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The Buzz

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s handling of its unprecedented power shutoffs to more than 700,000 has customers and regulators up in arms. PG&E also doesn’t get a warm reception in bankruptcy court. The judge rejects its effort to again have him ignore a competing plan to reorganize PG&E’s massive debts. Over at the California Public Utilities […]

PG&E Blasted for Historic Power Shutoffs

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s largest precautionary power outage in California in response to wildfire threats has outraged policy makers and customers. PG&E’s response “has been absolutely unacceptable” to communities, “to individual people, to the commerce of our state and the safety of our people,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said Oct. 10. “This […]

Private Utilities Reap $26M in Efficiency Awards

10 Oct

In spite of mixed emotions, state energy regulators Oct. 10 unanimously approved $26 million in energy efficiency awards to the state’s four private electric and gas utilities. California Public Utilities Commission member Liane Randolph said that the approved resolution allowing the awards highlights troubling areas. The effectiveness of the CPUC’s whole performance incentive structure, therefore, […]

CPUC Faces Opposition to Protecting Gas Plants

10 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission was met a by a string of protesters Oct. 10 who objected to the commission’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan to extend the life of aging gas plants. Considering adding three years to the life of seawater-cooled gas power plants, predominantly along the Southern California coast, pays “little regard to the […]

PG&E Launches Major Outages, Lines up $35B in Financing

8 Oct

Updated Oct. 10 Pacific Gas & Electric instituted power shutoffs across large swaths of California because of high fire danger midweek. Earlier, it unsuccessfully urged the federal bankruptcy court to hose an unwelcome reorganization proposal. Starting around midnight on Wednesday, PG&E began shutting off power to 800,000 customers. The shutoffs began in the counties in […]

CA’s Carbon Goal Requires Steeper Emissions Cuts, Report Finds

8 Oct

In spite of significant greenhouse gas cuts from California’s electricity sector, the state is expected to fall well short of its 2030 climate protection target. Rising emissions from the transportation and commercial sectors are largely to blame, according to Next 10’s eleventh annual California Green Innovation Index. This updated Index “serves as a wake-up call,” […]

Shorts

8 Oct

San Francisco, San Diego and Irvine ranked first, second and third respectively among U.S. cities at the forefront of promoting sustainable communities. That includes via the creation of green jobs and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to WalletHub.  It released its findings Oct. 8. Wallethub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 28 critical […]

High Court Won’t Hear SDG&E’s Strict Liability Challenge

7 Oct

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear San Diego Gas & Electric’s argument that California regulators’ refusal to have ratepayers pay $379 million of the utility’s 2007 wildfire costs violated the Constitutional ban on unlawful takings. The utility said Oct. 7 it was “disappointed” that the High Court rejected its petition regarding its Wildfire Expense […]

Proposed $65M Fine for PG&E’s Bogus Records Gets Slammed

7 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to pay a $65 million fine for falsifying records on the locations of its underground gas and electric pipelines, impacting the safety of excavators in and outside the company. The penalty also is for risks the utility caused by hiding its late responses to excavators’ requests. The Utility Reform Network […]

The Buzz

26 Sep

So. Cal Gas and SDG&E get whopping increases in their 2019-21 general rate cases. State energy regulators say the hefty revenue hikes are needed to fully fund the gas and electric companies’ safety programs. It is a long shot but bondholders try again to inject their plan for paying off PG&E’s massive debts at the […]

CPUC OKs 27% & 17% Revenue Rise for Sempra Utilities

26 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 26 unanimously adopted a 13.78 percent increase in SoCal Gas’ 2019 test year revenue requirement over last year’s rates to reach nearly $2.8 billion. The hike was made as part of the Sempra utility’s 2019-21 general rate case. The five commissioners also signed off on a higher revenue requirement […]

Increasing Electrification Shakes Up Demand Forecasting

26 Sep

Utility industry changes are putting to the test the California Energy Commission’s 40-year old demand forecasting. Forecasters need to figure out how to reshape demand given the state’s high electrification future, including its effect on distribution planning, demand and supply interactions, customer choice and long term investment scenarios, Commissioner Andrew McAllister said at the Sept. […]

Bond Holders Take 2nd Shot at PG&E Reorg Plan

26 Sep

Hedge funds, other unsecured note holders, and tort claimants, together on Sept. 25 pitched a revised reorganization plan to get Pacific Gas & Electric out of bankruptcy on the group’s terms. The filing by these major stakeholders, made late Wednesday, also asks the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Northern California a second time to terminate PG&E’s […]

Federal Alternative Energy Bills Advance

25 Sep

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Sept. 25 forwarded to the U.S. Senate legislation focused on energy storage, energy efficiency, and industrial emissions reductions. The measures “can serve as the bipartisan pillars of a robust energy package centered on innovation and efficiency,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Committee chair. Among the measures advanced […]

Price and Variable Rates Help Protect a Clean Grid

25 Sep

Power pricing is a key driver impacting energy demand that can go a long way towards ensuring the reliability of a low carbon grid. “Prices are a powerful signal,” according to a presentation by Debra Lew, a Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body consultant, made at a Sept. 24 California Energy Commission workshop on Net Zero […]

PG&E Folds New Deal into its Reorganization Plan

23 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric Sept. 23 finalized a $14 billion settlement that includes the $11 billion agreement reached last week with insurance firms for damage claims from the PG&E equipment-sparked 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. The final $14 billion agreement also includes a $1 billion deal reached with 18 local public entities […]

JUICE: Chasing SCE’s Rates Is Not a Way to Do Business

23 Sep

The Clean Power Alliance this year became the state’s largest Community Choice Aggregator. It provides about 11,000 GWh to a growing complement of over 1 million ex-Southern California Edison customers with competitively-priced renewable energy. It plans to ramp up its renewable resource portfolio and roll out a heady menu of expanded customer programs. To gain […]

Gov. Directs Money & Climate Protection Alignment

23 Sep

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Sept. 20 directing the leveraging of the state’s $700 billion pension investment funds to promote increased climate protection in California. That is to include tapping into the California Public Employees Retirement System, California State Teachers Retirement System and the University of California Retirement funds. Newsom also inked two […]

Shorts

23 Sep

Updated Sept. 26 The electric grid faces growing cybersecurity risks, particularly to industrial control systems that support grid operations, the General Accountability Office warned Sept. 25. “The increasing adoption of high-wattage consumer Internet of Things devices—“smart” devices connected to the internet—and the use of the global positioning system to synchronize grid operations are also vulnerabilities,” […]

The Buzz

19 Sep

Trump’s claim that California’s Clean Air Act waiver is preempted by federal law drives state air regulators to look at other ways to slash climate pollution from the transportation sector. Two Republican federal energy regulators approve a proposal to alter the 40-year old law protecting small renewable projects and co-generation. The dissenting Democratic commissioner says […]