by Jeff St. John
September 21, 2018

September has been a good news, bad news kind of month for California’s efforts to map every circuit of its major utility distribution grids.

The good news came at the start of the month, when California’s investor-owned utilities unveiled plans for the latest version of their integrated capacity analysis maps. The new ICA 2.0 maps, set to be unveiled this year, will see real-world, circuit-by-circuit, hour-by-hour data across the state’s distribution grids — including data that’s good enough to feed into DER interconnection processes now under development for the state’s Rule 21.

The bad news came a week later, when utilities Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric abruptly limited access to the ICA 1.0 maps, even to people who've been using them since they were launched in 2016. These groups have found themselves locked out of the maps, unless they’re able to get a motion from a California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge, allowing them access under a strict NDA, on a person-by-person basis. 

The explanation? Utilities have failed to meet a CPUC deadline for creating plans for how to redact sensitive data from the maps — namely, certain data about critical infrastructure such as substations — and have chosen to deal with the lack of progress on the issue by shutting down access to the maps entirely.