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Presentation to the Low Income Oversight Board. November 21, 2003 Pacific Energy Center. Overview. Workshop Purpose

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presentation to the low income oversight board

Presentation to the Low Income Oversight Board

November 21, 2003Pacific Energy Center

  • Workshop Purpose
    • To solicit input from LIOB and the public relating to Low Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE) Program policies on gas appliance carbon monoxide (CO testing) in LIEE homes with non-utility combustion (e.g., propane) appliances .
  • Specific Objective
    • To obtain input relating to the treatment of homes that have IOU space-heating fuels (and are eligible for infiltration-reduction measures), but that also have non-IOU combustion appliances.
  • Workshop Format
    • Presentation on background, including current policies
    • Discussion of options considered by the Standardization Team
    • Discussion of Team recommendations
    • Summary of PG&E and Commission concerns
    • LIOB and public input
  • Focus of today’s discussion is on CO testing in homes with non-natural gas combustion appliances.
  • Current CPUC policy on LIEE Program appliance CO testing involves a Minimum Standard that focuses primarily on natural gas space-heating appliances, but utilities have the option of going beyond the Minimum Standard. PG&E uses a more extensive testing protocol than SoCalGas and SDG&E.
  • Until very recently, Customers who do not use natural gas or electric space heating were ineligible for any LIEE weatherization measures. In December 2001, the Commission authorized the major California utilities to offer non-infiltration-reduction weatherization measures to homes with IOU air conditioning but non IOU fueled space heating (D. 01-12-020).
background continued
Background (continued)
  • One way current IOU LIEE Program policies differ relates to the treatment of homes with non-IOU combustion appliances. PG&E currently conducts CO tests on non-IOU combustion appliances (e.g., propane water heaters), while SDG&E and SoCalGas do not. PG&E installs infiltration reduction measures only if pre-weatherization appliance CO tests are passed in these homes.
  • In D. 01-03-028, the Commission instructed utilities to develop recommendations to standardize IOU LIEE Program appliance CO testing policies and standards on a statewide basis.
team recommendations and the issue to be addressed today
Team Recommendations and the Issue to be Addressed Today
  • The Team submitted its recommendations on May 5. These recommendations addressed the types of appliance testing to be done, the timing of the testing, and the conditions under which testing must be done.
  • The Team recommended (and Commission agreed) that only homes receiving weatherization measures should be tested for CO. This would include homes with IOU space heating and/or air conditioning. However, they may have other non-IOU combustion appliances.
  • The Team recommended that water heating and cooking appliances should be tested for CO in PY 2004. (Under the current Minimum Standard, only space heating must be operated during CO tests.) This raised two issues:
    • Should non-IOU combustion appliances be tested for CO?
    • Should these homes be eligible for infiltration-reduction measures, even if they have IOU space-heating fuel?
options considered for eligible homes with non iou combustion fuels
Option 1

Restrict NGAT assessments to IOU natural gas appliances, but still install infiltration-reduction measures in homes with non-IOU combustion appliances

Option 2

Conduct NGAT assessments for other combustion appliances (e.g., propane) prior to weatherization, and install infiltration reduction measures only in homes that pass the NGAT test

Option 3

Conduct NGAT assessments for other combustion appliances (e.g., propane) prior to or after weatherization, and repair or replace these appliances if they fail the NGAT test.

Option 4

Restrict NGAT assessments to IOU natural gas appliances, and deem infiltration reduction measures non-feasible for all homes using other combustion fuels.

Options Considered for Eligible Homes with Non-IOU Combustion Fuels
standardization team recommendations
Standardization Team Recommendations
  • Restrict NGAT assessments to IOU natural gas appliances, and deem infiltration reduction measures non-feasible for all homes using other combustion fuels (Option 4)
  • Refer homes for which infiltration reduction measures are deemed non-feasible for this reason to LIHEAP or (if relevant) utility providing natural gas
  • Request LIHEAP agencies and/or other natural gas utilities to report back to IOUs.
  • PG&E concurred with Team recommendation on this issue, but expressed concern that implementation of the recommendation would “have an adverse effect on its ability to serve its rural customers.”
  • In R. 01-08-027, the Commission concurred that “IOU ratepayers should not be responsible for conducting safety tests on non-IOU fueled appliances, or bear the costs of replacing or repairing these appliances if the do not pass the tests…”
  • However, the Commission also indicated that it was “not persuaded that the costs of installing infiltration-reduction measures in those homes should no longer be funded out of the LIEE Program.”
  • The Commission instructed the Team to explore an approach that would use LIEE funds to “leverage the provision of infiltration-reduction measures to these homes by LIHEAP or non-IOU gas utilities.”
commission instructions
Commission Instructions
  • In R. 01-08-027, the Commission instructed the Standardization Team to do the following:
    • To explore the Commission’s proposed option as well as other options for serving homes with non-IOU fuels.
    • To make a presentation to the LIOB, with notice to all interested parties.
    • To cover current policies and procedures, Team recommendations, and additional alternatives for treating homes with non-IOU combustion appliances.
    • To include a summary of comments and recommendations of the LIOB, participating CBOs, and other parties in a supplemental Phase 4 report, along with Team recommendations.
estimated percent of low income homes affected
Estimated Percent of Low Income Homes Affected

Estimates of Percentages of Homes with Non-IOU Fuels

questions to be addressed
Questions to be Addressed
  • Should combustion appliance tests be conducted by the four major IOUs on appliances using non-IOU combustion fuels (e.g., propane, kerosene, municipal natural gas)?
  • Should homes with non-IOU combustion appliances (other than space heating) be referred to non-IOU programs? Which programs?
  • If these homes are referred to non-IOU programs, what services should these other programs provide?
    • CO testing?
    • Appliance repair?
    • Installation of infiltration reduction measures?
    • Installation of all LIEE measures?
    • Installation of all measures offered by the non-IOU programs?
questions to be addressed1
Questions to be Addressed
  • If homes are referred to other programs (LIHEAP, municipal gas programs), should the IOUs reimburse those programs for the costs of combustion appliance testing? For the cost of appliance repairs? For the costs of weatherization measures? For the costs of other measures?
  • If reimbursement is provided, what rates should be used?
    • LIEE rates?
    • Rates paid by the non-IOU programs?