Archive by Author

NextEra Wants FERC to Protect Its PG&E Contracts

24 Jan

NextEra and Pacific Gas & Electric are battling over who calls the shots on power purchase agreements: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and/or the federal bankruptcy court. NextEra sought an emergency ruling from federal energy regulators Jan. 18 to protect its wholesale contracts with PG&E from being abrogated by the federal bankruptcy case. NextEra wants […]

Newsom Shapes CA Energy Policy with New Appointments

23 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom is moving quickly to put his stamp on California’s energy market roiled by the bankruptcy of the state’s largest private utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. A little more than two weeks after he was sworn in, Newsom filled a vacancy at the California Public Utilities Commission with another woman of color. He […]

PG&E Seeks Up to $5.5 B in Loans

22 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric has lined up $5.5 billion in financing through the end of 2020 to allow it to finance its operations while in federal bankruptcy court. It expects to sign loan agreements with JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, Barclays Bank and Citigroup Global Markets around Jan. 29, according to PG&E’s Jan. 23 […]

Opinionated: The Climate Conundrum & the Vulnerable Utility Pocketbook

22 Jan

By Dan Delurey Few among us have not been subject to a power outage in our home or place of business. The electric utility industry as it grew and expanded over the decades, did so almost entirely above ground via wires and poles. Not surprisingly, this type of system, or grid, has been subject to […]

Shorts

22 Jan

PG&E told the federal district court that put the company on probation following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion, that its direction to inspect its huge power system and clear vegetation near wires could cost up to $150 billion.  “PG&E would inevitably need to turn to California ratepayers for funding, resulting in a substantial increase […]

The Buzz

17 Jan

State energy agencies are delving into natural gas and electricity price spikes in Southern California. One major SoCal Gas supply pipeline remains out of service after it burst in 2017, while two other major utility pipelines are operating at reduced capacity due to age deterioration. Lawmakers and the governor are not rushing to any conclusions […]

FERC Remembers McIntyre, Investigates Gas Supply Overcharges

17 Jan

The first Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting of 2019 was dedicated to the memory of its former chair, the recently deceased Kevin McIntyre, who died from brain cancer. “He was an earnest public servant who wanted to do the right thing,” Acting Chair Neil Chatterjee said during the Jan. 17 meeting. Chatterjee fondly recalled how […]

Wheeler Hearing Prompts Acrimony over EPA Policy

16 Jan

Andrew Wheeler, the controversial nominee to head the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, defended the agency’s weakening of vehicle and power plant emission standards during his confirmation hearing held on the 26th day of the federal government shut down. “No one is more qualified” for the job than Wheeler, Sen. James Inohe (R- OK) said during […]

Undercurrents: No Rush in Sacramento on PG&E

16 Jan

Keeping the lights on and making sure wildfire victims and utility ratepayers are treated fairly as the state’s largest utility enters bankruptcy are the stated priorities of Gov. Gavin Newsom and key state legislators. “Everyone’s immediate focus is, rightfully, on ensuring Californians have continuous, reliable and safe electric and gas service,” Newsom stated early this […]

JUICE: PG&E’s Past Bankruptcy as Prologue

14 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric is heading to bankruptcy court again to deal with overwhelming financial and legal liability. The liability it’s facing from the massive wildfires in 2017 and 2018 dwarfs the debt it struggled with during 2000-01 energy crisis when it faced huge spikes in merchant generator and wholesale power prices. And, unlike during […]

CPUC Votes 4-0 for Controversial Wildfire Liability Rulemaking

10 Jan

After a long line of outraged protesters objected to a perceived bailout of Pacific Gas & Electric for recent devastating wildfires, energy regulators unanimously approved setting ground rules to allow private utilities to recover costs arising from wildfires their equipment sparked in 2017. The rulemaking pursuant to legislation enacted beginning of this year, SB 901, […]

CPUC Approves $50 Million Energy Efficiency Program Renewal

10 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 10 voted 4-0 for a $52 million extension of the contract with the company that implements the utilities’ marketing and outreach portion of Energy Upgrade California. The program provides small businesses and homeowners with information tools and contacts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and offices. It […]

CPUC Looks at De-energization Fault Lines

9 Jan

To reduce the impacts of shutting off power lines because of wildfire threats, utility and county and state safety and enforcement officials discussed the weak links in the current de-energization process during a California Public Utilities Commission workshop in Calabasas on Jan. 9. The biggest problems cited were inadequate utility notifications and problematic communications with […]

Undercurrents: PG&E is up Against a Liability & Ratings Wall

8 Jan

With Pacific Gas & Electric facing ever growing liability for the last two years of devastating fires, all bets are off as to what it will do to stay afloat. Among the options on the table is a possible sale of its natural gas division. According to an NPR news report Jan. 7, this proposal […]

Shorts

8 Jan

Updated Jan. 10   Southern California Gas announced Jan. 10 that the utility was awarded $1.7 million from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for two projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in residential and commercial buildings. Of those fund, $1.2 million is to support a commercial water heating incentive program that provides rebates […]

McIntyre’s Death Leaves FERC with Four Members

3 Jan

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Kevin McIntyre has died at age 57. McIntyre, who served as President Donald Trump’s FERC chair until October of 2018, had suffered from brain cancer. “As a lawyer, a commissioner, and as FERC’s chairman, he always had the utmost respect for the agency and its mission,” remarked Sen. Lisa Murkowski […]

Shorts

3 Jan

The Department of Water Resources’ first snow survey of the new year revealed the water content of the snow is 80 percent of average at the standard measuring location, Phillips Station. The Jan. 3 survey recorded 25.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 9 inches. The Sierra snowpack is 67 percent […]

Court Reviewing PG&E’s Federal Probation Status

3 Jan

Without passing judgment on Pacific Gas & Electric, the state attorney general laid out the legal requirements necessary to charge PG&E with misdemeanors or felonies if shabby operation and/or maintenance of its facilities sparked this year’s deadly Camp Fire in Butte County. The opinion by the Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a five-page legal primer […]

Big Bucks Hinge on Upcoming PG&E Exit Fees

2 Jan

How much Pacific Gas & Electric competitors will pay for the higher exit fee approved by state energy regulators last fall should be clearer at the end of next week. Big numbers are in play. Just how much of a hit there is on community choice aggregators’ customers this year from the higher Power Charge […]

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, […]