The Buzz

30 May 2019

This week is all about measures to reduce the impacts of utility-sparked wildfires in California. In the midst of all the smoke, CPUC president Mike Picker says he’ll soon retire.

Earlier, he and other state energy regulators approve the investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risks from their equipment. But, the CPUC notes, this is only step one.

The CPUC also adopts protocols for utility power shutoffs to improve their coordination with emergency safety agencies and notifications to impacted customers.

The day before, the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost & Recovery recommends changing the legal and administrative framework on utility wildfire liability and cost recovery. That’s after its working groups wrestle with the huge costs and causes of the state’s worsening wildfires.

The California Public Utilities Commission also proposes a new cost recovery reasonableness yardstick to lessen the hit from private utilities’ wildfire liability.

This week’s guest editorial looks elsewhere. Instead of wildfires, it sees the rapid advances in energy storage technologies and drop in prices challenging the economics of natural gas peakers.

Power plant air pollution gets tracked while a proposed ratepayer creditor committee in PG&E’s bankruptcy proceeding gets the boot in Undercurrents.

The Editors

 

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