Direct Access Expansion Proceeding – Phase 2

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On September 20, 2018, Governor Brown signed SB 237, thus expanding the cap on Direct Access (DA) by 4000 GWh to 28,000 GWh, or 16% of IOU load. The CPUC implemented the first part of the statute in an extremely short timeframe, allowing DA load departure in 2021.

Phase 2 of the proceeding lays the foundation for a full DA reopening for all non-residential customers within a few years. Per the statute (SB 237) by June 1, 2020, the CPUC is directed to provide recommendations to the Legislature on lifting the DA cap entirely and a phase-in period for all non-residential accounts. If signed into law, there is the potential for greater retail choice for non-residential customers but at the expense of CCAs experiencing a combined load departure of over 23,000 GWh, or 53% of the current CCA load.

The statute requires that the recommendations: (1) not increase GHG emissions, (2) not increase criteria air contaminants and toxic air contaminants, and (3) maintain electric system reliability. CCA analysis indicates that the ability for the State and local governments to reach their goals would be jeopardized with an increase in DA.

CalChoice and CalCCA are actively involved in Phase 2 of the proceeding in order to ensure a fair and open process that is informed by rigorous legal and technical analysis. Without engagement, CCAs risk significant non-residential customer load departure. CalChoice, along with other stakeholders, attended a CPUC workshop on January 8, 2020. The CPUC staff, based on input received at the workshop, is due to issue a DA Expansion Study the week of March 9, 2020.

Next Steps

CalChoice is a participant in the working group engaging directly with the CPUC. The working group will be meeting with Commission Advisors and Energy Division staff; coordinating with environmental organizations; coordinating with elected officials and engaging with legislators as required.