EPIC monitors and conducts analysis on key energy-related legislation in California. EPIC's Legislative Center provides a listing and summary of energy-related legislation.
2013 California Energy-Related Legislation
- Alternative Fuels and Vehicles
- California Environmental Quality Act
- Electric Vehicles
- Energy Efficiency
- Energy Planning
- Green Building
- Greenhouse Gas/Climate Change
- Natural Gas
- Rates and Tariffs
- Renewable Energy
Alternative Fuels and Vehicles
AB 278 (Gatto) Criteria for Determining Carbon Intensity of Fuels Under Low Carbon Fuel Standard
This bill would: (1) require the State Air Resources Board, in promulgating regulations or other policies for purposes of the carbon intensity of fuels, to consider specified sustainability factors and the state of the fuel market and technologies; and (2) require the State Air Resources Board, no later than December 2015, to include mechanisms and policies that favor low-carbon fuels with the highest possible sustainability based on specified factors and to provide incentives for sustainable fuels produced without food stock or the displacement of food crops.
SB 459 (Pavley) Vehicle Retirement: Low Income Vehicle Owners
The Governor signed SB 459 into law on September 30, 2013 (Chapter 437, Statutes 2013). Existing law establishes a motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program, referred to as a smog check program, developed, implemented, and administered by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The duty of enforcing and administering the program is vested in the Chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair within the department. This law: (1) requires a motor vehicle to have been registered without substantial lapse, as determined by the department, in the state for at least 2 years prior to vehicle retirement and to have failed any type of smog check inspection lawfully performed in the state to qualify to receive a specified vehicle retirement payment; (2) authorizes, rather than requires, the department to permit vehicle retirement for any motor vehicle that has been registered without substantial lapse in the state for at least 2 years prior to vehicle retirement and that fails any type of smog check inspection lawfully performed in the state. Existing law creates an enhanced fleet modernization program for the retirement of high polluting vehicles to be administered by the Bureau of Automotive Repair pursuant to guidelines adopted by the State Air Resources Board. Existing law requires the department to pay a person who retires his or her vehicle $1,500 for a low-income motor vehicle owner, as defined, and $1,000 for all other motor vehicle owners, and authorizes additional payments above these amounts based on consideration of specified criteria. This law: (3) requires the state board, in consultation with the bureau and no later than June 30, 2015, to update the guidelines for the enhanced fleet modernization program to include specified elements and to study and consider specified elements; (4) makes various findings and declarations; (5) establishes compensation for replacement vehicles for low-income vehicle owners at not less than $2,500, would make replacement an option for all motor vehicle owners, and would make this compensation available to an owner in addition to the compensation for a retired vehicle; (5) prohibits this compensation for all other motor vehicle owners from exceeding the compensation for low-income motor vehicle owners; and (6) authorizes an increase in the compensation under these programs for either retired or replacement vehicles for only low-income motor vehicle owners as necessary to balance maximizing air quality benefits of the program while ensuring participation by low-income motor vehicle owners, as specified.
California Environmental Quality Act
SB 743 (Steinberg) CEQA Judicial Streamlining for Environmental Development Projects
The Governor signed SB 743 on September 27, 2013 (Chapter 386, Statutes 2013). The law: (1) requires the Judicial Council, on or before July 1, 2014, to adopt a rule of court to establish procedures applicable to actions or proceedings seeking judicial review of a public agency’s action in certifying the environmental impact report and in granting project approval that requires the actions or proceedings, including any appeals therefrom, be resolved, within 270 days of the certification of the record of proceedings. ; (2) extends the operation of the judicial review procedures unless the lead agency fails to certify an environmental impact report for an environmental leadership project on or before January 1, 2016; (3) provides that the above provisions do not apply to a project if the Governor does not certify the project as an environmental leadership development project prior to January 1, 2016. Because this bill would extend the time period for which a lead agency would be required to concurrently prepare the record of proceeding with the review and consideration of the environmental leadership development projects, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the lead agency, within 10 days of the Governor’s certification, to issue, at the applicant’s expense, a specified public notice, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program; (4) repeals the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 on January 1, 2017; (5) provides that aesthetic and parking impacts of a residential, mixed-use residential, or employment center project, as defined, on an infill site, as defined, within a transit priority area, as defined, shall not be considered significant impacts on the environment; (6) requires the Office of Planning and Research to prepare and submit to the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, and the secretary to certify and adopt, revisions to the guidelines for the implementation of CEQA establishing criteria for determining the significance of transportation impacts of projects within transit priority areas; (7) except for specified circumstances, exempt from CEQA residential, employment center, and mixed-use development projects meeting specified criteria. Because a lead agency would be required to determine the applicability of this exemption, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program; (8) requires the public agency, in certifying the environmental impact report and in granting approvals for a specified entertainment and sports center project located in the City of Sacramento, including the concurrent preparation of the record of proceedings and the certification of the record of proceeding within 5 days of the filing of a specified notice, to comply with specified procedures. Because a public agency would be required to comply with those new procedures, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program; (9) requires the Judicial Council, on or before July 1, 2014, to adopt a rule of court to establish procedures applicable to actions or proceedings seeking judicial review of a public agency’s action in certifying the environmental impact report and in granting project approval that requires the actions or proceedings, including any appeals therefrom, be resolved, to the extent feasible, within 270 days of the certification of the record of proceedings; (10) provides that the above provisions are inoperative and repealed on January 1 of the following year if the applicant fails to notify the lead agency before the release of the draft environmental impact report for public comment that the applicant is electing to proceed pursuant to the above provisions; (11) revises the definition of “infill opportunity zone,” as specified; (12) authorizes the designation of an infill opportunity zone that is a transit priority area within a sustainable communities strategy or alternative planning strategy adopted by an applicable metropolitan planning organization.
