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Climate Roundup: Enviro Justice Groups Seek to Protect Low Income Weatherization

3 Apr

Updated April 5 The governor’s spending proposal to eliminate the Low Income Weatherization Program’s budget is opposed by a coalition of environmental justice advocates. The program, administered by the Department of Community Services & Development, has provided energy efficiency and solar installations, and utility bill savings in struggling communities. It is funded by the California […]

The Buzz

29 Mar

Facing massive liability lawsuits for its potential role in igniting wildfires that scorched Santa Rosa and other Wine Country communities last fall, Pacific Gas & Electric argues it’s not subject to claims based on the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation. With hot weather just around the corner, state regulators order SoCal Gas to quickly fill […]

SoCal Gas Ordered to Fill Gas Storage Fields

28 Mar

SoCal Gas is under a state regulatory order to accelerate the storage of natural gas to prepare for summer demand because company pipelines remain out of service. The closed pipelines, which have been offline for months, hamper import capacity into the Los Angeles metro area. California Public Utilities Commission Executive Director Alice Stebbins called the […]

Opinionated: The Long & Winding Road to End Nuclear Power in California

19 Mar

By The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility The end of commercial nuclear power in California approaches, a little more than half a century after it began. Of all the promises and boasts made by the early proponents of nuclear energy, their claim of “too cheap to meter” would eventually prove to be its undoing—at least here […]

The Buzz

16 Mar

Trump’s federal regulators may make western grid regionalization a rough ride for California while it continues working to cut its greenhouse gases, legislators are warned. The next day, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signals just that. A FERC majority largely ignores the Obama-era’s incorporation of  the social cost of carbon, saying it’s not a useful […]

Major Power Plant Retirements in So Cal

14 Mar

Merchant generators struggling in California are closing and selling off gas-fired generating facilities to stem the flow of red ink. After contracts for the output of three aging natural gas power plants in Southern California owned by NRG subsidiary, GenOn, were not renewed, the company threw in the towel. Slated for retirement over six months […]

LADWP’s Costs for Power & Fire Insurance Rise

13 Mar

In response to higher costs for purchasing electricity and wildfire insurance, the nation’s largest municipal electric utility is increasing customer rates. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board voted March 13, without discussion, to boost customer charges for energy by 4 percent. That will result in an average monthly bill increase of about 1.6 […]

The Buzz

9 Mar

A sizable midweek natural gas leak in San Diego shuts down a freeway, a huge mall and requires evacuations. As bad is the accompanying lack of a quick and easy shut off. Hours before, information leaked out that natural gas withdrawals from Aliso Canyon by SoCal Gas were quietly okayed over the weekend, riling a […]

JUICE: The Scales of Politics

7 Mar

Last week, numerous cities and regions with formed and forming community energy programs protested the investor-owned utilities’ plea to the California Public Utilities Commission to let them use ratepayer funds to lobby against public power supply organizations. The Feb. 1 petition by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric […]

The Buzz

2 Mar

Tin ears are prevalent this week. During the U.S. EPA’s public “listening session” in San Francisco mid-week on the agency’s plan to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board head, questions agency officials’ hearing ability. The decibels in the room increase with the long line of speakers blasting the proposed repeal […]

OPINIONATED: Where Have Utility Jobs Gone?

27 Feb

by Fereidoon Sioshansi It is broadly accepted that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will make many of today’s jobs redundant – think of automated bank machines, driverless cars, cashier-less supermarkets and drones dropping packages at your doorstep. Travel agents and hordes of other professions have been virtually wiped out of market while robots now assist […]

The Buzz

22 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission unveils a plan to establish a multi-year procurement framework for resource adequacy, but leaves it open as to who will be responsible for actually entering power generating capacity contracts. As planners gather to discuss western transmission projects, Phil Anschutz’s TranWest Express line is about ready to break ground to bring […]

OPINIONATED: A New CPUC Tool to Reduce Ex Parte Exchanges

20 Feb

By Todd Edmister A recent CA Current article described a Feb.7, 2017, CPUC Commissioner informational webinar on “Impacts of Climate Change and Resulting Resiliency Challenges.” Though noticed as addressing “select questions submitted by the public,” the purpose of the meeting was limited to addressing questions from “investor groups,” as Commissioners Picker and Peterman stated in […]

The Buzz

15 Feb

Community choice aggregators see mostly smooth sailing ahead in forming new programs and expanding existing ones after significant changes were made in a California Public Utilities Commission policy adopted last week that as originally proposed was seen as draconian. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County’s community choice energy program is now operational, with two rounds of expansion […]

JUICE: MetroWatt

13 Feb

I’m in the enviable position of driving below 4,000 miles a year. My weekday commute is a staircase. My car use is further limited because of my transportation options, including bike, BART and Capitol Corridor train service. The hike in my recent auto insurance bill motivated me to switch to insurance with comparable coverage with […]

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 […]