Archive by Author

CPUC Rejects $1.5 B Increase for Diablo Decommissioning

25 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approved with no discussion giving Pacific Gas & Electric $2.42 billion to decommission the Diablo Canyon Power Plant and $1.06 billion for the continued decommissioning of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. PG&E earlier this month sought a 65 percent increase of its 2012 estimate to decommission Diablo, from $2.286 billion, […]

FERC Nominees Grilled About Commitment to State Rights

25 May

During a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee May 25 hearing on two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominees, the role of state rights in energy decision-making, including on non-fossil resources, garnered considerable attention. The panel also considered the nomination of Dan Brouillette as the Department of Energy’s deputy secretary, with proposed budget cuts and partisan […]

Trump’s Sale of WAPA & BPA Lines is a Lead Balloon

23 May

The Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget, released May 23, puts a for sale sign on federally-owned power lines in the West. However, selling the transmission assets of the Western Area Power Administration, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Southwestern Power Administration will face major resistance from federal lawmakers from the West and Northwest. Carl […]

Undercurrents: Trump’s Budget Guts Clean Energy Programs & Transmission

23 May

As feared, President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget released May 23 slashes funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and other federal agencies. Heading for the guillotine are funds for energy efficiency and to states for weatherization of low-income residences and alternative energy programs. The budget document states it eliminates programs considered “duplicative” […]

Shorts

23 May

The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee passed legislation mandating that fines imposed on Pacific Gas & Electric for the 2015 Butte fire directly benefit the two impacted counties. During a May 23 hearing, lasting about two minutes, AB 524 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Madera) was approved.  It focuses on the $8.25 million in penalties slapped […]

Direct Access Said to Threaten IOUs & Community Choice

23 May

The California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission met May 19 to better grasp how to reorient away from regulation of four private utilities, which are losing market share, to guiding the energy use of millions of disparate customers, including those joining public community choice programs. During the all-day joint commission meeting, the impact of […]

The Buzz

19 May

The wide selection of brands of peanut butter and other consumer products up and down the state is not questioned. But electricity choice is, at least by state regulators. They question community choice’s impact on the traditional utility business model, and even the state’s climate protection efforts. Elsewhere, community energy is assumed to be the […]

Regulators Struggle With Expanding Retail Choice

18 May

State energy regulators are wringing their hands over the flood of ratepayers moving to community choice programs and trying to create some order amid the chaos caused by the upending of the traditional role of private utilities and central planning. California is moving to a competitive retail market, notes a California Public Utilities Commission white […]

PG&E Sued Over Tragic Oakland Warehouse Fire

18 May

Pacific Gas & Electric is among the long list of named defendants in a consolidated wrongful death suit filed mid-week following the fire in a makeshift artist residence in an Oakland warehouse last December. The blaze and inability to escape what has been called a “death trap” killed 36 people and injured many more. The […]

Utility Electric Car Projects Hit Speed Bumps

18 May

Two private utilities’ proposed pilot projects to expand electric car charging to accelerate use of electric vehicles met resistance this week. The projects are part of plans by the state’s three investor-owned utilities to spend $1 billion on chargers to reduce emissions from transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. […]

Juice: A Worthy Proposal

17 May

Rapid technological change and policies to promote clean energy have undermined traditional gas-fired generators and thrust the state’s grid into a period of instability. While ten years out the picture looks rosy—with little doubt the state will achieve its 50 percent renewable energy standard—the outlook for the next two to five years is cloudy with […]

Beneficial Uses of Excess Power Supply Eyed

14 May

California will need increasing flexibility to maintain reliable power supplies on the grid as levels of renewable energy increase in the years ahead. However, while that’s currently viewed as a problem due to its close relationship to oversupplies of power on bright sunny afternoons it may represent a golden opportunity. That’s the picture that emerged […]

The Buzz

12 May

California utility regulators open a proceeding to examine rules for putting overhead power lines communities find objectionable underground. They also back an 11 percent rate hike for Pacific Gas & Electric in action on the utility’s general rate case. A bill calling for 100 percent renewable power in the Golden State by 2045 glides through […]

CPUC to Revise Undergrounding Wire Rules & Provide More Gas Access in Central Valley

11 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved moving to revise its rules on the undergrounding of utility electric wires, including how undergrounding projects are chosen and who pays. The rulemaking approved May 11 is aimed at helping determine which underground projects are in the public interest, including how much to focus in urban, suburban, rural […]

CEC Grants Big Clean Energy Bucks

10 May

The California Energy Commission approved more than $55 million in grants May 10 to promote less polluting ports, electric vehicles, alternative vehicle fuels and building energy efficiency. Two Southern California ports and the surrounding poor communities are to reap the benefits of a $25 million in grants for zero and low emission vehicles. The impact […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Resorts to Ex Parte Tactics on Diablo Decommissioning Decision

10 May

Pacific Gas & Electric will meet next Monday, May 15, in commissioners’ offices at the California Public Utilities Commission to lobby against an administrative law judge’s proposed decision to grant it $2.3 billion of ratepayer money for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The decision cut the utility’s original request by $1.5 billion. Matt […]

Shorts

10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

CAISO Mutes Reliability Alert

10 May

The California Independent System Operator quietly announced the grid was threatened the evening of May 3. Many were unaware in real time that there was an operating reserve shortfall. Generator representatives and others also took issue with the lack of explanation as to what happened. “Looks like things fell through the cracks,” said Jim McIntosh, […]

All Renewable Electricity Mandate Bill Sails Ahead

9 May

A key Senate committee approved legislation to set a 100 percent fossil fuel free, or zero carbon, electricity resource mandate for California by the end of 2045. “This is a very timely measure with regards to planning ahead for tomorrow’s future,” Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León told the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications […]

Utility Parents Report Flush Earnings

9 May

California’s investor-owned utilities all reported healthy increases in net income for the first three months of 2017, with Pacific Gas & Electric reporting the most significant growth. Edison International: The parent company of the regulated utility Southern California Edison reported earnings of $362 million, or $1.11 a share, in the first quarter of 2017. That’s […]