The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will now factor in future avoided transmission costs when valuing distributed energy resources (DERs). Transmission infrastructure, which has to be built to service maximum load, accounts for the fastest-growing component of electricity bills, according to the nonprofit Clean Coalition. To learn more, read “California values distributed energy resources fairly — and ratepayers score a big win.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Clean Coalition estimates that the value of DERs was robbed by as much as 50 percent because the CPUC’s avoided cost calculators (ACCs) did not include avoided transmission costs in valuations of DERs
  • Craig Lewis, executive director of the Clean Coalition, said, “Most ratepayers, and policymakers too, have no idea that operations and maintenance costs associated with transmission infrastructure account for about 90% of transmission costs that are heaped on ratepayers over the lifetime of that infrastructure.”
  • Before this recent CPUC decision, the ACC already included avoided future transaction costs for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). 

Path to 100% Perspective

This decision is an important step in considering future transmission costs and marks a major win for California ratepayers. Many ratepayers and policymakers are not even aware that operations and maintenance along with transmission infrastructure account for around 90 percent of transition costs.