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by Anna LaRue •
I know what you’re thinking – a really exciting topic. But this question has actually come up in conversation a remarkable number of times in the last couple of weeks. This is not intended to be a definitive guide, but just to start the delineation between the organizations.
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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The CEC is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency.
The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies.
This post will focus only on the energy aspects of the CPUC’s role.
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The California Energy Commission (CEC)
The five CEC commissioners are appointed by the California governor and must be approved by the Senate. Terms are five years. Commissioners must represent the following specific areas of expertise: law, environment, economics, science/engineering, and the public at large.
The CEC’s responsibilities include:
The CEC is located in Sacramento, CA.
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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
The five CPUC commissioners are also appointed by the California governor and must be approved by the Senate. Terms are six years.
The CPUC regulates investor owned utilities (IOUs) that distribute electricity and natural gas, including Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Company.
The CPUC does not regulate municipal utilities, such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
The CPUC’s mission is the following:
The CPUC has a number of different divisions; the Energy Division assists Commission activities in the electricity, natural gas, steam, and petroleum pipeline industries. Energy Division handles the regulation and Commission approval of official rates and terms of service for energy IOUs.
Because the regulated California utilities are so large, and their programs reach so many customers, CPUC energy policy decisions and goals have wide influence in California. The CPUC touches programs in energy efficiency, demand response, low-income assistance, distributed generation, and self-generation, among others. It has a role in California climate policy. It is overseeing the CA utilities’ switch to Smart Grid technologies. The CPUC regulated electric generation and procurement, electric rates and markets, gas policy and rates, and electric transmission and distribution.
CPUC headquarters are in San Francisco, CA.
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