The Buzz

3 Nov 2017

The former California Public Utilities Commission president is taking a power walk down memory laneDuring a Wednesday talk, Mike Peevey summarized his new book coauthored with Diane Wittenberg detailing how Southern California’s smoggy skies launched the movement to green the state and Peevey’s role.

The current CPUC president and commissioners attempt to see through the changing utility business model fog.  During a hearing at the capitol, they listen to the experiences of representatives from other states that have developed retail choice programs, but get little clarity on California’s choice prospects.

Juice finds that a key dispute as community choice expands in California is how much departing private utility customers should pay for power said to be bought on their behalf.  The utility position that community energy largely benefits well off customers appears ready to fall flat as Los Angeles offers choice to its population, with its large number of poor residents.

Meanwhile, the parent companies of the investor-owned utilities’ latest earnings reports are very green.  Most report higher profits, though SDG&E’s earnings were a dull shade because regulators have not approved millions of dollars in cost recovery for the San Diego wildfires in 2007.

Back in the CPUC digs, commission staff laid out the framework for the state’s integrated resource planning process, which will set a course for substantial de-carbonization of the grid by 2030.

The grid operator unanimously approved variations to the resource adequacy theme.  Continuing to offer compensation alternatives for generators to stay in business, though, may raise as many problems as it solves.

In the nation’s Capitol, members from both sides of the aisle of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources  Committee embrace building energy efficiency and reject Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed weakening of efficiency standards.

Perry also takes a pounding for pushing his coal and nuke subsidy plan, this time from former federal energy regulators.

—The Editors

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