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CPUC Fines Edison & PG&E for Safety Violations

17 Oct

State utility regulators levied fines on two utilities for violating safety rules, penalizing Southern California Edison $8 million and Pacific Gas & Electric some $5 million. The California Public Utility Commission’s Safety & Enforcement District issued the citations Oct. 16. In 2015, the Safety Division found that Edison did not promptly repair a crossarm on […]

PG&E Energy Storage Deals Face Headwinds

16 Oct

A California Public Utilities Commission draft resolution supports Pacific Gas & Electric’s bid for cost recovery for four storage projects with a total 567.5 MW of capacity. However, last week several protests were filed over their cost and whether they were necessary. The protestors, including consumer advocates and community choice aggregators, support energy storage as […]

JUICE: The Direct Access Elephant

16 Oct

Energy regulators’ controversial vote last week to raise the fees on customers who’ve left investor-owned utilities for community energy programs is not expected to halt or significantly impede existing and emerging community aggregators up and down the state. The estimated 15 percent increase in community energy programs’ share of utility generation costs under the newly […]

CPUC Hits Community Choice with Higher Costs

11 Oct

Facing significant opposition in a shifting energy world, the California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 11 unanimously approved a decision that will raise the bills of community energy and direct access customers by shifting more private utility portfolio costs onto them. In voting this week, commissioners backed revisions to the controversial Power Charge Indifference Adjustment methodology […]

CPUC Okays Storage Projects & Funds to Control Gas Leaks

11 Oct

Utility regulators Oct. 11 delayed approving utility research and development plans funded through the Electric Program Investment Charge program, but okayed energy storage contracts for two utilities, and the collecting of rates to control methane leaks from utility pipelines. Without comment, the California Public Utilities Commission approved six energy storage contracts for Pacific Gas & […]

Shorts

9 Oct

A 40 year-old law that requires utilities to buy power from renewable generators and co-generators should be waived in states with competitive solicitation requirements and other measures that ensure all technologies access to the power market. That’s the recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a new white paper from the National Association of […]

The Buzz

4 Oct

California’s big three investor-owned energy utilities are hit with credit downgrades. Their borrowing pains would be a lot higher but for enactment of SB 901. In spite of all the pro-electric vehicle effort and rhetoric in the state, the California Energy Commission slashes its spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology […]

Juice: Behind-the-Meter it’s Caveat Emptor

2 Oct

As California rushes headlong into behind-the-utility meter approaches to providing greener energy for homes and businesses—from deep energy efficiency retrofits, to solar and energy storage batteries—critical consumer protection standards and enforcement are missing in action. The net result of inadequate consumer protections is that many who’ve leased or borrowed money to install solar systems are […]

CPUC Delays PCIA Decision

27 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 27 postponed deciding how to levy exit charges for electricity customers who depart utilities and move to community choice aggregators or direct access providers. The commission now is slated to vote on the so-called power charge indifference adjustment Oct. 11. Utility regulators, did, however, adopt on a 4-1 vote […]

Undercurrents: Community Solar, EV Charging Advance

27 Sep

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is rolling out a shared solar program. Under it, apartment and other multi-unit home dwellers who cannot install solar systems on their own roofs can opt for solar power produced by dedicated solar facilities. Community organizations will help enroll muni customers, who will pay 17.4 cents per […]

Brown Signs SB 901 & Bills Impacting Energy Sector

24 Sep

A new state law allows utilities to borrow money through bonds to cover uninsured wildfire costs subject to California Public Utilities Commission review. The new law, SB 901, also authorizes spending $200 million a year from state carbon cap-and-trade revenue for the next five years to reduce wildfire fuel by thinning forests and conducting controlled […]

CPUC’s High Ticket Attractions Next Week

19 Sep

Utility regulators are slated to vote next week on three proposals that could cost ratepayers more than a $1 billion. They include costs in proposed decisions that could advance transportation and integrate more renewable energy into the state’s grid. At its Sept. 27 meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to consider directing Pacific […]

Shorts

18 Sep

Sempra Energy is selling its non-utility solar energy assets to Consolidated Edison, the San Diego-based company revealed Sept. 20. Sempra also is selling battery energy storage development projects and one wind facility. The total sale will bring it $1.54 billion in cash. The assets included are: Mesquite Solar 2 and 3 in Arizona; Copper Mountain […]

Undercurrents: Renewable Gas Flows, Hydrogen Supply Doesn’t

17 Sep

Renewable natural gas will begin flowing soon at 25 natural gas vehicle fueling stations owned by SoCal Gas, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area. Renewable gas consists of methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and dairies. Capturing it and using it as fuel for vehicles, power […]

Climate Change Puts Pressure on Utility Rates

12 Sep

Global warming is increasingly driving energy utility expenditures and could lead to higher utility rates in the years ahead, a key state energy official said Sept. 12. Utilities, said Cliff Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission member, already are factoring the impacts of global warming into what they seek as revenue requirements in their general rate […]

PCIA Alternate Threatens Choice Programs, Say Aggregators

11 Sep

Updated Sept. 12, 2018. A proposed alternate decision on how to handle “exit” charges from investor-owned utilities for community choice aggregation programs and direct access providers is drawing substantial support from consumer advocates and utilities. Community choice aggregators, however, maintain that if the alternate decision by California Public Utilities Commission member Carla Peterman is adopted […]

JUICE: Eyes Wide Shut on Wildfire Liability Bill

11 Sep

Lawmakers promised a transparent process for the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown dealing with liability for utility-sparked wildfires fueled by multi-year drought, legions of dead and dying trees and higher temperatures. Yet, the final provisions and costs of SB 901 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) were anything but transparent. Transparent is defined as “free […]

EV Grid Integration Effort Focuses on Trucks & Low-Income Areas

6 Sep

Prioritizing strategies to optimize energy flows between the grid and electric vehicles—large and small—took a small step forward this week during a public hearing on how to reduce barriers to emerging technologies. California’s goal is to have 5 million electric cars, trucks and buses on state roads by 2030 to curb carbon emissions from the […]

Two Dozen Senate Energy Bills Sent to Governor

4 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown has to decide if a number of bills should become law, including Senate measures to increase direct access for businesses, overhaul utility energy efficiency programs, increase mandated energy storage levels, and create new incentives for near zero emissions space and water heating in buildings. Brown also has to decide whether to sign […]

Bills Bolster Private Utilities’ Bottom Line & Building Emission Cuts

4 Sep

In a last-minute rewrite with minimal transparency, lawmakers passed a bill shielding Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders from massive wildfire liability but lacked similar gusto to pass legislation allowing for a regionalization of California’s electric grid. The grid regionalization bill, the two-year AB 813, remained stuck in the Rules Committee throughout the final two weeks […]