Calif. PUC Issues Draft To Revise Recently Adopted Direct Access Expansion Deadlines
July 1, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The California PUC issued a proposed order to clarify its recently adopted schedule and deadlines for the expansion of direct access load, to address concerns from competitive supply parties that the adopted deadlines were "inadequate" for customers awarded a DA allocation as a result of another customer declining an initial allocation. However, the draft appears to be inconsistent, in terms of its conclusions of law and ordering paragraphs, concerning a policy to address such concern
As previously reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, competitive supply parties had noted that, under the PUC's decision, the deadline for customers who are granted direct access space subsequent to an initial round, due to an initially awarded customer declining their awarded space, is the same date by which the originally awarded customer has to elect or decline direct access, and the date by which the utilities must inform such second-round customers of any newly opened space.
In brief, under the current schedule, a customer that is notified by August 12 of the opportunity to move to direct access has until 5:00 pm on September 3 to notify its utility that it either accepts or declines direct access service. At that point, the utility is to notify the next eligible customer in the queue. However, the same date and time, 5:00 pm on September 3, applies for the subsequently notified customer to respond to the utility notice
The direct access parties noted that, under current switching rules, customers have 15 business days, once notified that direct access cap space is available, to notify their utility that they accept or reject the space.
"The Petitioners therefore seek to be consistent with existing rules by modifying the Decision to provide that subsequently notified customers shall be allowed fifteen (15) business days after notification to respond to a utility notice of available space," the direct access petitioners said
In a discussion of the issue, the draft proposes to address this concern by requiring customers awarded an initial direct access (DA) allotment to make a decision within 15 days, ostensibly to speed any decision and therefore accelerate any re-allocation notice resulting from a customer declining their DA allocation, thereby speeding the notification to any customer receiving a re-allocation. However, as discussed in the body of the proposed decision, such customers receiving a DA re-allocation due to another customer declining a DA allocation would still need to submit a DA request by 5:00 p.m. on September 3
In the discussion section of the proposed decision, the draft states an intent to adopt the following language modifying an ordering paragraph of the prior decision (new language underlined):
"If a notified customer declines the opportunity to join the
DA program, the IOU must notify the next eligible customer
in queue for that IOU’s service territory, and direct these
customers to submit their decision regarding DA service to
the IOU on or before September 3, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. within
fifteen (15) days of such notification." [sic]
The draft, in a conclusion of law, further explains the change as follows, "After an eligible customer declines to enroll in the DA expansion, the next
available customer should have an opportunity to enroll in the DA expansion,
provided that the next available customer notifies the respective IOU by
September 3, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. "
A draft conclusion of law also states, concerning the 15-day deadline for customers receiving an initial allotment, that, "Customers who are eligible to enroll in the DA expansion will be notified
by the respective IOU. Requiring notified customers to provide their enrollment
decision to the respective IOU within 15 days of being notified is reasonable
because IOUs require an adequate amount of time to notify the next available customer, and the next available customer requires an adequate amount of time
to provide a response to the IOUs."
However, the draft's ordering paragraphs, which would modify the ordering paragraphs of the prior decision, do not appear to reflect the policy stated above. Rather, the draft's ordering paragraphs state that, "Ordering Paragraph 3, subsection 4, of Decision 19-05-043 is modified as follows: 'if a notified customer declines the opportunity to join the DA program, the IOU must notify the next eligible
customer in queue for that IOU’s service territory, and
direct these customers to submit their decision regarding
DA service to the IOU within fifteen (15) days of such
notification.' [compare this language to the language stated above]
Note that there is no mention here of the September 3 deadline for "next eligible" customers. Nor would it appear that such a hard September 3 deadline (regardless of whether the customer was granted a full 15 days for a decision) would apply based on the unmodified parts of the prior decision's ordering paragraphs. Moreover, nothing in the draft's ordering paragraphs themselves would require the customers initially awarded a DA allotment to make a decision within 15 days; such deadline is only contained in the draft's conclusions of law, but not the ordering clauses.
In addition, the draft would modify a related deadline for the provision of aggregate information to CCAs. Under the draft, by September 10, 2019, the IOUs shall provide to each affected Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) a preliminary report of the aggregate hourly peak demand and hourly load data for the latest entire year to date of 2019 and 2020 waitlist customers who chose to switch from that CCA’s service to the Direct Access program. A final report shall be provided to each affected CCA by February 10, 2020.