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  • Writer's pictureKristin Cooper

School Energy Efficiency Stimulus Program


The School Energy Efficiency Stimulus (SEES) Program, established by Assembly Bill (AB) 841 (Ting, Chapter 372, Statutes of 2020), provides grants to local educational agencies (LEA) as defined in Table 1 to assess, maintain, adjust, repair, or upgrade heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in schools. The SEES Program also provides grants to LEAs and California state agencies to replace Noncompliant Plumbing Fixtures and Appliances. AB 841 requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) as the program administrator to design, administer, and implement the program in collaboration with the utilities providing funding for the program.

The SEES Program consists of the School Reopening Ventilation and Energy Efficiency Verification and Repair (SRVEVR) Program and the School Noncompliant Plumbing Fixture and Appliance (SNPFA) Program. For the purposes of administering these programs, the SNPFA Program will be referred to as the California Schools Healthy, Air, Plumbing and Efficiency (CalSHAPE) Plumbing Program. The SRVEVR Program will be referred to as the CalSHAPE Ventilation Program. These guidelines describe the program design, application process, and reporting requirements for the CalSHAPE Plumbing Program. The requirements of the CalSHAPE Ventilation Program are provided in separate guidelines.

Funding for the CalSHAPE Program comes from the energy efficiency budgets of California’s large electric and gas investor-owned utilities. Specifically, this includes electrical corporations with 250,000 or more customer accounts within the state and gas corporations with 400,000 or more customer accounts within the state, as determined by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). These utilities are Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas Company (SCG). The program will accumulate funding in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

The annual funding for the program is derived from a combination of current year available funds and prior year unspent and uncommitted energy efficiency funds as described in PUC Section 1615(a). Each year, from 2021 to 2023, it is expected that the utilities will be required to prepare a joint advice letter detailing that year’s budget for CPUC approval. Funding awards must be distributed proportionally to each utility area based on program funds contributed by that utility and used for projects located in the utility’s service territory. PG&E has both electric and gas service territories and the available funding attributed to each service territory will be in accordance with the energy efficiency portfolio budget recovery electric and gas funding percentages provided by PG&E in the utilities’ joint advice letter to the CPUC.

CEC will allocate the available funding contributed by each utility using five funding categories. The funding category available to each school site is determined based on the utility service territory in which the site is located. Table 2 identifies the funding categories and the associated utility service territories from which an award will be made. All projects funded by a program grant must meet the same requirements, as described by these guidelines, regardless of funding category. CEC will provide notices of annual budget accrual, total program funding, and available funds for each funding category at least once per year. Funds are allocated to the two grant programs per PUC Section 1616, with 75 percent to CalSHAPE Ventilation and 25 percent to CalSHAPE Plumbing.

PUC Section 1612 requires the program offer funds to schools that are in an Underserved Community before schools that are not in an Underserved Community. The program defines an Underserved Community as meeting one of the following criteria:

1. Is a “disadvantaged community” as defined by Public Resources Code Section 75005(g)0F1

2. Is included within the definition of “low-income communities” as defined by Health and Safety Code Section 39713(d)(2) 1F 2

3. Is within an area identified as among the most disadvantaged 25 percent in the state according to the California Environmental Protection Agency and based on the most recent California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool, also known as CalEnviroScreen

4. Is a community in which at least 75 percent of public school students in the project area are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program

5. Is a community located on lands belonging to a federally recognized California Indian tribe PUC Section 1612 requires that at least 25 percent of projects to be in Underserved Communities.

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