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The Buzz

9 Feb

California utility regulators extend their control over community choice aggregation programs this week by mandating that they participate in the California Public Utilities Commission’s integrated resource planning and resource adequacy processes. The CPUC holds an experimental webinar to answer written questions from financial firms as utilities complain of deteriorating financial conditions. The benefits of energy […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Regulators Grapple with Growing Fire Dangers

1 Feb

How to reduce the risk of more frequent and intense wildfires in the state, with a worrisome number sparked by utility equipment, was the subject of a Jan. 31 California Public Utilities Commission meeting attended by all five commissioners. “The ferocity of events we face outstrips our resources, policies and preparation,” warned Mike Picker, CPUC […]

The Buzz

26 Jan

Front and center stage in Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State is his climate protection work   While he provided few specifics on how forthcoming carbon cap-and-trade auction funds would be divvied up, he insists that we can’t fight nature. Over at the California Energy Commission, projects to reduce home natural gas use and utility […]

OPINIONATED: The Sorry State Of Demand Response, Smart Meters/Dumb Tariffs

22 Jan

 By Fereidoon Sioshansi The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an annual survey of demand response and advanced metering in the U.S. The 12th edition of the report was released in Dec. 2017 and anyone looking for major revelations is likely to be disappointed. Not much happens from […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

Bill May Increase Diablo Closure Costs

17 Jan

Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) plans to introduce legislation to restore all or part of the $85 million in proposed mitigation funds for San Luis Obispo area communities that the California Public Utilities Commission excluded in its Jan. 11 closure decision for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Monning has not yet determined the amount or the […]

JUICE: Cazalet Pitches Plan to Grow Energy Storage

17 Jan

Energy storage technologies are considered by lawmakers, regulators, and many others as a key way to balance the ebb and flow of higher levels of intermittent solar and wind power feeding California’s grid. However, the growth of various storage technologies, which can store excess renewable flows and release the juice at times of high demand, […]

The Buzz

11 Jan

A controversial decision eliminating energy efficiency funding and slashing ratepayers’ tab in the Diablo nuclear plant closure plan is approved 5-0 by state energy regulators. The 2024/25 closure date may advance, however, because of the loss of PG&E customers and higher plant maintenance costs. Also Jan.11, the California Public Utilities Commission authorizes the three electric […]

CPUC Delays LA County Gas Hookup Moratorium

10 Jan

Updated Jan. 11, 2018. Strong opposition from local businesses and elected officials pushed the California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 10 to postpone enacting a gas hookup moratorium in Los Angeles County for new commercial and industrial buildings through the end of March. Fearing gas shortages because of outages of three pipelines that supply the area, […]

The Buzz

5 Jan

A San Francisco lawmaker marks the legislative new year with a bill to put an end to gasoline-powered autos in California beginning in 2040. Other state lawmakers at the start of 2018 seek to foreclose any possibility that electric utilities that spark wildfires could potentially recover associated costs from ratepayers. The state’s biggest utility says […]

Juice: It’s a Happy New Year for Big Oil

2 Jan

California environmental regulators are trumpeting their updated master plan for reducing greenhouse gases as “a template for other jurisdictions who are also committed to preventing the worst impacts of a warming planet.” Yet, the California Air Resources Board’s latest “scoping plan” gives big oil a free pass. The rest—the electricity, natural gas, and other businesses […]

The Buzz

14 Dec

Who will become the western grid operator: CAISO, Southwest Power Pool, or the new ISO elf? State energy regulators tighten utility fire safety rules because of the “astounding” problem of wildfires, Mike Picker, CPUC president, says. During the same Dec. 14 meeting, the commission approves $100 million in annual subsidies to promote solar system installations […]

Opinionated: The Diablo Energy Efficiency Opportunity

12 Dec

Editor’s Note: The California Public Utilities Commission was set to vote Dec. 14 on the decision to reduce funding for Pacific Gas & Electric to close its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant from $1.76 billion to $172 million. However,  the commission announced at the start of the Thursday business meeting that a vote on the proposed […]

The Buzz

8 Dec

Energy agency heads insist Los Angeles County should freeze natural gas hookups for new homes and businesses because of possible fuel shortages this winter. Builders vigorously object that it will worsen the area’s housing crimp. The CPUC president blasts the messenger. Pacific Gas & Electric proposes replacing Dynegy’s 40-year old Oakland power plant with local […]

Proposed Gas Hookup Moratorium for LA Draws Opposition

7 Dec

State energy agencies are pressing Los Angeles County to freeze gas hookups for newly constructed homes and businesses in the face of feared “gas service interruptions” this winter. Three natural gas pipelines are out of service and the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field’s has limited capacity to inject gas into the local pipeline system. […]

The Buzz

30 Nov

State energy regulators are united in their opposition to saddling San Diego Gas & Electric ratepayers with nearly $400 million in costs incurred for three big fires in 2007 ignited by SDG&E lines. Two members of the California Public Utilities Commission, however, have reservations given multiple contributions to the big fires that led to deaths, […]

Juice: Blowin in the Dry Wind

28 Nov

Four years ago, San Diego Gas & Electric power lines sparked wildfires that burned some 200,000 acres in San Diego County. The fires, which began in the eastern area of the county, were quickly blown westward by severe Santa Ana winds. They wound up destroying 2,500 homes and structures as they burned through the dry […]

Negawatt Providers Seek a Mandate

21 Nov

California regulators and policymakers say they want to see increases in demand response to reduce peak load and help balance out intermittent renewable resources. Despite the lip service, the amount of negawatt capacity reaped from the residential and commercial/industrial sectors has fallen since 2011, particularly from third-party aggregators working with the investor-owned utilities. “There is […]