AB 1092 (Levine) Electric Charge Station Requirement for New Construction Projects
This bill would (1) require the commission, commencing with the next triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code adopted after January 1, 2014, to adopt, approve, codify, and publish mandatory building standards for the installation of future electric vehicle charging infrastructure for parking spaces in multifamily dwellings and nonresidential development, (2) require the Department of Housing and Community Development to propose mandatory building standards for the installation of future electric vehicle charging infrastructure for parking spaces in multifamily dwellings and submit the proposed mandatory building standards to the commission for consideration, (3) require the department and the commission, in proposing and adopting the mandatory building standards, to use specified sections of the California Green Building Standards Code as the starting point for the mandatory building standards and to actively consult with interested parties.
SB 454 (Corbett) Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Open Access Act
The Governor signed SB 454 on September 28, 2013 (Chapter 418, Statutes 2013). This law: (1) creates the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Open Access Act, which would prohibit the charging of a subscription fee on persons desiring to use an electric vehicle charging station, as defined, and would prohibit a requirement for persons to obtain membership in any club, association, or organization as a condition of using the station, except as specified; (2) requires the total actual charges for the use of an electric vehicle charging station to be disclosed to the public at the point of sale; (3) requires an electric vehicle charging station to provide to the general public 2 specified options of payment, (4) requires the service provider of electric vehicle service equipment, as defined, at an electric vehicle charging station, as defined, to disclose to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the charging station’s geographic location, a schedule of fees, accepted methods of payment, and the amount of network roaming charges for nonmembers, if any; and (5) if no interoperability billing standards have been adopted by a national standards organization by January 1, 2015, would authorize the state board to adopt interoperability billing standards, as defined, for network roaming payment methods for electric vehicle charging stations, and would require, if the state board adopts standards, all electric vehicle charging stations that require payment to meet those standards within one year.
AB 270 (Bradford) Website for Energy Efficiency Program Information
The Governor signed AB 270 into law on October 7, 2013 (Chapter 610, Statutes 2013). This law: (1) requires the CPUC to require the electrical and gas corporations to cooperate in establishing, by June 1, 2014, a publicly available Internet Web site containing specified information regarding ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs; and (2) requires the commission to include in that annual report information on its effort to identify ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs that are similar programs administered by other specified state agencies and requires revisions to ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs to ensure that those programs complement and do not duplicate the programs of other state agencies.
AB 719 (Roger Hernández) Efficient Street Lighting Requirement for Electric Utilities
The Governor signed AB 719 on October 7, 2013 (Chapter 616, Statutes 2013). This law requires: (1) the CPUC, on or before March 1, 2014, to order electrical corporations to submit, on or before July 1, 2015, a tariff to be used, at the discretion of local governments, to fund energy efficiency improvements in street light poles owned by the electrical corporations; and (2) states the intent of the Legislature that utility-owned street light poles, whose electricity use is paid by local governments, be converted to use cost-effective technology that reduces electricity consumption and may achieve lower utility bills.
AB 628 (Gorell) Energy Management Plans for Harbor and Port Districts
The Governor signed AB 628 into law on October 11, 2013 (Chapter 741, Statutes 2013). This law: (1) authorizes the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District and specified harbor and port districts, as defined, jointly with an electrical corporation, gas corporation, community choice aggregator established on or before July, 1 2013, or publicly owned electric or gas utility serving the district to prepare one or more energy management plans to reduce air emissions and promote economic development through the addition of new businesses and the retention of existing businesses in the district; and (2) requires, if a district prepares an energy management plan pursuant to these provisions, that the plan include specified provisions.
