Interruptible Bill Heads to Senate

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, June 6, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Legislation to continue utility interruptible programs through 2008 passed out of the Assembly on Wednesday, June 4.

AB 425 (Keith Richman, R-Northridge), which requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to continue the availability to qualified heavy industrial customers of optional utility interruptible or curtailable service, cleared the lower house by a 67-4 vote.

The bill requires the CPUC to set "cost-based" incentive levels, which are set initially at the current levels.

A customer receiving interruptible or curtailable service who does not comply with the commitment to shed load within the time period provided for in the tariff, if asked to do so, will be required to pay a noncompliance penalty, initially set at $9.30 per kWh for excess power taken. The bill also requires utilities to remove from the rate option any customer who, after two consecutive requests from the utility, voluntarily elects not to "comply substantially" with its commitment to shed load.

Last year the CPUC extended the interruptible programs beyond 2002. Absent legislative intervention, the programs go away at the end of this year.

All customers benefit from the willingness of interruptible customers to curtail their operations when emergency conditions exist. These programs are critical for successful management of the state's electric grid and have helped to provide system reliability during peak demand periods since their inception in the mid-1980s. And, more than a dozen times in late 2000 and early 2001, interruptible programs enabled the state to avert rotating outages.

Large industrial and commercial customers benefit from these programs by having additional options by which to manage their electricity loads and costs as well as lower rates.
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