Details for: SCE's Protest Response to Advice 4222-E.pdf


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Gary A. Stern, Ph.D.
Managing Director, State Regulatory Operations

June 29, 2020
Energy Division
Attention: Tariff Unit
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
SUBJECT:

Reply of Southern California Edison Company to the Protest of
Protect Our Community Foundation to Advice 4222-E

Dear Energy Tariff Division Unit:
Pursuant to General Rule 7.4.3 of the California Public Utilities Commission’s
(Commission or CPUC) General Order (GO) 96-B, Southern California Edison
Company (SCE) hereby submits its Reply to The Protect Our Community Foundation’s
(PCF) Protest to SCE’s Advice Letter (AL) 4222-E, Southern California Edison
Company's Reports on Possible Off Ramps Pursuant to Decision (D.) 19-05-036
(Guidance Decision) on 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Plans (WMP).
Background and Summary of Reply
On September 21, 2018, then California Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 901.
SB 901 modified Section 8386 of the California Public Utilities (PU) Code requiring
electrical corporations to annually prepare and submit a WMP to the Commission for
review and approval, and delineated 19 specific requirements to include in the WMP.1
The Commission subsequently opened Rulemaking (R.) 18-10-007 in 2018 as required
by SB 901 to consider electrical corporations’ WMPs.
On June 3, 2019, the Commission issued the Guidance Decision, addressing issues
that are common to all the respondent electrical corporations’ 2019 WMPs. On June 3,
2019, the Commission also issued D.19-05-038 (the SCE-specific WMP Decision) that
found SCE’s 2019 WMP contains the elements required by PU Code Section 8386(c)
and approved its WMP. Importantly, this approval was subject to certain follow up
reporting, metrics, data and advice letter requirements.2 One of the conditions of WMP
approval was the requirement to file certain advice letters. To that end, the Guidance

1
2

Assembly Bill 1054, signed by Governor Newsom on July 12, 2019, further modified PU
Code Section 8386 amongst other PU code additions and changes.
See D.19-05-038, Ordering Paragraph (OP) 1, p. 51.

