For Immediate Release: October 18, 2023

Rule saves consumers money, reduces emissions, and supports grid reliability

Sacramento – The California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted the first-in-the-nation Flexible Demand Appliance Standards for residential pool controls today. This adoption represents a major milestone in California’s efforts to ensure technologies in homes and businesses support the state’s clean energy priorities while also saving consumers money.

The new standards, which take effect in September 2025, require that pool controls default to operating pool equipment when both electricity prices and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are low. Flexible demand features allow consumers to automate their appliances so that energy use times can be scheduled, shifted, or curtailed to reduce GHG associated with electricity generation – without negatively affecting consumers.

The new rules also establish cybersecurity standards to protect consumers using flexible demand appliances connected to the internet. Settings may be changed by users at any time to meet their needs, and consent is required for the device to send and receive signals.

“These standards represent a new tool that will help achieve California’s transition to 100 percent clean energy,” said Commissioner J. Andrew McAllister, lead commissioner for appliance standards. “Flexing energy demand makes more energy available for when it’s needed most to support the grid.”

The standard will help California achieve its goal to make up to 7,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity available through the smarter use of existing clean energy resources. Altogether, the rule is expected to deliver nearly 400 MW of permanent shift flexible capacity by 2030 and 560 MW by 2033. In the first year, the standards will make it possible for consumers to shift 64 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity usage off peak. By the time every installed pool control offers flexible demand, the yearly load shift potential goes up to 682 GWh of consumer electricity use. This avoids 394,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, the equivalent to removing 85,000 gasoline-powered cars off the road.

In addition to helping stabilize the electric grid, consumers will save money on their electricity bills. Consumers on a time-of-use rate plan can save an estimated $1,131 over the life of the pool control. Doing so also helps avoid GHG emissions by operating appliances when energy is cheapest and cleanest.

Pool controls are the first of many devices expected to be upgraded through the CEC’s new authority to adopt flexible demand appliance standards, as authorized by Senate Bill 49 (Skinner, Chapter 697, Statutes of 2019). This authority complements the historical role the agency has played in adopting world-leading standards for appliance efficiency, building energy efficiency, and load management.

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About the California Energy Commission
The California Energy Commission is leading the state to a 100 percent clean energy future. It has seven core responsibilities: developing renewable energy, transforming transportation, increasing energy efficiency, investing in energy innovation, advancing state energy policy, certifying thermal power plants, and preparing for energy emergencies. 

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