The Buzz

30 Nov 2017

State energy regulators are united in their opposition to saddling San Diego Gas & Electric ratepayers with nearly $400 million in costs incurred for three big fires in 2007 ignited by SDG&E lines. Two members of the California Public Utilities Commission, however, have reservations given multiple contributions to the big fires that led to deaths, huge amounts of scorched earth and destroyed homes. SDG&E is keeping its promise to sue.

This week’s Juice focuses on rising fire threats from a drier climate and more people living in high-risk fire regions.  It calls on state officials and lawmakers to highlight the roles of both land use and power lines in wildfires.

Southern California appears to be facing a different threat this winter, possible gas supply crunches.  State officials insist that conservation of natural gas, including through demand response, can help avoid disruptions in the flow of natural gas.

Also under scrutiny is the state’s zero net energy building goal.  A new study claims more solar rooftops on zero net energy homes will drive up utility bills, causing energy officials to take another look at building efficiency standards.

The grid operator tells a House Committee that the sale of congestion revenue rights to financial companies allows them to make a pretty profit at ratepayer expense without adding any value.

Pacific Gas & Electric and friends, including labor, environmental and antinuclear, are fighting hard to knock out a proposed decision that rejects the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant closure deal.  But, the proposed decision slashing the amount ratepayers would pay, from less than $2 billion to under $200 million, has its backers, including ratepayer advocates and community energy providers.

Elsewhere, PG&E asks the CPUC to approve a nearly 50 percent hike in its gas transmission rates in the upcoming triennial cycle.  Ratepayer advocates warn that the utility’s request for hefty increases changes the rate case game.

PG&E, Southern California Edison and SDG&E are flush with renewable energy credits, so much so they expect to meet the state’s 50 percent alternative energy mandate to 2030.

Non-utility demand response aggregators warn that the negawatts they provide will continue to fall. They are calling for a state mandate on par with those for renewables and storage to keep them from going farther south.

—The Editors

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