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Undercurrents: Public Takeover of PG&E May Solve Little, Says CAISO Board Member

12 Nov

Updated Nov. 14. California Independent System Operator Board Member Severin Borenstein is warning that turning Pacific Gas & Electric into a cooperative or a publicly owned utility won’t necessarily be “the silver bullet that creates a more efficient, reliable, and safety-oriented electricity provider for Northern California.” Instead, he opined earlier this week, “it would at […]

CPUC Beefs up Capacity Mandate, Seeks Extended Life for Coastal Plants

7 Nov

After acknowledging the death and destruction wrought by the Camp Fire on the eve its first anniversary, state energy regulators unanimously approved requiring utilities, community energy and direct access providers to line up 3,300 MW of additional energy reserves. The California Public Utilities Commission also agreed during its Nov. 7 meeting to urge the State […]

Sempra’s Earnings Jump, Edison’s Fall

6 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities in the southern half of the state reported solid earnings, with those of San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas rising significantly. Southern California Edison’s margin dropped, however. Pacific Gas & Electric, with little notice, reported its third quarter net income Nov. 7. Edison International: the utility’s corporate parent saw its net […]

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 […]

Comparing PG&E & SCE Safety Outages

22 Oct

The state’s two largest investor-owned utilities warned about potential power shutoffs in the face of dry and windy conditions due mid-week. Who ends up getting their power shutoff in Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison territory is a moving target. It is largely driven by variable weather conditions, but also by the nature […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Proposed $65M Fine for PG&E’s Bogus Records Gets Slammed

7 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to pay a $65 million fine for falsifying records on the locations of its underground gas and electric pipelines, impacting the safety of excavators in and outside the company. The penalty also is for risks the utility caused by hiding its late responses to excavators’ requests. The Utility Reform Network […]

Shorts

23 Sep

Updated Sept. 26 The electric grid faces growing cybersecurity risks, particularly to industrial control systems that support grid operations, the General Accountability Office warned Sept. 25. “The increasing adoption of high-wattage consumer Internet of Things devices—“smart” devices connected to the internet—and the use of the global positioning system to synchronize grid operations are also vulnerabilities,” […]

The Buzz

19 Sep

Trump’s claim that California’s Clean Air Act waiver is preempted by federal law drives state air regulators to look at other ways to slash climate pollution from the transportation sector. Two Republican federal energy regulators approve a proposal to alter the 40-year old law protecting small renewable projects and co-generation. The dissenting Democratic commissioner says […]

Private Utilities Face Wildfire Mitigation Plan Hurdles

18 Sep

California’s three large investor-owned utilities reported progress implementing their mandated SB 901 wildfire mitigation plans, but the shortage of tree trimmers and composite poles are among the challenges hampering their efforts. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Jonathan Woldemariam, director of wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, said Sept. 17 that the work has been “a humbling […]

Shorts

16 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District joined a suit filed by six other utility companies across the country challenging the Trump Administration’s replacement of the Clean Power Plan. It sought to reduce coal power plant emissions. The utilities are part of a group called the Power Companies Climate Coalition, which filed […]