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Power Line Fire Safety Bills Gain Ground

23 Apr

Energy-related legislation continued to move ahead in the state Senate April 23, with two measures clearing the Natural Resources & Water Committee. SB 247 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) won approval by the panel on a 9-0 vote. Dodd’s measure would put CalFire in charge of auditing compliance with California Public Utilities Commission vegetation management […]

Edison Seeks Higher Rates Due to Wildfire Risk

23 Apr

Southern California Edison asked the California Public Utilities Commission April 22 to grant it a rate boost that would increase the average residential power bill by $12.20 cents a month to help cover wildfire risk. The move comes after the company posted losses at the end of last year in the face of wildfire liability […]

Central Procurement Bill Advances After Being Narrowed

23 Apr

An Assembly committee April 22 approved two key pieces of legislation, including a bill to establish a state-run backstop power procurement program and another to order state energy officials to investigate recent or future natural gas price spikes. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee passed AB 56 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) on a 6-2 vote. […]

West Coast Utilities Coordinate on Big Truck Electrification

18 Apr

A study on electrifying the 1,350 mile route from Mexico to Canada for medium- and heavy-duty trucks is being launched by a coalition of nearly three dozen West Coast private and public utilities and organizations. The study by this West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, announced April 18, is to evaluate how, where and the […]

PG&E Safety Gaps Highlighted

16 Apr

In spite of ongoing safety issues and problems at Pacific Gas & Electric, the company lacks a “comprehensive safety strategy,” the California Public Utilities Commission was told April 15. PG&E does not have “a coordinated safety strategy that takes a look at the whole,” said Angela Anderson, project manager for Northstar Consulting. The company has […]

Newsom Calls for Wildfire Liability Reform

12 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom April 12 called on lawmakers to pass a legislative reform package to deal with the growing threat of wildfires, calling measures adopted to date “inadequate.” “We all have a burden and responsibility to meet the costs,” said Newsom. “We’re all in this together.” In a long and at times rambling press conference, […]

Edison Seeks Big Rise on its Return On Equity from FERC

11 Apr

Southern California Edison asked federal energy regulators April 11 for more than a 50 percent increase on its return on equity to help ameliorate the cost of its “extraordinary” wildfire liability. Edison seeks to raise its revenue requirement on federally regulated transmission lines from $1.038 billion to $1.328 billion annually, a 28 percent increase. That […]

Lawmakers Lukewarm on Central Procurement Bill

10 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 10 backed legislation to establish a central authority to serve as the state’s chief backstop power purchasing agent, but only after watering it down because of stiff opposition. Before this week’s hearing, Southern California Edison, publicly owned utilities, community choice aggregators, and some environmental groups, opposed the measure […]

Public & Safety Advocates Vet Utility Wildfire Plans

9 Apr

Numerous organizations are urging utility regulators to carefully scrutinize the effectiveness of utility wildfire risk mitigation plans filed earlier this year. They also want them to clarify that any approval of the plans will not equate to okaying utility expenditures to carry them out. The Public Advocates Office stated in comments filed with the commission […]

Electrification v. Renewable Gas

9 Apr

As state energy officials begin to develop a strategy to decarbonize buildings, they face sharply competing interests. Some favor renewable powered electrification, while others advocate filling existing gas pipelines with renewable natural gas and hydrogen to get the job done. State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Thousand Oaks) acknowledged the “tension,” but stressed that ultimately affordability will […]

The Buzz

4 Apr

Bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric announces a new slate of directors. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s former chief is named the new CEO, with final voting to take place at the end of May. California energy and waste regulators start to grapple with surging quantities of aging solar panels and batteries. Steps needed to avert a […]

PG&E Proposes New CEO & Board

4 Apr

In response to significant pressure to overhaul its board after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Pacific Gas & Electric announced a new slate of directors April 3. It would put the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority, William Johnson, at the head.  As part of its board “refreshment process,” PG&E […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Assembly Panel Okays Bills on Power Shutoff Rules & Unions

3 Apr

Legislation tweaking energy rules and policies, including setting deenergization protocols and prohibiting utilities from using ratepayer funds to deter workers from unionizing, passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 3. AB 868 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Placerville) requires that private and public utilities develop criteria specifying when and how they will stop […]

Alternative Energy Bills Go Forward

2 Apr

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved a small number of bills April 2, including ones to increase the savings of utility energy efficiency programs and expand fuels that can be used in qualifying biomass plants. The approved measures include SB 524 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Calabasas). It seeks to increase the energy savings […]

CPUC’s Policy & Planning Division is History

2 Apr

With no fanfare, the California Public Utilities Commission April 1 eliminated its Policy & Planning Division. There had been talk of the division getting a new head, but instead its’ acting director, along with others, were moved to other sections of the CPUC as part of an internal reorganization. On Monday, according to Terrie Prosper, […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

Shorts

25 Mar

Updated March 28. State utility regulators this week turned down a bid by Pacific Gas & Electric to sell its Narrows Hydroelectric Project to the Yuba County Water Agency. The utility sought approval of the sale for $3.8 million through an advice letter. However, the California Public Utilities Commission decided that due to the complexity […]

The Buzz

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

CPUC Forced to Correct Resource Adequacy Waiver Claims

19 Mar

During a third Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee hearing on the changing electricity industry landscape, the California Public Utilities Commission president was taken to task for incorrectly stating at previous hearings that 11 community aggregators were exempted from buying local reliability resources. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) wanted to know the correct number of […]