The Scoping Plan identifies a variety of GHG reduction measures that include direct regulations, alternative compliance mechanisms, incentives, voluntary actions, and market-based cap-andtrade program. The Plan identifies local governments as strategic partners to achieving the state goal and translates the reduction goal to a 15% reduction of current emissions by 2020.
  • Creation and adoption of regulations to require the state’s largest industrial emitters of GHGs to report and verify their emissions on an annual basis.

AB 2021 – Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Opportunity Identification by Public Utilities and the CEC

AB 2021, passed in 2006, requires the CEC and publicly-owned (municipal) utilities to identify all energy efficiency and demand response opportunities, establish targets using a 10-year forecast, and report on these publicly on a three-year cycle. AB 2021 can be read in full here.

Executive Order S-3-05

On June 1, 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order (EO) S-3-05, which established the following GHG emission reduction targets:

  • by 2010, California shall reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels;
  • by 2020, California shall reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels; and
  • by 2050, California shall reduce GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels.

EO-S-3-05 created the California Climate Action Team (CAT), which is tasked with the preparation of biennial science assessment reports on climate changes and adaptation options for California. The first CAT Report to the Governor and Legislature was published in 2006, and contains recommendations and strategies to help meet the targets in EO-S-3-05. These were expanded upon in the 2009 CAT Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature. The new information includes revised climate and sea-level projections, and an evaluation of climate change within the context of broader social changes, such as land-use changes and demographic shifts5 . The action items in the report focus on the preparation of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, required by EO-S-13-08.

AB 117: Permitting Consumer Choice Aggregation

AB 117 was passed in 2002, permitting the creation of CCAs and extending to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provisions that regulate and permit agencies to purchase and sell electricity on behalf of utility customers within their service areas. Under a CCA system, traditional utilities continue to own, operate and charge for the distribution services of electricity to customers and to provide the necessary resources to ensure proper service to the CCA Service market. The CCA is responsible for: 1) procuring and charging the customer for alternative energy; 2) providing for the electric power needs of its customers; 3) maintaining customer communications; and 4) management and oversight of the CCA Service program. Once a CCA is established, all customers in the jurisdiction will automatically be enrolled in the CCA unless they take action to opt-out if they do not wish to participate in the CCA.

To establish a CCA, the CPUC’s statutory and regulatory requirements must be satisfied by: 1) registration of CCA programs; 2) interim bond of $100,000 posted with the CPUC as part of the CCA registration packet; 3) a CCA Service Agreement with the local service utility along with evidence of insurance or bond that will cover costs, fees and operational deadlines and errors in forecasting; and 4) an implementation plan. The Commission may require additional information to ensure compliance with basic consumer protection rules and other procedural matters.

Public Utilities Code Sections 366.2(c)(3) and 366.2(c)(4) have additional CCA Implementation Plan and operational requirements. For the latest on CCAs on this site, click here.

SB 1078 and Renewable Portfolio Standards

California’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) require providers of electricity to provide a certain percent of that electricity from renewable sources. The RPS first went into effect in 2002 through Senate Bill 1078. More recent legislation has increased the RPS to 33% of electricity coming from renewable sources in 2020, and with the passage of SB 350 in October 2015, the RPS has increased to a requirement of 50% renewables by 2030.

Qualifying renewable energy that may be purchased by electric providers to satisfy this requirement must be found eligible by the CEC. The 8th Edition of RPS Eligibility was released in June 2015. More information is available from the CEC and the CPUC.

SB 1771: CEC’s State GHG Inventorying and the California Climate Action Registry

SB 1771, passed in 2000, requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to prepare an inventory of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, to study data on global climate change, and to provide government agencies and businesses with information on the costs and methods for reducing greenhouse gases. It also established the California Climate Action Registry to serve as a certifying agency for companies and local governments to quantify and register their greenhouse gas emissions for possible future trading systems. The full text of SB 1771 is available here.

Additional Information:

AB 1493’s “Pavley” regulations and the Clean Car Standards

AB 1493, passed in 2002, requires the State Air Resources Board to develop and adopt regulations that achieve the maximum feasible reduction of greenhouse gases from vehicles primarily used for non-commercial transportation by January 2005. You can read about the Clean Car Standards that developed from this legislation on ARB’s Clean Car Standards webpage. The full text of AB 1493 is available here.

CPUC Decision on 2013-14 energy efficiency programs.

CPUC Decision on December 15, 2011 to continue funding for electric energy efficiency programs absent legislative approval for utilities to collect public goods charge.

CPUC Decision to pay for Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, due to Legislature appropriating Gas funds to balance State budget

CPUC Rulemaking addressing funding and program issues related to the
renewables and RD&D portions of the expiring system benefits or public goods
charge funding.