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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 […]

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 […]

JUICE: Flying a Jet Plane?

12 Dec

California may create a central power purchasing agency to fill gaps in the state’s electricity supply to ensure the grid remains reliable, and possibly to act as the provider of last resort. The state essentially did the same some 17 years ago with less than stellar results, though the circumstances were different. Out of the […]

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 […]

CPUC Resource Adequacy Decision Pitches Small Reforms

6 Dec

A draft decision by two administrative law judges that may be adopted early in 2019 would keep investor-owned utilities in the driver’s seat in lining up contracts needed for resource adequacy on the grid, particularly in local areas where transmission is constrained. Under the draft decision quietly released for comment late last month, the California […]

CPUC Officials Warn of Growing Market Power

5 Dec

Golden State electric ratepayers could soon become victims of price manipulation, according to California Public Utilities Commission officials. “California is currently entering an era of tighter generation supplies than we have experienced in recent years,” wrote Commissioner Liane Randolph and CPUC Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch in a ruling last month. The ruling came in […]

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 […]

Juice: CA’s GHG Reduction Tail Pipe Dream

3 Dec

As Gov. Jerry Brown passes the baton to Gavin Newsom, the octogenarian’s primary project—California’s world famous climate change program—is teetering. Sure, Californians can celebrate that they’ve already met the initial target under the now 12-year old AB 32 of cutting carbon emissions to their 1990 level by 2020. However, an increasing number of trend lines […]

SDG&E Wants Out of Power Supply Business

29 Nov

San Diego Gas & Electric, which has some of the highest power rates in the nation, wants to jettison its role of providing power to customers and become strictly an electricity transmission and distribution company. The utility says it’s primarily motivated by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to form a community aggregation program in […]

JUICE: The Long Shadow of the Energy Crisis

27 Nov

Massive utility liability from the recent devastating wildfires potentially sparked by electric lines puts the companies, politicians, regulators and ratepayers between a rock and a hard place. California regulators and lawmakers are working to keep Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison from being financially overwhelmed by claims resulting from the tragic toll on […]

Shorts

18 Nov

Strategies for reducing the number of investor-owned utility power shutoffs are expected to be released next month, said California Public Utilities Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. She headed a Nov. 19 workshop as part of the proceeding she is overseeing on how to reduce the number of disconnections and improve reconnections. Disconnections of residential ratepayers gas […]

The Buzz

15 Nov

California air regulators take initial steps on cap-and-trade program revisions to double greenhouse gas cuts in the decade ahead. The same day, a report is released that pushes land management changes to slash greenhouse gases in California. That includes improved forestry and woodlands management, slower conversion of natural lands and greener agriculture. At the nation’s […]

Undercurrents: No High Use Charge with TOU Rates

13 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving to default time-of-use rates for residential electricity ratepayers. But one of the catches is that the new default rate to begin next year will eliminate surcharges on energy hogs, according to speakers at the CPUC’s residential rate hearing held Nov. 13. When you take away the high energy […]

Fires Threaten Utility Finances & Lead to CPUC Rulemakings

13 Nov

Updated Nov. 15. Given utility infrastructure may have ignited two massive wildfires that started last week, the importance of a yet-formed committee tasked with assessing wildfire risks and making recommendations on costs and liability under a 2018 bill is growing exponentially. Pacific Gas & Electric stock fell as low as $17.26 per share on Nov. […]

CPUC Okays PG&E’s Big Storage Deals

8 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission on a 4-to-5 vote approved Pacific Gas & Electric’s contracts for 567.5 MW of storage in the South Bay area near Moss Landing over consumer advocates’ and community choice program operators’ objections. Last month, they challenged the cost and need for the four lithium ion battery storage deals, including because […]