EPIC - Electricity Program Investment Charge
In May 2012, the CPUC issued a Decision establishing
the Electricity Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program for the purpose of providing
public funding for research, development, demonstration, deployment (RDD&D),
and market facilitation projects. The CPUC authorized approximately $162
million annually for utility and California Energy Commission (CEC) RDD&D
projects, from January 2012 through 2020. In September 2013, the California
Legislature passed Senate
Bill (SB) 96, which capped the annual collection of EPIC funds at the amount
authorized in the CPUC’s EPIC Decision. SB 96 also imposed additional
administration and reporting requirements on the CEC’s administration of its
portion of the EPIC program. The CEC, Edison, PG&E,
and SDG&E filed
their coordinated EPIC proposals with the CPUC on November 1, 2012. These
investment plans also included proposed administrative and governance processes,
and bidding and project selection guidelines.
On November 14, 2013, the CPUC issued its Final
Decision approving the CEC’s and the utilities’ 2012-2014 investment
plans, with modifications such as capping EPIC funds at $162 million per year,
which is consistent with SB 96. In addition, the CPUC decision denied the
CEC’s request to increase its EPIC budget by $50 million for the New Solar
Homes Partnership. The EPIC program will fund RDD&D projects related
to achieving California's energy policy goals, including electric vehicles,
energy storage, and demand response.
For the three year investment period from 2012 to
2014, the budgets are:
- CEC - $368.7 million
- PG&E - $49.3 million
- SCE - $40.4 million
- SDG&E - $8.6 million
The CEC and utilities are required to submit
annual reports on the status of the EPIC program to the CPUC and to consult with
interested stakeholders no less than twice a year, during development and
In 2016, an independent evaluator will assess the
program’s success and identify areas for improvement.
ORA’s Policy Position
ORA supports ratepayers’ investment in RDD&D
where ratepayers receive benefit for their investment. In December 2013,
ORA protested the CEC’s and the utilities’ EPIC investment plans because the
proposals did not properly detail quantifiable benefits for ratepayers’
investment, nor adequately described the governance and reporting processes.
In the CPUC’s November 2013 Decision, ORA successfully achieved the following
safeguards for ratepayers:
- Utilities must return to ratepayers 75% of all financial gains related to
ongoing royalties, license fees, or other financial benefits of Intellectual
Property developed under EPIC.
- Utilities must return to ratepayers 67% of all financial gains related to
the sale of Intellectual Property developed under EPIC.
- All interest accrued must either be used to offset the program’s future
annual budget or returned to ratepayers at the program’s conclusion.
- In 2017, any uncommitted EPIC funds must be used to offset the program’s
future annual budget, or be returned to ratepayers.
- CEC and utilities must file comprehensive annual reports with detailed
project-by-project status updates.
- Utilities must disclose the identity, scope of work, and deliverables of
winning bidders in the annual report.
- EPIC funds may not be used for in-house activities where the utility is
conducting all of the work using its own staff and facilities.
See ORA’s December 7, 2012 Protest
to the EPIC proposals.
See ORA’s March 15, 2013 Opening
See ORA’s March 22, 2013 Reply
See ORA’s September 4, 2013 Opening
Comments on the revised Proposed Decision.
See ORA’s September 12, 2013 Reply
Comments on revised Proposed Decision.
docket to establish EPIC.
more about ORA’s policy position on RD&D
the California Energy Commission's EPIC