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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 […]

Regulators Okay Expanded Integrated Resource Planning Process

8 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 9 approved including community energy and independent retail suppliers in its Integrated Resource Planning process. The unanimous decision requires these energy providers, along with the state’s private utilities, to submit resource plans demonstrating how they’ll do their part to help cut greenhouse gases in California by 42 million metric […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

6 Feb

The nation is destined to become a net energy importer by 2022 after being a net importer since 1953, according to the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018, released Feb. 6. Exports of oil and gas will rise as domestic production continues to ramp up, but also as domestic demand is tempered by energy […]

JUICE: A Legislative Energy Agenda

6 Feb

As the Legislature gathers steam in Sacramento, numerous key energy-related issues are ripe for action, from how to deal with over-capacity in the state’s power market to the extent to which electric utilities should be liable for wildfires sparked by their equipment. Energy agencies are attempting to deal with some of the conflicts—for instance, exit […]

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 […]

Fire Risks Require Land & Building Changes, CPUC Told

1 Feb

Fire safety scientists and engineers predict California will face mounting danger from wildfires in the coming decade due to climate change regardless of what energy utilities do to reduce the chances that their equipment may ignite blazes. The chief way to prevent a mounting toll of death, injury, and property damage, they told the California […]

Undercurrents

1 Feb

Community choice advocates are planning to protest Feb. 8, just before  the California Public Utilities Commission’s voting meeting,  in hopes of derailing a fast track resolution they say would effectively freeze choice program formations for two years. Their ire is aimed at CPUC President Mike Picker, who they claim is trying to railroad through a […]

Ratepayer Tab for SONGS Closure Cut Under New Deal

31 Jan

A long-anticipated settlement would cut the amount ratepayers are saddled with for the early closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant by at least $775 million. Under the initial closure deal approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2014 ratepayers were on the hook for $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion closure tab partly […]

Undercurrents

23 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a statewide fire threat map highlighting areas with higher and extreme risks from utility associated wildfires. The state fire threat map, approved Jan. 19, ranks fire hazards to people and property. It also aims to implement new CPUC fire-safety rules, including on utility vegetation management. The new rules require […]

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 […]

Science Panel Sees New Wine in Old Gas Storage Field Bottles

18 Jan

An independent state science panel concluded this week that California will continue to be reliant on natural gas storage facilities through 2020 to meet its energy needs, particularly for winter heating and power. Looking longer term, the panel suggested that California study how the storage fields will fit into a decarbonized economy. It suggested, for […]

Choice Program & Utility Reps Inch Towards Exit Fee Deal

17 Jan

Utilities and community choice aggregators this week worked to find common ground on transferring utility power portfolios to community choice programs and direct access providers to replace exit fees imposed on the non-utility organizations by the California Public Utilities Commission. The parties outlined their alternatives during a Jan. 16-17 CPUC workshop held as part of […]

Undercurrents

16 Jan

The world’s energy supply increasingly is being dominated by solar and wind technologies, the International Energy Agency told U.S. lawmakers. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, told the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Jan. 16 that by 2040 renewable technologies will produce 40 percent of the world’s electricity. Solar will dominate the march of […]

CPUC Approves $241M Diablo Nuclear Plant Closure

11 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 11 unanimously approved a decision significantly reducing the proposed amount Pacific Gas & Electric ratepayers are to pay to shut the 2,240 MW Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant along the Central Coast by 2025. “This moves California away from the era of nuclear power toward zero carbon renewable energy,” said […]

CPUC Okays 15 Utility Transportation Electrification Projects

11 Jan

Regulators gave the state’s three biggest electric utilities the green light Jan. 11 to spend $42.8 million on projects aimed at bolstering electric transportation. Under the unanimously-approved decision by the California Public Utilities Commission, a majority of the money will go toward projects that promote electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, according to Commissioner Carla […]

Shorts

10 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 11 approved spending $555 million for the Electric Program Investment Charge program from 2018-2020. This ongoing program run by the California Energy Commission continues funding of alternative and emerging energy resource research and development, technology pilots and market facilitation.  The EPIC funds, collected from investor-owned utility ratepayers, are to […]

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, […]

Vote to Expand CPUC Resource Adequacy Delayed

3 Jan

State energy regulators plan to vote on a controversial proposal to require new and expanding community choice aggregators to meet their resource adequacy rules before serving customers was postponed. The California Public Utilities Commission planned to vote Jan. 11 on whether to expand its supply cushion rules, which would freeze the launch of emerging community […]