AB 341 (Dickinson) Green Building Standards
This bill would require (1) the commission and state agencies that propose green building standards to allow for input by other state agencies that have expertise in green building subject areas, (2) require the process by which these other state agencies shall submit suggested changes for consideration to be adopted as administrative regulations that include certain elements, (3) expand these provisions to authorize the expenditure of those funds by the commission in performing an analysis of existing green building standards and for carrying out verification protocols relating to building standards, including, but not limited to, training and guidance for local building officials in jurisdictions that have adopted Tier 1 and Tier 2 green building standards, (4) as part of the next triennial update of the California Building Standards Code, that state agencies that propose green building standards, as specified, to the extent that it is feasible, reference or reprint those green building standards in other relevant portions of the California Building Standards Code.
Greenhouse Gas/Climate Change
AB 691 (Muratsuchi) Requirement for Local Land Trustees to Develop Plan for Sea Level Rise
The Governor signed AB 691 on October 5, 2013 (Chapter 592, Statutes 2013). This law: (1) provides that addressing the impacts from sea level rise for all of its legislatively granted public trust lands shall be among the management priorities of a local trustee, as defined, (2) requires a local trustee whose gross public trust revenues average over $250,000 annually between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2014, to prepare and submit to the commission, no later than July 1, 2019, except as provided, an assessment of how it proposes to address sea level rise, (3) permits, but not require, a local trustee whose gross public trust revenues are $250,000 or less to prepare and submit to the commission an assessment, (4) requires a local trustee to consider and use relevant information from specified reports on sea level rise in preparing the assessment and would permit a trustee that has already completed an assessment on the impacts of sea level rise to submit that assessment to the commission, (5) requires that the commission make those assessments available to the public on its Internet Web site, and send electronic copies to certain other public entities.
AB 796 (Muratsuchi) Energy: Advanced electrical distributed generation technology.
The Governor signed AB 796 on October 7, 2013 (Chapter 617, Statutes 2013). Existing law authorizes the commission and the State Air Resources Board to treat advanced electrical distributed generation technology, as defined, as cogeneration, and makes certain existing limitations upon gas rates and surcharges charged cogenerators applicable to an advanced electrical distributed generation technology. Existing law makes the prohibition upon placing alternative fuel capability requirements upon gas customers that use gas for purposes of cogeneration applicable to a generator using advanced electrical distributed generation technology. These provisions do not apply to an advanced electrical distributed generation technology that is first operational at a site on and after January 1, 2014. This law makes the above-described authority, limitations, and prohibitions inapplicable to an advanced electrical distributed generation technology that is first operational at a site on and after January 1, 2016, rather than January 1, 2014. This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
AB 1257 (Bocanegra) California Energy Commission Natural Gas Report
This bill would require the Energy Commission, beginning November 1, 2015, and every 4 years thereafter, concurrent with the preparation of the integrated energy policy report, to identify strategies to maximize the benefits obtained from natural gas as an energy source, as specified.
Rates and Tariffs
AB 327 (Perea) CPUC Authority to Change Residential Electric and Natural Gas Rates
The Governor signed this bill into law on October 7, 2013 and it was enrolled under Chapter 611, Statutes 2013. The law: (1) repeals the limitations upon increasing the electric service rates of residential customers, including the rate increase limitations applicable to electric service provided to CARE customers; (2) requires the CPUC, in establishing rates for CARE program participants, to ensure that low-income ratepayers are not jeopardized or overburdened by monthly energy expenditures; (3) requires the CPUC to adopt CARE rates in which the level of discount for low-income electricity and gas ratepayers correctly reflects their level of need, as determined by a specified needs assessment; (4) requires that this needs assessment be performed not less often than every 3rd year; (5) revises the CARE program eligibility requirements to provide that for one-person households, program eligibility would be based on 2-person household guideline levels; (6) requires the CPUC, when establishing the CARE discounts for an electrical corporation with 100,000 or more customer accounts in California, to ensure that the average effective CARE discount be no less than 30% and no more than 35% of the revenues that would have been produced for the same billed usage by non-CARE customers and that the entire discount be provided in the form of a reduction in the overall bill for the eligible CARE customer; (7) requires that increases to rates and charges in rate design proceedings, including any reduction in the CARE discount, be reasonable and subject to a reasonable phase-in schedule relative to the rates and charges in effect prior to January 1, 2014; (8) authorizes the CPUC to approve new, or expand existing, fixed charges, as defined, for an electrical corporation for the purpose of collecting a reasonable portion of the fixed costs of providing service to residential customers; (9) requires the CPUC to ensure that any new or expanded fixed charges reasonably reflect an appropriate portion of the different costs of serving small and large customers, do not unreasonably impair incentives for conservation and energy efficiency, and do not overburden low-income and moderate-income customers; (10) imposes a $10 limit per residential customer account per month for customers not enrolled in the CARE