Take the “Clean” Power Back – Will LCEA Go to the California Supreme Court?

The Center for Biological Diversity, Protect Our Communities and the Environmental Working Group are asking the California Supreme Court to hear their case opposing the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC’s) decision to cut the financial benefits of rooftop solar by 75% replacing previous Net Energy Metering rates with a new Net Billing Tariff.  Local Clean Energy Alliance and the California Alliance for Community Energy (CACE) join that action as friends of the court (amici curiae).

Petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to hear the case because the California Appeals Court refused to hear the case, giving “unique deference” to the CPUC, which assumes their decisions are not subject to being heard in California’s courts.

LCEA and CACE were helped by a legal team at Golden Gate University Law School with a letter to the Supreme Court as to why we would like to join the petitioners. The letter points out the cozy relationship between the CPUC and Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) like PG&E, and how it has resulted in decades of CPUC decisions that favor the IOUs and hurt Californians. Also included is the fact that the CPUC decision violates two of the mandates in the CPUC code that apply to changes to Net Energy Metering; ensuring that rooftop solar grows sustainably and taking into account all of the benefits of rooftop solar.

Both the petitioners and the amici curiae point to the fact that in 1998 the California legislature passed a bill that specifically points out the importance of holding CPUC decisions accountable in California’s courts.

An attorney and two legal clinicians with Golden Gate University School of Law submitted the Amici Curiae (Friend’s of the Court) letter requesting that both organizations, LCEA and CACE, be allowed to join the 3 petitioners if the case is heard. We should know after February 28 when the Supreme Court will examine the petition and decide whether or not to hear the case.