Newsom’s CPUC vs the People of California (January 2022)

The California Alliance for Community Energy has long been concerned about anti-community bias at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Notable in decisions on the PICA, micro-grids, the Avoided Cost Calculator and others, the CPUC invariably sides with the utilities against the public interest.

It’s happening again. The Proposed Decision in the Net Energy Metering proceeding (NEM 3.0) was released in December. As described elsewhere, it’s another disaster for local, community scale renewables.

In this Position Paper on the NEM 3.0 Proposed Decision, the Alliance calls BS on this institutional bias. As we face accelerating climate change, soaring utility rates, utility-caused wildfires year-round, more frequent power shutoffs and growing recognition of the structural injustice inherent in the energy system, the Commission has failed to live up to its mission to “serve(s) the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility services …at reasonable rates”.

Further, the Alliance also argues that this utility-centric framework must be countered if community energy –and any real commitment to racial equity and energy justice –is to be realized in California.

It’s time to demand better. Governor Newsom appointed four of the five current Commissioners. He needs to fix this.

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