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PG&E Touts Biggest Ratepayer Bond in U.S. History

24 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric argues that its proposal before utility regulators to issue $7.5 billion in 30-year bonds to be repaid by ratepayers is a good deal for its customers. This low-cost refinancing of shareholder debt to cover utility wildfire costs “will enable PG&E to promptly move $6 billion in debt off its balance sheet,” […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

PG&E’s $7.5B Ratepayer Bond Would Assume Shareholder Debt

10 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking regulatory permission to shift $7.5 billion of its 2017 wildfire costs from shareholders to ratepayers. Ratepayer advocate groups, both large and small, strenuously object on grounds it places an inordinate financial risk on utility customers while providing them little or no benefit. “It is morally reprehensible,” April Rose Maurath […]

Consumer Advocates Push for $255M SoCalGas Penalty

10 Nov

The official advocate for California utility ratepayers says the state should punish Southern California Gas by fining it $255.3 million for illegally using ratepayer money to thwart energy efficiency building codes and appliance standards. “Since at least 2014, SoCalGas has engaged in a concerted effort to undermine the state’s energy efficiency goals related to new […]

The Buzz

6 Nov

Neil Chatterjee, who has served as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair for more than two years, is suddenly replaced. President Trump late Thursday names James Danly the new FERC chief. In blue California, state utility regulators approve Southern California Edison’s plan to issue $337 million in ratepayer-backed bonds to recover the costs of making […]

CPUC Suspends Questionable Shareholder Bonuses

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to halt paying shareholders each year $30-$75 million from ratepayer pockets for unearned energy efficiency savings.  Cal Advocates, the ratepayer advocate at the CPUC, successfully argued there was no evidence that the energy efficiency bonus program has caused the private utilities to prioritize efficiency beyond what is required.  […]

PG&E Admits Flaws in Wildfire Reduction Program

3 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is acknowledging serious deficiencies in a program aimed at removing trees and limbs near utility equipment in high fire threat areas. Responding to criticisms raised last month, the utility agreed with the federal Court Monitor Mark Filip that its operational decisions “must give greater weight to working the riskiest areas first […]

State Regulators Face Solar Dilemma

3 Nov

Monday’s kickoff of California’s long-awaited proceeding to update net energy metering highlighted regulators’ dilemma of how to grow solar resources without shifting system costs to customers who don’t own solar energy projects. Nationally, hopes are high that California’s proceeding will offer breakthrough solutions to the troublesome successor tariff complexities that have emerged in other states […]

Guest Juice: Energy Crisis 2.0: It’s Time to Use Our Smart Meters

2 Nov

The rolling blackouts, according to the Preliminary Report on Causes of August Rotating Outages, were fundamentally caused by a California Independent System Operator software glitch and community choice agencies, utilities and direct access providers collectively under-scheduling customer demand in the Day-Ahead Market by ~7% to 8% on Aug. 14 and 15. Ordinarily the under-scheduling wouldn’t […]

The Buzz

30 Oct

Two California private utility parents report third quarter earnings, one bearing good news and the other far from rosy. Pacific Gas & Electric gets a post-bankruptcy bounce. Edison International goes the opposite direction. SoCalGas gets slammed for its climate damaging activities, from undermining home electrification to suing the state for its clean trucks rule. Sen. […]

Edison’s Earnings Plummet, PG&E’s Shoot Upward

29 Oct

The two largest investor-owned utilities in the state reported starkly divergent earnings for the third quarter, with Edison International pointing to losses due to fire liability amped up by climate change. Pacific Gas & Electric reported gains in the third quarter ending Sept. 30, three months after emerging from bankruptcy. Edison International: Southern California Edison’s […]

SCE May Have Sparked Orange County Blaze

27 Oct

Updated Oct. 30 During the most dangerous fire conditions to hit much of the state this year, Southern California Edison has revealed its equipment could have started the Silverado Fire in Orange County early Monday morning. The fire spread to more than 13,400 acres by early Friday, and was 63% contained. The utility’s Oct. 26 […]

Energy Commission Funds Push for Clean Backup Generation

27 Oct

Repeated wildfires and power shutoffs are driving sales of backup generators at homes, businesses, hospitals, and community centers across northern California. Diesel generators are flying off the shelves. But the desperation also is strengthening the push for clean systems that can island from the grid, also store power, and potentially hasten the commercialization of more […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

CPUC Lets PG&E Recover $447M From Ratepayers for Wildfires

22 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to pass on $447 million of its various wildfire mitigation costs to ratepayers without undergoing a reasonableness review. PG&E will raise residential rates over 17 months, starting this December, by an average $48. CPUC President Marybel Batjer insisted the approval “will […]

More PG&E Safety Shutoffs

22 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric cut off power to about 32,500 customers in nine counties Wednesday evening because of powerful winds. To avoid the potential for its equipment to start wildfires, it initially projected temporarily blacking out 54,000 customers in 19 counties but changing weather conditions reduced the numbers of homes and businesses impacted. PG&E said […]

Recurring Problem Forced Diablo Canyon Nuke Unit Offline

20 Oct

The untimely Oct. 15 shut down of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s Unit 2 is the second malfunction in a critical component of its electric generator, which was just rebuilt. In July, the same Pacific Gas & Electric unit was forced offline because then, as now, the cooling system that lowers the extreme heat inside […]

CPUC Judge Adds Ratepayer Protections to $337M SCE Bond

20 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission pushes back against a controversial proposal by Southern California Edison to put its ratepayers on the hook for $337 million in new debt. The utility plans to raise the money from bondholders to cover its costs of hardening power equipment against fire threats, which will be fully repaid by SCE […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

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