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Combined Heat and Power Partnership

California Interconnection Standards

Date Last Updated8/11/2014
Policy TypeInterconnection Standard
State/FederalCA
Policy Administrator/Contact OfficeCalifornia Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
Policy Initiation Date12/21/2000
Policy SummaryCalifornia's standard interconnection policy, which applies to CHP, is contained in Rule 21. In September 2012, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a proposed settlement of Rule 21, the first redesign of the rule since 2000. Rule 21 applies to systems connecting to an investor-owned utility's distribution grid, non-export generating facilities connecting to an investor-owned utility's transmission grid, and all net metered facilities in an investor-owned utility's service territory. Under Rule 21, systems connecting to an investor-owned utility?s distribution grid for the purpose of participating in a wholesale transaction must apply under the investor-owned utility?s Wholesale Distribution Access Tariff. Systems connecting to the transmission grid must apply to the California Independent System Operator for interconnection. Systems connecting to the grid of a municipal or cooperative utility must follow the interconnection procedures adopted by that utility.

Rule 21 defines a screening process for interconnection applications and sorts applicants into two appropriate application paths. The two available paths are a fast track path and a detailed study path:
  • "Fast Track" Eligibility: Non-exporting systems and net metered systems, regardless of nameplate capacity, qualify for the Fast Track interconnection process. Exporting facilities may also be considered for the Fast Track process if they meet certain size restrictions (<3 MW for Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, and <1.5 MW for San Diego Gas & Electric). An interconnection application fee of $800 applies to all non-net-metering facilities. No fees apply to net-metered systems.
    After a customer applies for interconnection, the utility performs an initial review. If the applicant passes through the initial review, the system will be able to interconnect without a Supplemental Review. If a Supplemental Review is required, the applicant will be notified and can elect to have their application withdrawn, or proceed through the next level of review. The Supplemental Review fee is $2,500.
  • Detailed Study Eligibility: Systems not eligible for the Fast Track process must go through the Detailed Study process. There are three options under the Detailed Study process: Independent Study Process, a Distribution Group Study Process, or a Transmission Cluster Study Process. Fees vary.
The CPUC has outlined various other required information, such as: insurance levels that vary by system size and by type of system, timeframes for the utility to respond to each step of the application process, and requirements for external disconnect switches that vary by utility and system size.
CHP Eligibility RequirementsBoth fossil-fueled and renewably-fueled CHP systems are eligible for standardized interconnection.
Eligible Project Size (MW)All sizes are eligible for the standardized procedure.
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