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California’s early efforts to modernize the electricity grid have not been without a certain level of controversy. However, Policymakers are learning from early efforts and are actively working with stakeholders to communicate the wide array of benefits to deployment of advanced technologies across the electricity grid. California’s deliberate and strategic planning for a Smart Grid system will ensure that California’s utility customers realize the economic, environmental, reliability, and public health and safety benefits of Smart Grid investments.

COMMISSION ACTIVITIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON ADVANCEMENT OF A SMARTER GRID

In December 2008, the Commission initiated a Rulemaking (R.08-12-009) to consider setting policies, standards and protocols to guide the development of a smart grid and facilitate integration of new technologies such as distributed generation, storage, demand-side technologies and electric vehicles. The Rulemaking further noted that as a consequence of amendments to the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), PURPA § 111(d)(16) now requires states to consider imposing certain requirements and authorizing certain expenditures pertaining to the Smart Grid.1

In October 2009, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 17 (Authored by Senator Padilla). The passage of SB 17 imposed additional statutory requirements on both the Commission and the electrical utilities that the Commission regulates pertaining to the Smart Grid.

SB 17, Sec. 8360, defines the characteristics of a Smart Grid as:

(a) Increased use of cost-effective digital information and control technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid. (b) Dynamic optimization of grid operations and resources, including appropriate consideration for asset management and utilization of related grid operations and resources, with cost-effective full cyber-security.

1

The Recovery Act at Division A, Title IV, Sec. 408 redesignated PURPA § 111(d)(16) as § 111(d)(18).

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