Archive by Author

Undercurrents: AG Backs Oakland’s Rejection of Coal Terminal

18 Dec

The City of Oakland’s appeal to defend its ordinance prohibiting storage and shipment of coal to and from a proposed port expansion won the backing of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week. “The transportation of coal from the terminal would disproportionately hurt communities of color already burdened by pollution and its consequent health effects, […]

PG&E Seeks Hefty Revenue Increase

17 Dec

A day before Pacific Gas & Electric was charged with falsifying gas pipeline markings and associated records over a five-year period, it asked energy regulators to increase its authorized revenue by almost $2 billion, or about 23 percent, in its upcoming three-year rate case. In its Dec. 13 general rate case filing, the utility requested […]

Regulators Charge PG&E with Bogus Gas Pipeline Markings

17 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric is in hot water again. The California Public Utilities Commission found it both failed to properly mark its gas lines to prevent dangerous excavations and falsified its records. The markings, allegedly made between 2012 and 2017, began two years after the gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed nine people […]

Opinionated: Back to the Resource Adequacy Drawing Board

17 Dec

By Todd Edmister Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision in its resource adequacy proceeding that would strip community choice aggregators and energy service providers collectively of their authority to procure local capacity resources. It would give this resource adequacy procurement authority exclusively to investor-owned utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric […]

Shorts

17 Dec

As the year ends, CAISO is still reviewing plans to close AES’s Redondo Beach power plant in the Los Angeles Basin. The 1,342 MW gas-fired power plant along the coast uses ocean water for cooling and must quit doing so under a state marine protection policy. AES plans to close the plant in two years […]

The Buzz

13 Dec

Dear Readers: We will post news stories early next week before taking a holiday break through New Year’s Day beginning Dec. 19. Our 2019 news coverage and analysis will begin on Jan. 2. Wishing you happy and healthy holidays. This week, the California’s Air Resources Board adopts amendments to the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, which […]

CPUC Restricts Power Shutoffs & Approves Affordable Clean Energy Pilots

13 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 13 unanimously approved a temporary framework that seeks to reduce the number of utility power and gas disconnections for unpaid energy bills. A vote on the order authored by Commissioner Martha Aceves Guzman had been put off last month because of disagreements over some of its provisions, including capping […]

CPUC Directs Shareholders Pay IOU Bonuses, Approves SDG&E Budgets

13 Dec

State energy regulators’ Dec. 13 signed off on a decision requiring that executive bonuses paid to private utility executives, which are in excess of $1 million, be paid by shareholders, not ratepayers. The change is required by the new wildfire liability legislation, SB 901, which was enacted in September. This new California Public Utilities Commission […]

CPUC Rulemakings Aim to Reduce Fire & Equipment Sabotage Risks

13 Dec

To keep active power lines from sparking or worsening wildfires, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Dec. 13 to launch a rulemaking to improve decision-making on when utility power lines should be shutoff in advance of potential blazes. “We must act,” said CPUC member Carla Peterman, who is leaving the commission. She added the […]

Undercurrents: Morro Bay Eyes Ocean Wind Project Benefits

11 Dec

A project developer entered an agreement late  last month with the city of Morro Bay aimed at creating local benefits if a 650 MW offshore wind farm is eventually built about 30 miles off the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Castle Wind and the city struck the community benefits deal Nov. 29. It seeks […]

Shorts

10 Dec

A dozen-and-a-half Democratic U.S. Senators called on the newest member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to abstain from voting on energy matters on which he previously took strong stances, including on fossil fuel subsidies. Bernard McNamee played an active role in seeking price supports for nuclear and coal resources from FERC when working at […]

IOUs Detail Equipments Possible Role in Fires, Including Bullet Holes

7 Dec

Updated Dec. 11. Both Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison filed follow-up reports with the California Public Utilities Commission on the possible role of their equipment in last month’s fires in Northern and Southern California. PG&E said it found bullet holes at the break point of the pole and on the equipment at […]

The Buzz

7 Dec

Power demand through 2030 may be less than the California Energy Commission projected earlier this year because of slower economic growth. The California Public Utilities Commission okays the three investor-owned utilities’ 2018-22 demand response programs, but also revises them. A draft CPUC decision would continue to require investor-owned utilities to line up resource adequacy contracts, […]

Utilities’ 5-Year Demand Response Programs Okayed

6 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission modified the three investor-owned utilities’ 2018-22 demand response programs when it approved them last week. Changes in the five-year program included prohibiting resources for new customers being bid into two markets: Critical Peak Pricing and demand response programs offered by a utility or third party. According to the decision, the […]

Shorts

5 Dec

Updated Dec. 6. The U.S. Senate Dec. 6 confirmed Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 50-49 vote. McNamee’s nomination was controversial because of the role he played while at the U.S. Department of Energy, specifically entailing its proposal that FERC order subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants. McNamee “needs to […]

State Energy Buyer Bill Introduced; One to Thwart Utility Bankruptcies is a No Show

4 Dec

A key state lawmaker Dec. 3 held off on introducing legislation to keep California’s investor-owned utilities from being driven into bankruptcy by billions of dollars in potential wildfire liability claims. Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said he had planned to introduce the measure on Monday when new lawmakers were sworn in. Holden, who chairs the Assembly […]

Undercurrents: CPUC Okays $812 M for DWR Crisis Bond Charges

4 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission approved passing through to ratepayers the cost of Department of Water Resources’ bonds arising from the multi-billion dollar power contracts the state signed in the midst of the 2000-01 energy crisis. With no discussion late last week, the CPUC signed off on allocating DWR’s $812 million in 2019 bond service […]

The Buzz

29 Nov

The skies begin to clear this week after the massive wildfires, but it’s hard to see what’s on the horizon for California’s energy business. Under a barrage by protestors insisting the state take over Pacific Gas & Electric, regulators manage to approve strategies to make PG&E more safety conscious, to ease re-connections for the homes […]

CPUC Approves Safety Report after Vigorous Anti-PG&E Protest

29 Nov

State energy regulators were overwhelmed by demands and screams to not bail out Pacific Gas & Electric at their Nov. 29 meeting. Protestors insisted that PG&E be allowed to go bankrupt and that the state should take over its electricity and gas business. After a long line of public speakers slammed PG&E and the California […]

CPUC to Vote on Reducing Disconnections Next Month

29 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission Nov. 29 put off voting on a decision that seeks to roll back the number of utility disconnections as mandated by legislation. Some strategies Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposed to reduce the number of power disconnections for non-payment, particularly placing a cap on the number of shutoffs, rubbed some commissioners […]