California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC)

The California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC) is California’s energy consumption model for calculating utility estimates (Treasury Regulation 26 CFR §1.42-10). The CUAC is a tool to provide an estimate of what tenants will pay for utilities and is typically more accuratethan other utility allowance sources. The CUAC is prepared by qualified energy analysts as defined in CTCAC Regulation Section 10322(h)(21). Use of the CUAC is limited to: (i) new construction projects, (ii)rehabilitation projects applying for tax credits for which the rehabilitation improves energy efficiency by at least 20%, as determined consistent with the requirements of Section 10325(c)(5)(D) and (G), or installs solar generation that offsets 50% of tenant loads, as determined consistent with the requirements of Section 10325(c)(5)(G), and (iii) existing tax credit projects with new photovoltaics installed through a solar program administered by a municipal utility or joint powers authority, which offsets tenants’ electrical load, and which includes site installation verification by a qualified HERS Rater. A unit receiving assistance from the Local PHA in form of a project based voucher (PBV) as part of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, request and permission must be obtained from the Local PHA UA, to allow the use of the CUAC on those units. If the owner does not want to apply the CUAC on the PBV units, the owner may use two utility allowance sources per building; the CUAC for the non PBV units and the Local PHA UA for the PBV units.

For buildings that are using an energy consumption model utility allowance estimate, the estimate shall be calculated using the most recent version of the California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC) developed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and incorporated in the CEC’s compliance program (CBECC). The CUAC estimate shall be signed by a California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC) Certified Energy Analyst (CEA). Measures that are used in the CUAC that require field verification shall be verified by a certified HERS Rater, in accordance with current HERS regulations.

**Projects utilizing the CUAC are approved for use upon the field verifications being completed. For projects using the CUAC where the field verification has not been completed prior to occupancy, the project must use an approved utility allowance source per 26 CFR Section 1.42-10 until the field verification is completed.

  • Owners shall provide the tenants with a 90-day notification prior to the effective date with an informative summary about the current utility allowance and the proposed CUAC allowances before the utility allowances can be used in determining the gross rent of rent-restricted units.

All CUAC requests require a quality control review and CTCAC approval. Please submit via email all required documents according to the CUAC Estimate Submission Requirements to Compliance Manager- Mayra Lozano,   Once approved, the CUAC requires the owner to submit annual reports for review and approval to continue use.

Please note – for those projects applying for tax credits, the request for the CUAC must be submitted at the PIS stage. If CUAC documentation is not submitted to CTCAC prior to issuance of the Form 8609, a project is no longer eligible to use a CUAC utility allowance unless the project meets those requirements for existing projects as determined in the CTCAC Regulations Section 10322(h)(21)

For existing tax credit projects coming in for new credit under rehabilitation and existing projects that qualify under option (iii) noted above, {except for projects with active MASH program reservations dated prior to March 1, 2018}, any decrease in a tenant’s utility allowance that results from conversion to the CUAC shall not exceed $15 per month over any 12-month period.  CTCAC compliance staff will verify this during the CUAC annual update stage or during upcoming scheduled compliance inspections.

Use of the CUAC requires verification of what is actually built, as opposed to what had been proposed, so that projects are accurately modeled using the most current approved California Energy Commission (CEC) compliance software. Energy analysts using the CUAC shall investigate and confirm the relevant energy efficiency measures actually used in construction of the project once the project has been completed and model the units and building(s) as built. These relevant energy efficiency measures include any components, materials, systems, etc. that impact the building’s energy efficiency, including but not limited to the building envelope, heating systems, cooling systems, domestic hot water systems, and installed lighting systems. Energy analysts shall also confirm that appliances comply with the applicable California Appliance Efficiency Regulations, Title 20.

Monthly Scalars to be used with Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) calculator to compute solar values for existing residential buildings:

Month EPPB Scalar
Jan 0.0468
Feb 0.0622
Mar 0.0856
Apr 0.0972
May 0.0991
June 0.1045
July 0.1080
Aug 0.1103
Sept 0.0957
Oct 0.0799
Nov 0.0727
Dec 0.0381

Virtual Net Metering

The revised version of the CUAC implements the California Public Utilities Commission Virtual Net Metering (VNM) decision, which can be viewed at the links below:

The new distribution calculation within the CUAC calculator uses a series of weightings reflecting the relationship between affordable Low Income Housing Tax Credit rents, by unit size, throughout California.

The CEC has indicated that while VNM is available to developers with projects in areas served by the Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) throughout the state, it is not available to projects served by Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs). In addition, the new system implements VNM at the project level, not at the individual building level (the CUAC tracks data at the project-level and apartment-type level, but not at the building-level).

If you have any questions relating to usage of the CUAC calculator please contact Thao Chau, 916-776-7974 of the CEC.

Download the CUAC

CUAC Estimate Submission Requirements (Updated May 2018)