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The Buzz

16 May 2019


It is better late than never for Southern California Edison, which finally gets its 2018-2020 rate case approved. State energy regulators okay a revenue requirement for 2018 of nearly $5.2 billion. Over the three-year period, Edison will reap a 4 percent increase, not counting recovery of its wildfire safety costs.

Utility regulators this week also refine standards for injecting biomethane into natural gas pipelines and approve several biomethane contracts for SoCal Gas...

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Opinionated:To CPE or Not To CPE

14 May 2019


By Steven Kelly

After many years of work, the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year finally adopted a multi-year resource adequacy program to help ensure grid reliability. Now, the CPUC is considering additional changes to the adopted framework, particularly the insertion of a “central procurement entity” to mitigate the risk that the California Independent System Operator performs any resource adequacy procurement...

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The Buzz

9 May 2019


Lawmakers may need to create a $40 billion wildfire risk pooled insurance fund plus take other actions to deal with crushing wildfire liabilities and expenses faced by utilities as large power rate increases loom.

Amid rising revenue, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes budget boosts for the CPUC and grants to help communities plan for power shutoffs when high winds threaten to spark wildfires.

Meanwhile, utilities launch a new advertising campaign as they warn that power shutoffs when winds threaten wildfires will become routine...

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JUICE: Muddy Waters & Rates

30 Apr 2019


While passing through a corner of Nevada along Highway 395 during a drive to the Eastern side of the Sierra I was struck by the differences in the price of gasoline in the Golden and Silver states. Filling up in Nevada April 19, I paid $3.30 a gallon, saving well over a dollar per gallon. Returning home a few days later, I saved more than $2 a gallon buying gas in Nevada as the price in the eastern part of California had soared above $5...

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The Buzz

18 Apr 2019


A group of West Coast utilities launches a major study of how to develop and locate charging infrastructure for electric big rig trucks.

Federal energy regulators approve two LNG export projects, but the decisions omit their greenhouse gas impacts. Subsequently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2018 market report shows record U.S natural gas exports, while U.S. storage diminishes and prices rise, particularly in Southern California...

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Juice: Green Power vs. Green Jobs?

16 Apr 2019


The New Green Deal, a 14-page national resolution to clean up the environment and simultaneously address social inequity by creating new job opportunities and strengthening the social safety net, lacks the force of law. But, it is a powerful, timely idea and symbol that’s causing lots of people to cheer or chastise it.

Its potency stems from its effort to bring together environmental, social justice and labor advocates, who often have been adversaries...

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The Buzz

11 Apr 2019


Southern California Edison asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a 28 percent boost in its revenue requirement for transmission assets, saying that wildfire-related expenses justify the increase.

In Sacramento, a bill to set up a centralized backstop power purchaser clears a committee, but lawmakers have reservations about changing the existing order.

Another bill to boost distributed energy resources gains ground, although only after publicly owned utilities are exempted...

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The Buzz

4 Apr 2019


Bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric announces a new slate of directors. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s former chief is named the new CEO, with final voting to take place at the end of May.

California energy and waste regulators start to grapple with surging quantities of aging solar panels and batteries. Steps needed to avert a toxic tide include creating in-state disposal and reuse sites.

In this week’s guest column, Lorenzo Kristov, former CAISO market design principal, lays out a path for creating a deep green distribution system...

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The Buzz

28 Mar 2019


The California Independent System Operator adopts changes to its backstop procurement programs to address concerns they unnecessarily drive up costs. CAISO also adopts a new transmission plan, which shows only Pacific Gas & Electric needs to build new projects at a cost of up to $644 million to maintain reliability and control costs.

Gov. Gavin Newsom blasts PG&E's proposed slate of new board members...

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The Buzz

21 Mar 2019


Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects.

California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief of staff who publicly advocated for coal and nuke plant subsidies is out...

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Opinionated: Charging With the Sun

19 Mar 2019


By Severin Borenstein

You aren’t getting “green electrons”, but charging at the right times still lowers GHG emissions.

I spent a fascinating few days at the California Independent System Operator last month, following my appointment in January to the CAISO’s Board of Governors. The most exciting part was getting to visit the CAISO grid control room late on a Thursday afternoon as the sun was setting across much of California...

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The Buzz

14 Mar 2019


Southern California Edison equipment ignited the deadly Thomas Fire in 2017 in Ventura County, investigators find. Edison, however, maintains there were two separate points of ignition and it may not be responsible for both.

California’s chief utility regulator tells lawmakers that the California Public Utilities Commission lacks expertise and capacity in utility fire safety regulation and enforcement although its responsible for enforcing state standards...

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The Buzz

7 Mar 2019


House Dems blast the Department of Energy’s foot dragging on efficiency standard implementation while Republicans point elsewhere. Both sides agree, however, that saving energy is a good thing.

State lawmakers, regulators, other power providers and generators agree that ensuring the energy caterpillar becomes a butterfly requires that decarbonization of the energy sector be affordable and reliable...

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Opinionated: Gadgets Are Increasingly Connected

4 Mar 2019


By Fereidoon Sioshansi

Every year hordes of people from around the world gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest shows in town. This year was no exception with 4,000 companies showing their latest gadgets to 150,000 delegates from 100 countries.

For the past few years, all sorts of smart devices have dominated the show–and they are getting progressively smarter and increasingly connected to other smart devices in the home, office, factory floor, cars, or whatever...

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The Buzz

28 Feb 2019


California’s investor-owned utilities, with the exception of Sempra Energy's utilities, show big losses in 2018 due to billions of dollars of wildfire liabilities.

In the state Assembly, lawmakers introduce an avalanche of bills, including two measures to get utilities to pay for new state-run wildfire insurance funds.

Meanwhile, state Senators introduce a solar rights bill and a bill to give the Legislature the power to decide on any rate increases for Pacific Gas & Electric...

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Opinionated: State Puts Buildings in Energy Policy Spotlight

25 Feb 2019


By Pierre Delforge

California took another pioneering step in tackling carbon emissions from millions of homes and commercial buildings across the state Feb. 20.

The California Energy Commission’s latest policy report puts reducing the climate and air pollution from buildings front and center for the first time, representing a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities. It could also save Californians hundreds of dollars annually on their utility bills and create 3...

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The Buzz

21 Feb 2019


The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric's and Southern California Edison's $7 billion in energy purchase forecasts. But the approved decision also requires that annual projected power expenses—from renewables to fossil—be compared to the actual tab.

State energy regulators unanimously agree to a three-year resource adequacy requirement and to later create a central procurement authority blueprint...

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The Buzz

14 Feb 2019


State utility regulators begin reviewing wildfire risk management plans under which utilities would spend around $3 billion a year and launch new programs that would essentially become permanent.

Pressure mounts on the California Public Utilities Commission to turn Pacific Gas & Electric into a wires only business and let community choice aggregators or other government organizations pick up many of its roles...

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CPUC Must Decide on $3B/Year of Utility Fire Protection Work

14 Feb 2019


The staggering scope and cost of utility plans to prevent electric lines from sparking wildfires came into focus for regulators Feb. 13 during an all-day meeting.

This year alone the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities plan to spend about $3 billion to minimize wildfire risks in areas with elevated threats. That’s projected to increase to almost $3.3 billion by 2020, according to  wildfire mitigation plans required by last year's wildfire bill, SB 901, which were discussed during the California Public Utilities Commission's meeting...

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The Buzz

7 Feb 2019


Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago.

Bankrupt PG&E's plan stands out. That includes because it warns that the federal bankruptcy court could throw a wrench into the scheme of financing its wildfire plan...

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