program, would impose a $5 per month limit per residential customer account per month for customers enrolled in the CARE program, and would, beginning January 1, 2016, authorize the CPUC to adjust this maximum allowable fixed charge by no more than the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for the prior calendar year; (11) authorizes the CPUC to consider whether minimum bills are an appropriate substitute for any fixed charges; (12) prohibits the CPUC from requiring or permitting an electrical corporation from employing mandatory or default time-variant pricing, as defined, for any residential customer, except that beginning January 1, 2018, the commission may require or authorize an electrical corporation to employ default time-of-use pricing to residential customers, subject to specified limitations and conditions; (13) permits the CPUC to authorize an electrical corporation to offer residential customers the option of receiving service pursuant to time-variant pricing and to participate in other demand response programs; (14) provides that a residential customer would have the option to not receive service pursuant to time-variant pricing and not incur any additional charge as a result of the exercise of that option; (15) Unless the commission has authorized an electrical corporation to employ default time-of-use pricing, the law requires the CPUC to require each electrical corporation to offer default rates to residential customers with at least 2 usage tiers and would require that the first tier include electricity usage of no less than the baseline quantity established by the CPUC; (16) authorizes the CPUC to modify the baseline seasonal definitions and applicable percentage of average consumption for one or more climate zones; (17) requires a large electrical corporation, defined as an electrical corporation with more than 100,000 service connections in California, to provide net energy metering to additional eligible customer-generators in its service area through July 1, 2017, or until the corporation reaches its net energy metering program limit, as specified; (18) requires the CPUC, no later than December 31, 2015, to develop a standard contract or tariff for eligible customer-generators with a renewable electrical generation facility that is a customer of a large electrical corporation. In developing the standard contract or tariff for large electrical corporations, the CPUC would be required to take specified actions; (19) requires the large electrical corporation to offer the standard contract or tariff to an eligible customer-generator beginning July 1, 2017, or prior to that date if ordered to do so by the commission because it has reached the net energy metering program limit established for the corporation; (20) provides that there shall be no limitation on the number of new eligible customer-generators entitled to receive service pursuant to the new standard contract or tariff developed by the CPUC for a large electrical corporation; (21) provides that a fuel cell electrical generation facility is not eligible for the tariff unless it commences operation before January 1, 2017; (22) requires an electrical corporation, by July 1, 2015, to submit to the CPUC a distribution resources plan proposal, as specified, to identify optimal locations for the deployment of distributed resources, as defined; (23) requires the CPUC to review each distribution resources plan proposal submitted by an electrical corporation and approve, or modify and approve, a distribution resources plan for the corporation; (24) requires that any electrical corporation spending on distribution infrastructure necessary to accomplish the distribution resources plan be proposed and considered as part of the next general rate case for the corporation and would authorize the commission to approve this proposed spending if it concludes that ratepayers would realize net benefits and the associated costs are just and reasonable; and (25) authorizes the CPUC to require a retail seller to procure eligible renewable energy resources in excess of the specified quantities.
AB 792 (Mullin) Utility user tax: exemption: distributed generation systems.
The Governor signed this bill on October 4, 2013, (Chapter 543, Statutes 2013). This law, until January 1, 2020, exempt from any utility user tax imposed by a local jurisdiction, as defined, the consumption of electricity generated by a clean energy resource, as defined, for the use of a single customer or the customer’s tenants.
SB 43 (Wolk) Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program
The Governor signed SB 43 on September 28, 2013 and it was enrolled under Chapter 413, Statutes 2013. This law: (1) enacts the Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program. The program would require a participating utility, defined as being an electrical corporation with 100,000 or more customers in California, to file with the CPUC an application requesting approval of a green tariff shared renewables program to implement a program enabling ratepayers to participate directly in offsite electrical generation facilities that use eligible renewable energy resources, consistent with certain legislative findings and statements of intent, (2) requires the CPUC, by July 1, 2014, to issue a decision concerning the participating utility’s application, determining whether to approve or disapprove the application, with or without modifications, (3) requires the CPUC, after notice and opportunity for public comment, to approve the application if the commission determines that the proposed program is reasonable and consistent with the legislative findings and statements of intent, (4) requires the CPUC to require that a participating utility’s green tariff shared renewables program be administered in accordance with specified provisions , (5) repeals the program on January 1, 2019.
SB 591 (Cannella) Role of Hydroelectric Generation in RPS Requirements for Municipal Utilities
The Governor signed SB 591 into law on October 3, 2013 (Chapter 520, Statutes 2013). This law provides that a local publicly owned electric utility is not required to procure additional eligible renewable energy resources in excess of specified levels, if it receives 50% or greater of its annual retail sales from its own hydrodelectric generation meeting specified requirements.