P.O. Box 800

8631 Rush Street

Rosemead, California 91770

(626) 302-9645

Fax (626) 302-6396





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Energy Division California Public Utilities Commission June 29, 2020 Page 2 Decision ordered all respondent electrical utilities to file two separate advice letters, via Tier 3, “Reports on Possible Off Ramps.”3 The decisions established a Phase 2 of R.18-10-007 (the SB 901 OIR) to deal with a small number of important issues the Commission could not resolve in the 3-month window allotted it by PU Code Section 8386(e) (now Section 8386.3(a)) to act on the WMPs. The Commission deferred these issues to Phase 2 to ensure the WMPs were in place by the 2019 wildfire season, but also to give more attention to a few remaining issues that required further record development. On March 12, 2020, the Commission issued D.20-03-004 resolving certain Phase 2 issues including the review and disposition of utilities’ first Tier 3 Off-Ramp advice letters filed pursuant to the Guidance Decision. D.20-03-004 explained that the Off-Ramp provision was intended in part to allow Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) and Small and Multijurisdictional Utilities (SMJUs) to decrease wildfire mitigation measures to avoid waste of potential customer funds on measures that were not proving effective and also to increase the scope of work where effectiveness was significant.4 On June 2, 2020, SCE timely submitted its second OffRamp Report pursuant to the Guidance Decision. PCF argues that the utilities’ Off-Ramp Reports should have addressed its, other parties’ and the Commission’s concerns with the utilities’ WMPs. However, the Commission explicitly articulated that the purpose of the Off-Ramp Reports “was to allow IOUs and SMJUs to decrease wildfire mitigation measures to avoid waste of potential ratepayer funds on measures that were not effective and increase the scope of work where effectiveness was significant” and explained how the Off-Ramp Reports have no bearing on whether the Commission or other parties believe any of the utilities’ wildfire mitigation is effective.5 The Off-Ramp Report is simply not a vehicle for parties to relitigate decisions approving WMPs, nor is it a vehicle for the utilities to address any perceived deficiencies identified by the Commission, the Wildfire Safety Division or other parties. The specific timelines and information required to be provided for those perceived deficiencies were identified in D.19-05-036 and WSD-002 and WSD-004. As such, the Commission should disregard PCF’s Protest as it is devoid of merit. As explained herein, PCF’s Protest should be rejected as AL 4222-E met each of the Guidance Decision’s Tier 3 advice letter requirements and followed the guidance in D.20-03-004. SCE’s AL is therefore compliant with the Guidance Decision. 3 4 5 See D.19-05-036, OP 1. See D.20-03-004, p. 26. Id. at pp. 28-29.
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Energy Division California Public Utilities Commission June 29, 2020 Page 3 Discussion PCF Misunderstands the Guidance Decision and D.20-03-004 PCF argues that D.20-03-004 ordered utilities to file the second Off-Ramp Report in the SB 901 OIR and not via an advice letter process. This is incorrect. The requirement to file two Off-Ramp advice letters was ordered in the Guidance Decision.6 D.20-03-004 resolved the first Off-Ramp Report, and in that decision the Commission decided to evaluate the first Off-Ramp Report advice letters in the SB 901 OIR proceeding rather than having them be the subject of Resolutions (which is the Commission’s practice for resolving Tier 3 Advice Letters).7 But nowhere in D.20-03-004 (or any other Commission decision) did the Commission indicate that it was instructing similar treatment for the second Off-Ramp Report. In the absence of such direction, SCE appropriately submitted its second Off-Ramp Report as a Tier 3 Advice Letter pursuant to the explicit direction in the Guidance Decision. PCF Errs in its Belief that Protests to the First Off Ramp Report and its Application of Rehearing of D.20-03-004 are Material to the Requirement to File the Second Off Ramp Report PCF incorrectly asserts that protests to the first Off-Ramp Report are applicable to the requirement to file the second Off Ramp Report and that utilities should have discussed PCF’s Application of Rehearing of D.20-03-004. PCF’s assertions should be rejected. First, D.20-03-004 evaluated and disposed of the utilities’ first Off Ramp Report advice letters and did not require the utilities to include language from protests in the second Off Ramp Report advice letters. Second, PCF’s Application for Rehearing is pending before the Commission; pursuant to the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure the final decision the Application for Rehearing remains in full effect.8 PCF’s Claim that the Utilities’ Second Off Ramp Report Failed to Described Concerns Raised by the Commission and the Parties Contradicts D.20-03-004 PCF suggests the utilities failed to describe concerns raised by the Commission and parties about the effectiveness of any program in their individual Wildfire Mitigation Plans in their second Off Ramp Report. In D.20-03-004, the Commission explained that the provision to describe “any concerns about the effectiveness of any program in their individual Wildfire Mitigation Plans” is a condition solely for the IOUs to assess, and not other parties.9 The Commission goes on to describe that “While the Commission may disagree with an IOU's or SMJU's determination in its Off-Ramp Advice Letter of whether a mitigation measure is effective, the Commission's process for determining effectiveness is separate from the Off-Ramp Advice Letter process.” In disposing of 6 7 8 9 See D.19-05-036, OP 1. See D.20-03-004, p. 7. See CPUC Rules of Practice and Procedure 16.1(b). See D.20-03-004, pp. 28-30.
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Energy Division California Public Utilities Commission June 29, 2020 Page 4 several of the first Off Ramp advice letters, the Commission made it absolutely clear that the Off Ramp advice letter has no bearing on whether the Commission or other parties believe any of the utilities’ wildfire mitigation is effective.10 Conclusion For the foregoing reasons, SCE respectfully requests the Commission dismiss the Protest and issue a resolution approving AL 4222-E as submitted. Sincerely, /s/ Gary A. Stern, Ph.D. Gary A. Stern, Ph.D. GAS:rs:jm cc: 10 Edward Randolph, Director, CPUC Energy Division Malinda Dickenson, PCF Service List R.18-10-007 Id.
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