California Energy Systems for the 21st Century
- CES-21


California's three largest investor owned utilities – PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E – requested the CPUC authorize $150 million in ratepayer funds over a five year period to conduct research in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for the 21st Century Energy System (CES-21).  The proposed research would apply computationally-based problem solving resources to emerging challenges of electric and natural gas issues for California.  As proposed, the specific research projects will be developed and approved by a governing Board of Directors, comprised of five voting directors selected from:  PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, CPUC, and a representative from academia.

In December 2012 the CPUC approved a Final Decision to fund the project.

In April 2013, the joint utilities submitted an Advice Letter requesting CPUC approval of year-one projects and budgets for the first 18 months of the five-year CES-21 program and for the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between utilities and LLNL. 


The Public Advocates Office's Position

The Public Advocates Office (the Office) recommends that the CPUC reject the utilities’ April 2013 Advice Letter request because the utilities’ proposed research projects fail to comply with the CPUC’s directives and criteria from its December 2012 Decision, making review of the proposal difficult.  The utilities fail to demonstrate:

  • Quantifiable customer benefits 
  • No duplication of research by other utilities, research institutes, or other California and federal agencies
  • Proposed budgets are just and reasonable, with clear details and rational for costs

See the Office's May 16, 2013 Protest to the Joint IOUs' April 2013 Advice Letter requesting year-one project approval.

See the Office's full Policy Position on the CPUC's decision whether to fund CES-21.


Current Proceeding Status

See the proceeding docket.