Gino DiCaro

Bill to continue interruptible programs in Assembly

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, July 20, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

For two decades, large electricity users have been offered discounted rates from investor-owned utilities in exchange for agreeing to curtail their electricity service when peak demand threatens grid reliability.   Several times during the energy crisis of 2000-01 and again last summer, curtailments prevented rolling blackouts.

A bill that is currently before the Assembly Appropriations Committee continues utility interruptible programs through 2015.  SB 428 (Bob Dutton, R-Inland Empire) requires the California Public Utilities Commission to require utilities to offer optional interruptible or curtailable service programs and air-conditioning cycling programs to their customers.  The bill requires that the pricing incentives for participation reflect the costs avoided by the reductions in demand created by these programs, including the reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutant emissions from generating facilities that would have been required to operate but for these demand reductions.

SB 428 directs utilities to continue their "efforts to reduce the rates charged heavy industrial customers to a level competitive with other states, and to do so without shifting recovery of costs to other customer classes."  This is a matter of great concern to California manufacturers, whose rates are already 80 percent higher than rates for their competitors in neighboring Western states.

The bill is currently on the Assembly Appropriations "Suspense" file, and will be taken up by the committee in late August.

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