CPUC ALJ Calls for Cost-Based Peaking Charge on SoCalGas

A recommended decision by a California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge would replace the controversial Residual Load Service (RLS) tariff on Southern California Gas mainlines with a cost-based peaking service (D.00-04-060).

SoCalGas had proposed either a market-based or cost-based peaking rate in place of the RLS. ALJ Carol A. Brown rejected the market-based rates, saying the cost-based system "is consistent with our policy of promoting economic bypass." Opponents of SoCal's RLS rate have called it an "anti-bypass" tariff, saying it effectively kept new interstates out of SoCalGas territory since customers would have to pay the interstate's rates as well as SoCal's RLS charge (See NGI, April 23).

The judge said "the cost-based peaking tariff should include a customer charge computed monthly, based on the higher of either the current monthly usage or the highest monthly usage over the prior 12-month period; a Public Purpose Program (PPP) charge based on the PPP rates adopted by the Commission in Resolution G-3303; a reservation charge for transportation using noncore coincident peak demand for the calculation of the demand charge; and an Interstate Transition Cost Surcharge, collected as a separate volumetric rate, to be applied to the actual recorded, monthly, throughput."

Also the peaking tariff "shall: (a) be a system-wide rate; (b) customers shall balance their nominations and burns daily; (c) partial bypass customers shall not be eligible for SIC credit; and (d) the tariff shall apply on a facility-by-facility basis." It also will be subject to review in the SoCalGas Biannual Cost Allocation Proceeding.

The judge recommended that SoCalGas file for a conforming peaking tariff within 10 days of approval of the decision. The decision must be reviewed by the full CPUC.

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