Our Position on AB 538- Oppose CAISO Regional Expansion (April 2023)

The Alliance joins over 180 other organizations, as it did in 2018, opposing an almost identical plan to place the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) under the authority of a western regional transmission organization (RTO). 

The earlier attempt to regionalize CAISO (AB 813) was defeated, but the effort to undermine California’s energy autonomy continues as Holden reintroduces the measure as AB 538.

If successful, this bill would pull investment away from local clean energy development into further expansion of the centralized energy model: incentivizing construction of costly and dangerous transmission lines, introducing dirty coal power from neighboring states, and pulling local energy jobs out of our communities. As the largest energy economy of the proposed RTO, Californians will foot most of the bill for this mess.

Furthermore, while the bill includes conditions and provisions to maintain state control over energy decision-making, there is strong precedent, backed by the federal courts, that such provisions are voided upon entry into the RTO; state-imposed conditions are superseded by the regional or federal authority. And there is no backing out once California joins an RTO.

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