State Approves Tri-County Regional Energy Network Business Plan

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Source: Santa Barbara County

On May 31, 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), approved an Energy Efficiency Business Plan submitted by a tri-county collaboration that will allow local governments to have more flexibility over program design to meet local needs and bring ratepayer dollars directly to their region.

Business plans were submitted by Investor-Owned Utilities and three Regional Energy Networks. The plans outline proposed energy efficiency programming and budgets that will be implemented across the state through 2025.  The decision is a significant win for the central coast as it approves the Tri-County Regional Energy Network Business Plan, submitted by the Counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

“The approval of Tri-County Regional Energy Network’s business plan will help us more effectively meet local energy efficiency needs and better serve the diverse needs within the Tri-County region,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer for Ventura County. 

The Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3C-REN) is a group of local governments designated as program administrators for energy efficiency programs and can receive ratepayer funding directly from the CPUC rather than through Investor-Owned Utilities. The CPUC decision is noteworthy given that 3C-REN is one of only three approved RENs within the state. Specific programming anticipated to be offered in the Tri-County Region include:

•           Workforce education and training programs

•           Codes and standards compliance programs

•           Residential (including multi-family) energy efficiency programs

“Staff from all three counties have been working diligently over the last 18 months to develop the 3C-REN Business Plan and participate in the extremely intensive regulatory process required by the CPUC to get final approval,” said Das Williams, Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor.  “Staff will now start working on developing implementation plans that outline the specifics of the energy efficiency programs we hope to launch in early 2019.”

The CPUC directed 3C-REN to put special emphasis on customers who are considered “hard-to-reach,” which they define as those without easy access to program information or who generally do not participate in energy efficiency programs due to a combination of barriers, such as language, business size, geographic, and ownership/renter relationship.

“The 3C-REN will provide significant enhancements over some of our existing energy efficiency program offerings; we are particularly excited about the benefits it will provide to local building industry professionals” said Rob Fitzroy, Deputy Director of the Planning & Building Department of San Luis Obispo County.

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