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Hearing on PG&E Takeover Bill Delayed

28 May

A key vote on dramatic legislation allowing the state to turn Pacific Gas & Electric into a state-owned, non-profit power agency was postponed May 28. Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said the author asked for more time to work out the provisions of SB 350, creating Golden State Energy. SB 350’s […]

Bill Prohibiting ICE to Access Utility Bills Passes

28 May

During its first public hearing since mid-March, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee heard and approved one bill May 28.. The measure would prohibit utilities from giving customer consumption data to immigration officials without formal court approval. “Customers need to feel safe at home,” said Assemblyperson Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), who authored AB 2788. The […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

Shutoffs, Microgrids & Digital Divide are the Focus of Passed Bills

27 May

Legislation to mitigate power shutoff impacts, and bolster microgrid installations to keep power flowing during and after fires, were passed by masked members of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee May 26. Also included in the small stack of bills approved at the Committee’s first public hearing since issuance of the stay-at-home orders are […]

JUICE: Doubts about PG&E Promise to Exit Bankruptcy Sans Rate Hike

26 May

Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion borrowing plan to exit bankruptcy is required to be rate neutral. Ratepayers are not supposed to pay an extra dime for the Chapter 11 proceedings under the law creating a $21 billion wildfire fund, AB 1054. Protecting ratepayers from paying for this second bankruptcy, which roughly doubles PG&E’s debt, […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

Rule Violation Forces CPUC to Delay Key Vote on PG&E Bankruptcy

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission postponed the vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion financial plan to exit bankruptcy, citing an improper ex parte communication conducted during the quiet period. CPUC President Marybel Batjer announced the postponement May 21. Will Abrams, who has taken a lead role among fire victims, notified CPUC stakeholders of […]

News Roundup: ARB Sues Fed Over Clean Car Waiver, PG&E Signs 423 MW of Storage Deals

19 May

The California Air Resources Board has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for failing to provide a rationale for blocking its emission standards for cars and light trucks that are stricter than the federal ones. The suit, unlike others over the Clean Air Act waiver authority, is based on […]

PG&E Wildfire Victims Back $13.5B Deal, CPUC Set to Approve Reorg Plan

19 May

Updated May 21 Most of the tens of thousands of victims of fires in 2015, 2017 and 2018 that were sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to the company’s pending $13.5 billion cash and stock settlement. PG&E said May 18 that there has been “overwhelming acceptance of the plan” by the surviving victims—those who […]

The Buzz

14 May

The massive hole in the upcoming state budget caused by the pandemic does not keep Gov. Gavin Newsom from adding funds to protect against wildfires and its fallout.  It is another story for climate protection, however. Covid-19 also is responsible for destroying huge numbers of jobs in energy efficiency, renewables and other alternative energy sectors […]

CA Budget Plan Adds Funds for Fire Protection but Subtracts for Climate

14 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest spending blueprint for 2020 to 2021 increases funding for wildfire prevention and safeguards funds for reducing the impacts of power shutoffs despite a $54 billion deficit created by the pandemic. The bad news on the climate front is that the latest proposal eliminates the five-year $4.75 billion Climate Resiliency Bond slated […]

Juice: Brass Knuckles

12 May

Metal fighting devices placed on a person’s knuckles “concentrate a punch’s force by directing it toward a harder and smaller contact area,” increasing the harm to the intended target, according to Wikipedia. The Trump Administration has popularized the use of the functional equivalent of these thuggish fighting tools. They also appear back in fashion at […]

The Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

Utility Safety Plans Riddled with Deficiencies, Wildfire Safety Division Says

7 May

California Public Utilities Commission staff detailed numerous gaps in how the three investor-owned utilities plan to address wildfires this year in draft findings released May 7. The proposed resolution by the Commission’s Wildfire Safety Division found the plans of the major electrical utilities “provide no discussion of how the chosen portfolio of initiatives will allow […]

PG&E Hit with $1.94B Penalty for Wildfires

7 May

State regulators voted unanimously May 7 to have Pacific Gas & Electric’s shareholders pay $1.937 billion for 15 fires utility equipment sparked in 2017 and 2018. It is the largest California Public Utilities Commission fine to date. The penalty is higher than a proposed settlement reached by PG&E and regulatory safety staff. It is lower […]

Home Excess Energy Use Charge Tamped Down

7 May

To help decrease bills for residents spending all day in their homes, energy regulators voted to lower the financial penalty for excess energy use typically charged by the investor-owned utilities. The reduction is to “make sure residential bills remain manageable during this crisis,” California Public Utilities Commission member Genevieve Shiroma said May 7. The move […]

Edison Inks 770MW of New Energy Storage Deals

5 May

Southern California Edison signed seven long-term contracts for big battery projects, five co-located at utility-scale solar plants. The storage capacity is to range from 230 MW to 50 MW, with up to four hours of output. All the deals entail lithium ion batteries that are set to come online in August 2021. The five battery […]

Earnings Rise for PG&E & Sempra; Decline for Edison

4 May

Utility parent companies Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. and Sempra Energy reported higher earnings for the first quarter of the year. Edison International’s earnings went south. All the subsidiary utilities reaped higher revenue in their rate cases and from wildfire funding. The companies are seeing lower income from utility bill collections because of the pandemic. […]

Report: Mandates Fuel Cheaper Cleaner Grid

4 May

Years of mandates under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard continue to lower the cost of non-fossil fueled electricity. The RPS requires that 44% of utility, community energy and other electricity supplier resources come from solar, wind, geothermal or other eligible resources by 2024, rising to 52% in 2027 and 60% in 2030. “The average price of […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]