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The Buzz

7 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago. Bankrupt PG&E’s plan stands out. That includes […]

So Cal Utilities File Wildfire Risk Reduction Plans

7 Feb

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric submitted new proposals for beefing up safety measures to the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 6. Pacific Gas & Electric also filed its wildfire safety plan the same afternoon. The measures in the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Plans range from significantly increasing inspections of lines and other […]

PG&E Files Wildfire Safety Plan, Warns Bankruptcy Could Interfere

7 Feb

The private utilities Feb. 6 filed their mandated plans for reducing wildfire threats from electric equipment. The plans filed by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric at the California Public Utilities Commission are required under last year’s wildfire risk reduction legislation, SB 901. Much of the focus is […]

PG&E’S 2018 Lobbying Budget Soared

6 Feb

In the midst of the intense legislative maneuverings last summer, Pacific Gas & Electric spent more than $6 million on lobbying lawmakers and another $168,000 pushing its agenda at the California Public Utilities Commission. The utility spent the money during the third quarter of 2018, according to the utility’s Secretary of State filings. For all […]

Juice: Can CCAs Build a Resilient Energy System?

5 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy is forcing California energy policymakers to grapple with the future of the energy utility business model. PG&E’s massive $30 billion liability for wildfires has led the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate how the utility might be broken up into smaller units that could avoid electric lines sparking fires and […]

CPUC Prohibits SoCal Gas from Keeping $1B+ in Cap-Trade Money

31 Jan

At its end of the month business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission forbade Southern California Gas from redirecting $1.21 billion generated by greenhouse gas cap-and trade revenue away from its natural gas ratepayers to cover utility administrative costs. The five commissioners, including the newest member, Genevieve Shiroma, directed the gas utility Jan. 31 to […]

SCE Gets Green Light to Recover $1B in Power Costs

31 Jan

Southern California Edison area electric customers will see a 5 percent increase in their bills this year due to the utility’s under collection of money to pay for energy bought in 2018. The California Public Utilities Commission authorized the utility Jan. 31 to collect an extra $983.8 million from those it distributes power to this […]

CPUC Takes Heat for Poor Utility Ratings & Safety

31 Jan

State lawmakers Jan. 30 grilled the head state energy utility regulator over what his agency was doing to bolster utility ratings and reduce wildfire risks during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing. Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) warned California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker that the investor-owned utilities may become “un-investible” because of […]

Coalition Calls for Ending Natural Gas Use in Buildings

29 Jan

California energy regulators need to substantially revise their policies to make sure buildings become part of the solution to meeting the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas reductions goals instead of a roadblock, according to a series of white papers issued Jan. 29 by the Building Decarbonization Coalition. The key, according to the group, is to eliminate […]

Undercurrents: EIM Governance Changes

28 Jan

Updated Jan. 31. The Energy Imbalance Market’s Governing Body late last week began discussing potential changes to its governance structure. Specifically, the grid operator wants the EIM Governing Body to assume primary authority for “changes to generally applicable rules of the real-time market if the primary driver for the change is EIM,” according to a […]

Undercurrents: Drawing the Unaffordable vs. Affordable Rate Line

22 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission took its first step towards getting its arms around the cumulative impacts of its decisions on financially struggling ratepayers. “There is a lot of stake in this proceeding,” said Cliff Rechtschaffen, presiding commissioner, during the Jan. 22 CPUC workshop. He said at issue are the safety, reliability and affordability of […]

State Regulators Scrutinize Surging So Cal Energy Prices

16 Jan

Southern Californians are paying more for natural gas and electricity due to the aging and failing natural gas supply system run by SoCal Gas. Due to limited capacity to deliver gas to homes, businesses, and power generators, the price of gas in Southern California was 134 percent higher during the months of July through September […]

JUICE: PG&E’s Past Bankruptcy as Prologue

14 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric is heading to bankruptcy court again to deal with overwhelming financial and legal liability. The liability it’s facing from the massive wildfires in 2017 and 2018 dwarfs the debt it struggled with during 2000-01 energy crisis when it faced huge spikes in merchant generator and wholesale power prices. And, unlike during […]

Newsom Proposes Tempered Energy & Climate Change Spending

14 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first state budget proposal would make cuts from last year’s record spending on some energy-related programs, but overall would maintain funding for energy agency operations and staffing, even providing for some small staffing increases. Unlike former Gov. Jerry Brown, who heavily featured climate change expenditures in his annual budget messages, Newsom focused […]

The Buzz

10 Jan

State energy regulators unanimously move to begin developing a framework for determining how much of private utilities’ fire liability costs should be paid by ratepayers. The vote comes amidst ongoing protests by those outraged by the death and destruction caused by wildfires both sparked and possibly sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric. The California Public […]

CPUC Votes 4-0 for Controversial Wildfire Liability Rulemaking

10 Jan

After a long line of outraged protesters objected to a perceived bailout of Pacific Gas & Electric for recent devastating wildfires, energy regulators unanimously approved setting ground rules to allow private utilities to recover costs arising from wildfires their equipment sparked in 2017. The rulemaking pursuant to legislation enacted beginning of this year, SB 901, […]

CPUC Approves $50 Million Energy Efficiency Program Renewal

10 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 10 voted 4-0 for a $52 million extension of the contract with the company that implements the utilities’ marketing and outreach portion of Energy Upgrade California. The program provides small businesses and homeowners with information tools and contacts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and offices. It […]

CPUC Launches Rulemaking to Protect Grid & Backs Edison Cost Recovery

10 Jan

The state energy commissioners this week adopted a new rulemaking to reduce physical risks to utility equipment, including the shooting up utility transmission towers and other acts of human sabotage to infrastructure. It directs the utilities to identify at-risk facilities. It also orders them to implement a six-step mitigation plan developed by the North America […]

CPUC Looks at De-energization Fault Lines

9 Jan

To reduce the impacts of shutting off power lines because of wildfire threats, utility and county and state safety and enforcement officials discussed the weak links in the current de-energization process during a California Public Utilities Commission workshop in Calabasas on Jan. 9. The biggest problems cited were inadequate utility notifications and problematic communications with […]

Clean Power Alliance to Enter Major Power Deals

8 Jan

The Clean Power Alliance in Southern California, which soon will become the state’s largest community choice aggregation program, is in the process of developing power purchase agreements for up to 2 million MWh a year of power to serve its growing customer base. After rolling out service to more than 31,000 customers last year, next […]