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JUICE: Is Three the Charm for CA Energy Czar?

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom had to address the public outrage over Pacific Gas & Electric twice cutting off power to unprecedented numbers of people in the face of high fire danger, sparking wildfires and seeking protection in bankruptcy court in the face of massive fire liability. But if history is any indication, his recent appointment of […]

Newsom Names Energy Czar

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom Nov. 1 appointed California’s third energy czar in the 21st century to address the current energy crisis driven by utility wildfire liability and threats. The appointee is Newsom’s Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos. She also served under the Brown and Schwarzenegger gubernatorial administrations. Czarina Matosantos is specifically tasked with ensuring Pacific Gas & […]

SCE Wants Ratepayers to Cover Rising Fire Insurance Cost

29 Oct

A California Public Utilities Commission Administrative law judge Oct. 29 opened a proceeding to determine if Southern California Edison can roll a $505 million increase into its rates stemming from the rising cost of utility wildfire insurance. Edison, according to its attorneys, needs the $505 million to cover “incremental wildfire insurance” for the period between […]

Shorts

29 Oct

Updated Oct. 31. Southern California Edison will take the heat Nov. 13 in Fontana over public power safety shutoffs at a community meeting being organized by the city of Fontana in San Bernardino County just below the Cajon Pass. “Fontana is the windiest city in California,” said Mayor Acquanetta Warren. “We cannot have power outages […]

Newsom Pledges CPUC Action on PG&E Reimbursements

28 Oct

With more public safety power shutoffs in the offing, Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 28 doubled down on Pacific Gas & Electric. He pledged “forceful” action by the California Public Utilities Commission to get the utility to reimburse customers for losses due to shutoffs. He further reiterated that his office will work with bidders toward a […]

Utility Wildfire Incident Reports Mount Despite Power Shutoffs

28 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric notified the California Public Utilities Commission in the early evening of Oct. 27 that one of its power poles with a transformer on top had fallen in Lafayette where a wildfire prompted an evacuation of nearby residents. PG&E reported to the CPUC that the Contra Costa Fire Department was “looking at […]

The Buzz

24 Oct

Shutoffs and more shutoffs more shutoffs this week because of dangerous winds and fires. Pacific Gas & Electric reports a transmission tower with broken jumper near the latest Sonoma fire. In the midst of blazes, major fire risks and public outrage over outages, regulators approve collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a legislatively mandated wildfire […]

More Shutoffs Expected, PG&E Reports Tower Trouble in Fire Zone

24 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric began shutting off power to about 180,000 customers mid-week before hot, dry winds began blowing in parts of 17 counties in Northern and Central California. Strong gusts that started in the early hours of Oct. 24 caused a small fire in Geyserville in Sonoma County to grow to more than 10,000 […]

CPUC Approves Ratepayers Paying $10.5 B into Wildfire Fund

24 Oct

A wind-driven blaze that grew from 300 to 10,000 acres overnight in Sonoma County was the background for the California Public Utilities Commission’s Oct. 24 meeting. During the meeting held in Redding, regulators unanimously approved collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a $21 billion utility wildfire fund. Southern California also was experiencing weather driven […]

JUICE: Piecing Together the Outage News Puzzles

22 Oct

I live in Alameda County in Northern California, while my co-editor Bill Kelly lives in Los Angeles County. This allows us to compare and contrast news coverage and public responses to energy happenings in our regions. Of late, we’ve focused on the fires and outages caused by the incumbent investor-owned utilities in our parts of […]

San Jose Mulls Taking Over PG&E Wires

22 Oct

San Jose’s new community choice aggregator is following in the footsteps of San Francisco CleanPower by also trying to buy out Pacific Gas & Electric’s equipment in its territory. “There is no formal offer at this time,” said San Jose Clean Energy analyst Jared Sherwood. However, the mayor is interested in exploring a purchase. Last […]

PG&E on Hot Seat over Massive Shutoff’s Costs

21 Oct

During an emergency meeting, state energy regulators and others did not mince words when criticizing Pacific Gas & Electric for the safety, health and financial impacts of its unprecedented Northern California power shutoff in the face of wildfire risks. “You guys failed on so many levels,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, told PG&E […]

Real Time Pricing Gets Yellow Light

16 Oct

Energy utility regulators Oct. 15 weighed various proposals for potentially expanding dynamic and real time power pricing. The day-long California Public Utilities Commission meeting focused  on various dynamic and real time pricing programs San Diego Gas & Electric has tested through the years. The limited programs have tested whether variable pricing can  hone the energy […]

Newsom Seeks PG&E Rebates to Blacked Out Customers

14 Oct

Updated Oct. 15. Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 14 directed the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of Pacific Gas & Electric’s handling of the massive power shutoff last week aimed at preventing its equipment from sparking wildfires. Newsom also told the utility it should issue rebates of $100 to affected residential customers […]

Newsom Acts on Last Round of Energy Bills

14 Oct

California may soon have smart appliances that can be automatically turned off and on by energy companies to match their electricity use with power availability and price under a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. “SB 49 will help bring California’s electrical grid into the 21st century and allow us to use our […]

The Buzz

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s handling of its unprecedented power shutoffs to more than 700,000 has customers and regulators up in arms. PG&E also doesn’t get a warm reception in bankruptcy court. The judge rejects its effort to again have him ignore a competing plan to reorganize PG&E’s massive debts. Over at the California Public Utilities […]

PG&E Blasted for Historic Power Shutoffs

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s largest precautionary power outage in California in response to wildfire threats has outraged policy makers and customers. PG&E’s response “has been absolutely unacceptable” to communities, “to individual people, to the commerce of our state and the safety of our people,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said Oct. 10. “This […]

Private Utilities Reap $26M in Efficiency Awards

10 Oct

In spite of mixed emotions, state energy regulators Oct. 10 unanimously approved $26 million in energy efficiency awards to the state’s four private electric and gas utilities. California Public Utilities Commission member Liane Randolph said that the approved resolution allowing the awards highlights troubling areas. The effectiveness of the CPUC’s whole performance incentive structure, therefore, […]

CPUC Faces Opposition to Protecting Gas Plants

10 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission was met a by a string of protesters Oct. 10 who objected to the commission’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan to extend the life of aging gas plants. Considering adding three years to the life of seawater-cooled gas power plants, predominantly along the Southern California coast, pays “little regard to the […]

High Court Won’t Hear SDG&E’s Strict Liability Challenge

7 Oct

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear San Diego Gas & Electric’s argument that California regulators’ refusal to have ratepayers pay $379 million of the utility’s 2007 wildfire costs violated the Constitutional ban on unlawful takings. The utility said Oct. 7 it was “disappointed” that the High Court rejected its petition regarding its Wildfire Expense […]