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CPUC Delves Into Reducing Utility Disconnections

15 Aug

Regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission kicked off a proceeding Aug. 15 that’s aimed at reducing the rising rate of energy service disconnections stemming from non-payment of monthly electricity and gas bills. Data show that more than 70,000 customers have their power or gas shut off each month due to non-payment. The CPUC opened […]

Undercurrents

14 Aug

In the wake of the departure of Robert Powelson from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, President Donald Trump has signaled he may nominate Bernard McNamee, head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy, to fill the vacancy. McNamee was involved in developing a Department of Energy proposed rule calling for out-of-market payments to coal […]

The Buzz

10 Aug

A legislative conference committee working to address wildfire safety and liability standards for utilities faces major opposition. The big kahuna is who gets slammed with the multi-billion tab for harm from utility equipment-sparked blazes. Major energy legislation to create a regionalized grid, move to 100 percent carbon-free power, and open up direct access to all […]

Plan to Curb Utility Wildfire Liability Faces Pushback

10 Aug

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to legislatively amend the decades–long court created legal doctrine that holds utilities strictly liable for wildfire damage faced strong head winds at an Aug. 9 legislative conference committee hearing. At issue is who’s responsible for the massive liability tab from the destruction arising from utility-sparked wildfires: ratepayers, local governments, insurance companies […]

Major Energy Bills Stall in Sacramento

9 Aug

Legislation that would make major changes to the state’s electricity industry failed to advance this week as lawmakers began to count down the remaining days in this year’s legislative session. One bill stalled on the Assembly floor and two were delayed in legislative appropriations committees where they face an Aug. 17 deadline for approval or […]

$120M Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Deal Inked

8 Aug

State and local agencies and SoCal Gas Aug. 8 agreed to a $119.5 million settlement to resolve the public claims arising from the massive methane leak that occurred at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles in 2015. Attorney General Javier Becerra emphasized, however, that the company still faces hundreds of […]

CARB Counters Trump on Auto Standards

7 Aug

The California Air Resources Board Aug. 7 revealed it intends to amend its greenhouse gas standards for autos late next month in a bid to fight the Trump Administration’s plan to weaken federal standards. The Air Board is proposing to rescind a portion of its clean car standards that allows vehicles built pursuant to nearly […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

PG&E & Sempra Report Big Losses

6 Aug

Earnings of two of the three parent companies of California’s major investor-owned utilities took a turn for the worse in the second quarter of 2018. Pacific Gas & Electric reported the largest earnings hit because of wildfire liability followed by big losses at Sempra Energy. Meanwhile, Edison International’s earnings were largely level and could be […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

Both Sides of the House Cheer Storage

18 Jul

Battery energy storage technology drew bipartisan praise July 18 during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on the growing role of the technology in the nation’s power grid. Energy storage, said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), is increasingly “important” to maintaining the nation’s energy supply and helping  “build resilience” in the power grid. Rep. Bobby […]

JUICE: Gridding Our Teeth

17 Jul

As the deadline for voting on legislation to allow California’s grid to become a regional entity gets closer, debate rages on as to whether it would be a boom or bust. A report released July 17, favoring removing barriers to establishing a Western Independent System Operator, warns of the inherent complexities of the legislation, AB […]

Power Providers Integrated Resource Plans Due Soon

17 Jul

California’s utilities, community choice aggregators, and energy service providers are to file their first integrated resources plans Aug. 1 with the California Public Utilities Commission. The plans, required by SB 350, are to outline how the power providers will meet the future demand for electricity through 2030, as well as state requirements for increased levels […]

Undercurrents

17 Jul

The state’s investor-owned utilities will release their second quarter earnings statements later this month, and the results likely will be mixed. Pacific Gas & Electric announced that it expects to post a big loss. There is no indication, however, that the other two utility holding companies, Edison International and Sempra Energy, will do so. PG&E […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]

CPUC Focuses on Power Shutoffs

12 Jul

State energy regulators July 12 unanimously approved opening a rulemaking to assess the cause of the growing rate of residential utility disconnections because of non-payment. The goal is to reduce shutoffs. The California Public Utilities Commission also voted  to enhance utilities’ ability to de-energize power lines during risky weather events, such as hot high winds. […]

Power Industry Emissions Tumble

12 Jul

California surpassed its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal in 2016, according to the California Air Resources Board data  released July 11. The Air Board’s 2016 emissions inventory shows that greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in California that year totaled 429 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That was 12 million tons less than […]

LA Choice Program Blasts CPUC Dissing CCAs

11 Jul

The state’s largest community choice aggregator late last month complained to the state Legislature about the California Public Utilities Commission’s customer choice project, which is outlined in what the commission calls “The Green Book.” The Clean Power Alliance, which is the new community choice program for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, wrote that “the Green […]

Undercurrents

10 Jul

The harm to the marine environment from using ocean water to cool power plants is more widespread than thought, according to a new research report by the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team. The Council, a state agency, released the report July 9. It showed that ocean currents connect separate marine protection zones, essentially spreading […]

The Buzz

6 Jul

It was not just happy 4th of July, but also happy 3rd of July for many. There were mini fireworks after the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee sent the 100 percent clean energy bill to the Assembly Floor. SB 100 sets a 60 renewable mandate for 2030, with another 40 percent to come from big […]