Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 12:21 am | Overcast 67º

 
 
 
 

Williams Introduces Triple-Bill Energy Package

Assemblymember Das Williams (D - Carpinteria), a tireless advocate in the fight against climate change, has introduced a series of bills to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

AB 2206 would require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to work with the California Council of Science and Technology (CCST) to analyze some of the regulations related to injecting biomethane, a mixture of different gases typically derived from the breakdown of organic material, into the natural gas pipeline.

AB 2313 intends to help defray costs to interconnect biomethane projects to the natural gas pipeline. As natural gas use continues to rise, especially with the price of natural gas dropping, biomethane capture can provide immediate and significant greenhouse gas reductions.

Both bills will both help California comply with pipeline regulatory requirements and address the cost for interconnection of putting biomethane in the energy pipeline.

“California has adopted dozens of policies to increase renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling, carbon sequestration and more, but we have yet to adopt policies to decarbonize the gas sector,” said Williams. “AB 2206 and AB 2313 will address some of the primary barriers to replacing natural gas with biogas, a critical sector to target because it represents one-quarter of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

In addition to these bills, Assemblymember Williams introduced AB 2168, known as the Public Utilities Commission Audit Compliance Act of 2016, to ensure the public is informed of any under- or over-collection of revenue from ratepayers compared to the utilities’ actual allowed costs. The CPUC requires that utilities track certain costs and related revenues using “balancing accounts.”

In 2014 the California State Auditor found that the CPUC’s current process for reviewing balancing accounts did not adequately protect ratepayers from unreasonable rate increases.

Though CPUC has already begun implementing the audit recommendations, this bill would codify the state auditor’s recommendations, thus ensuring that the CPUC continues proper balancing account oversight well into the future.

“It’s frightening to think that the primary method of protecting ratepayers from overpaying rates are these utility balancing accounts, which are not reviewed under a consistent audit policy,” Williams said. “AB 2168 ensures that the CPUC adopts a formal policy for oversight and keeps utilities and the CPUC accountable to ratepayers.”

Hillary Blackerby represents Assemblymember Das Williams.

 

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