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The Buzz

19 Nov

State utility regulators aim to move on demand side resources to avoid outages when it is roasting hot next summer. They plan to take the unusual step of expediting changes to California Public Utilities Commission resource adequacy, demand response and other load reduction programs. Over at the nation’s capital, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds […]

CPUC Will Scour for Demand Side Resources

19 Nov

In order to avoid a replay of rolling blackouts next summer, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to expedite rules to get more resources connected to the grid, avoiding the typical, years-long process. The new rulemaking considers temporary changes to resource adequacy, demand response, load shifting and other like programs and rules.  The commission […]

Chatterjee Stands by Carbon Pricing Support, FERC Launches Transmission Rating Fix

19 Nov

The first meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since the presidential election, and the first since President Trump removed Neil Chatterjee as chair, began unusually late. Chatterjee began by saying he presumably was demoted earlier this month because of his support for opening the door to state carbon pricing. But “It was the right thing […]

CAISO Rules Evolve to Accommodate Solar Plus Storage

19 Nov

To accommodate the growth in battery projects paired with solar plants, the California grid operator’s board Nov. 18 further loosened constraints and will allow project operators to send more or less power into the market than initially bid. Allowing deviations from original bids aims to use more renewable power produced by combined solar-battery generators, reducing […]

News Roundup: PG&E Sued for Geyserville Fire

18 Nov

Sonoma County, along with several cities, sued Pacific Gas & Electric for starting the October 2019 Kincaid Fire that burned nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed 384 buildings over 13 days. The joint lawsuit, filed in the Sonoma County Superior Court Nov. 17, alleges the utility was negligent and is responsible for the resulting four injures […]

Senate Advances FERC Nominees

18 Nov

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Nov. 18 to advance two nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the full Senate, one Democrat and one Republican. Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) said a top priority of hers was to send the nominees to the Senate Floor to allow a vote next […]

Klamath Dams Closer to Demolition

17 Nov

Four years after a historic agreement was reached to remove dams on the Klamath River to revive the once surging salmon runs, a new revision was announced Nov. 17. It is expected to satisfy a controversial condition added by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last July. “According to many FERC nerds, this is going to […]

Air Regulators Fight Diesel Generators but Energy Commission Barely Budges

17 Nov

The need for reliable power clashed with the need for breathable air for nearly five hours at the California Energy Commission on Monday. Companies with data centers again pushed to be allowed to install hundreds of megawatts of new backup generation that runs on diesel fuel. The possibility of this much additional pollution in California […]

Shorts

17 Nov

East Bay Community Energy pulled from its Nov. 18 board agenda the issue of a whether to use the nuclear power from Diablo Canyon. “The item was pulled due to lack of interest among the largest Brilliant 100 customer base and it won’t be reconsidered in 2020,” Melissa Brandt, EBCE spokesperson, said. Local power activists have objected […]

Grid Operator’s Budget Inches Downward

16 Nov

The California Independent System Operator’s draft 2021 budget—ranging from salary and contractor costs to market income—is its lowest since 2006, April Gordon, CAISO financial planning director, said during a Nov. 16 presentation. The grid operator’s spending plan for next year is a proposed $181.6 million, 3% below this year’s $187 million revenue requirement. The budget […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

San Francisco, San Jose Ban Gas in New Buildings

12 Nov

Natural gas use in new homes and commercial buildings will be banned in the City of San Francisco starting next June. Passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on a preliminary vote this week, the prohibition will be formally approved Nov. 17. Last fall, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to require all new […]

PG&E’s $7.5B Ratepayer Bond Would Assume Shareholder Debt

10 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking regulatory permission to shift $7.5 billion of its 2017 wildfire costs from shareholders to ratepayers. Ratepayer advocate groups, both large and small, strenuously object on grounds it places an inordinate financial risk on utility customers while providing them little or no benefit. “It is morally reprehensible,” April Rose Maurath […]

Consumer Advocates Push for $255M SoCalGas Penalty

10 Nov

The official advocate for California utility ratepayers says the state should punish Southern California Gas by fining it $255.3 million for illegally using ratepayer money to thwart energy efficiency building codes and appliance standards. “Since at least 2014, SoCalGas has engaged in a concerted effort to undermine the state’s energy efficiency goals related to new […]

CAISO Executive Redo Launched

10 Nov

The new chief of the California Independent System Operator, Elliot Mainzer, announced an executive reorganization Nov. 6. It switches around managers in market policy, operations, planning and technology departments with the aim of broadening their understanding of how the grid works as it moves towards decarbonization.  “Internal mobility brings new thinking, new blood and new […]

Shorts

9 Nov

Updated Nov. 12 California’s Community Choice Aggregators increased their long-term renewable deals by 1,700 MW this year over 2019, the California Community Choice Association announced Nov. 12. To date, community aggregators executed a total 6,000 MW of long-term contracts, 5,000 MW of renewable resources, and another 1,000 MW of battery storage. “These new totals show […]

The Buzz

6 Nov

Neil Chatterjee, who has served as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair for more than two years, is suddenly replaced. President Trump late Thursday names James Danly the new FERC chief. In blue California, state utility regulators approve Southern California Edison’s plan to issue $337 million in ratepayer-backed bonds to recover the costs of making […]

FERC Chair is Replaced

6 Nov

In a surprise move the evening of Nov. 5, President Trump replaced Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee with James Danly, the newest commissioner. Danly became the third commissioner in March. Chatterjee, after congratulating his fellow Republican Commissioner, noted his own tenure as chair was marked by the global pandemic. But he also highlighted […]

SCE $337M Ratepayer-Funded Bond Approved

5 Nov

With no discussion, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to allow Southern California Edison to issue $337 million in bonds fully backed by ratepayers early next year. They are to cover the first round of the utility’s recent grid hardening costs. Intervenors who opposed SCE’s initial bond proposal, led by The Wild Tree Foundation, […]

CPUC Suspends Questionable Shareholder Bonuses

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to halt paying shareholders each year $30-$75 million from ratepayer pockets for unearned energy efficiency savings.  Cal Advocates, the ratepayer advocate at the CPUC, successfully argued there was no evidence that the energy efficiency bonus program has caused the private utilities to prioritize efficiency beyond what is required.  […]

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