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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 […]

CPUC Works to Open Its Door Wide to the Public

8 Nov

State energy regulators are striving to make their complex energy, water and telecommunication proceedings more user friendly. The California Public Utilities Commission launched a series of pilot projects earlier this year to get a better feel for how to increase public participation in the commission’s meetings and workshops. Key barriers to greater public participation include […]

As New Governor Steps In, CPUC’s Peterman Steps Out

7 Nov

California’s Governor-elect Gavin Newsom will be able to appoint a new member to the California Public Utilities Commission in the new year. He also has the authority to name a new commission president. Energy regulator Carla Peterman will be leaving her post when her term expires at the end of this year. “I’m not seeking […]

CPUC Aims for More Social Equity

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission advanced its Draft Environmental & Social Justice Plan, which seeks to serve as a path for incorporating social equity in its programs and policies. The plan, released Nov. 2, outlines the commission’s “vision” for making sure that disadvantaged communities up and down the state have “meaningful participation” in commission proceedings […]

CA Set to Meet 2020 Renewable Standard

1 Nov

California is on target to meet that state’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard, according to a California Public Utilities Commission report to the Legislature on Nov. 1. However, community choice aggregators and direct access providers will have to pick up their pace in procuring renewable energy. “California continues on its path to a 100 percent […]

Just 25% of Required Utility Storage is Online

1 Nov

Only one-fourth of the 1,325 MW of energy storage investor-owned utilities are required to have in place in little more than two years is currently operational, according the California Public Utilities Commission. The utilities have lined up a total 1,650 MW of storage deals and 1,047 MW worth of those projects have been approved. Currently, […]

Revised PCIA Won’t Slow San Diego Community Choice

31 Oct

Higher exit fees payable to investor-owned utilities authorized last month by regulators are apparently no showstopper to community choice aggregation in San Diego. Neither the city, nor San Diego Gas & Electric take issue with the level of fee increases the California Public Utilities Commission is requiring community choice aggregators to pay to utilities. Initially, […]

JUICE: Like Water for Electricity

30 Oct

California regulators and friends continue to claim that the surge in community energy and shrinkage of private utility customers in California creates conditions similar to those that led to the energy crisis after the 1996 deregulation law. “We will be right back where we were 22 years ago if we don’t get it right,” said […]

CPUC Backs Improvements to EPIC R&D Program

25 Oct

State energy regulators unanimously approved measures Oct. 25 to improve a half billion dollar three-year spending plan to advance new and emerging clean energy technologies. The California Public Utilities earlier approved $550 million of ratepayer funding for 2018-20 cycle of the Electric Program Investment Charge. The charge funds research and development projects carried out by […]