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The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]

News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

Bankruptcy May be the Excuse for Expedited Rate Recovery of PG&E’s 2019 Fire Costs

2 Apr

The pandemic and the fast approaching wildfire season increases the urgency of getting Pacific Gas & Electric out of bankruptcy by June 30, California Public Utilities Commission Marybel Batjer said. “We want to clear the regulatory landscape for PG&E’s exit from Chapter 11” to allow it to access the legislatively created $20 billion wildfire fund. […]

Montali Rejects Suit Seeking Damages for Utility Shutoffs

1 Apr

A victim of the five power shutoffs during wind storms late last year unsuccessfully sought to bring a class action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric for associated damage from the loss of electricity. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali dismissed the $2.5 billion claim on grounds that the California Public Utilities Commission sets shutoff guidelines […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

CPUC Okays $213M in Building Decarb Projects & Outreach

26 Mar

State energy regulators approved March 26 allocating $200 million over four years to support two building decarbonization programs. The decision is “sensible, bold and pragmatic,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. He noted it addresses California’s over-reliance on gas-powered heaters and appliances. Of the state’s total natural gas consumption, 12% is used by […]

CAISO Approves $142M in New Transmission, Sees Decline in Load

26 Mar

Demand on the California grid has dropped by 5% since state residents were instructed to stay in their homes to slow the pace of the coronavirus, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during the March 25 board meeting. During its first totally telephonic business meeting mid-week, the board of […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

Shorts

24 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission and Independent System Operator are holding meetings this week. CAISO’s is holding the public portion of its board meeting remotely March 25, from 2:00 PM-5:00 PM. The agenda includes decisions on reliability must run contracts and its 2019-20 transmission plan. The CPUC business meeting is being held remotely March 26. […]

PG&E Pleads Guilty to Criminal Counts in Camp Fire, Fights $2.1B Penalty

23 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one of illegally starting the devastating 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, according to its March 23 Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The company agreed to pay $3.5 million in fines, as well as $500 million for the Butte […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

State and Federal Meeting Updates during Covid-19 Pandemic

16 Mar

Updated Friday. Changes in italics. The following are the latest changes to previously scheduled meetings, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order limiting the number of people at gatherings, and local agency dictates. The California Public Utilities Commission cancelled all its public hearings on increasing electric rates pursuant to Phase One of Southern California […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Agencies Get More Serious About COVID-19

12 Mar

What a difference a few days makes. Regulatory agencies are now aligned in their concern over the coronavirus, a week after the state grid operator announced it was discontinuing its in-person meetings and interactions to minimize the spread of the  disease. The California Public Utilities Commission held its March 12 business meeting as usual but […]

CPUC Reaffirms its Authority over Diablo Costs, is Silent on Early Closure

12 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission approved without comment calls for scrutinizing the high costs of keeping the 2,200 MW Diablo Nuclear Power Plant online. The decision by Administrative Law Judge Peter Allen, backed unanimously March 12, does not address the implicit call by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s petition for a plant closure before 2025 […]

Open Energy Meetings & COVID-19

10 Mar

State and federal agencies and organizations do not see eye to eye on the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Most cautious so far is the grid operator. Last week, the California Independent System Operator announced it was switching all of its in-person gatherings, including Board of Governors, Western Energy Imbalance Market and Market Surveillance […]

Monterey to Accept Diablo Nuke Power, Some CCAs Remain Undecided

10 Mar

Updated March 11 When state regulators unanimously adopted a 50% hike in the exit fee imposed on a group of community choice aggregators in Pacific Gas & Electric territory last month, it revealed how much they are paying for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. It is one-third of this year’s Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]