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The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]

News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

Bankruptcy May be the Excuse for Expedited Rate Recovery of PG&E’s 2019 Fire Costs

2 Apr

The pandemic and the fast approaching wildfire season increases the urgency of getting Pacific Gas & Electric out of bankruptcy by June 30, California Public Utilities Commission Marybel Batjer said. “We want to clear the regulatory landscape for PG&E’s exit from Chapter 11” to allow it to access the legislatively created $20 billion wildfire fund. […]

Examples of Force Majeure Contract Clauses

31 Mar

The first sample is a Force Majeure provision in PG&E’s 2017 Photovoltaic Request for Offer standard contract: It states that Force Majeure “means any event or circumstance which wholly or partly prevents or delays the performance of any material obligation arising under this Agreement, but only if and to the extent (i) such event is […]

JUICE: Major Forces

31 Mar

The COVID-19 contagion is putting center stage provisions in power purchase agreements that often sit in the wings: those governing the responsibilities and liabilities of the contracting parties, and the timing of their obligations, when an unforeseen disaster or Act of God hits. These “force majeure” clauses, which may include pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and war, […]

CPUC Okays $213M in Building Decarb Projects & Outreach

26 Mar

State energy regulators approved March 26 allocating $200 million over four years to support two building decarbonization programs. The decision is “sensible, bold and pragmatic,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. He noted it addresses California’s over-reliance on gas-powered heaters and appliances. Of the state’s total natural gas consumption, 12% is used by […]

Shorts

24 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission and Independent System Operator are holding meetings this week. CAISO’s is holding the public portion of its board meeting remotely March 25, from 2:00 PM-5:00 PM. The agenda includes decisions on reliability must run contracts and its 2019-20 transmission plan. The CPUC business meeting is being held remotely March 26. […]

The Buzz

19 Mar

The pandemic has slowed down solar projects but there is an unprecedented increase in new installed capacity in 2019. This year and future ones may be a different story but solar proponents expect solar capacity to keep rising in and outside California over the long haul. Large intermittent renewable generation paired with storage provides more […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

CPUC Reaffirms its Authority over Diablo Costs, is Silent on Early Closure

12 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission approved without comment calls for scrutinizing the high costs of keeping the 2,200 MW Diablo Nuclear Power Plant online. The decision by Administrative Law Judge Peter Allen, backed unanimously March 12, does not address the implicit call by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s petition for a plant closure before 2025 […]

Monterey to Accept Diablo Nuke Power, Some CCAs Remain Undecided

10 Mar

Updated March 11 When state regulators unanimously adopted a 50% hike in the exit fee imposed on a group of community choice aggregators in Pacific Gas & Electric territory last month, it revealed how much they are paying for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. It is one-third of this year’s Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]

PG&E Faces Unprecedented $2.14B Penalty for Fires

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric was slapped with the largest financial penalty in California Public Utilities Commission history as punishment for the utility’s role in the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 in Northern California. The CPUC Feb. 27 announced its Administrative Law Judge decision that imposes $2.137 billion in penalties against the investor-owned utility. Previously, […]

SoCal Utilities Report Surge in Profit

27 Feb

The parent companies of the investor-owned utilities in Southern California reported rosy 2019 earnings, in contrast to Pacific Gas & Electric. The latter continued to suffer major losses while striving to reorganize and emerge from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison. Sempra Energy is the parent company […]

New PG&E Exit Fee More than Doubles CCAs Tab

27 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 27 unanimously approved big hikes in the exit fees community choice aggregators must pay to Pacific Gas & Electric. The Commission’s 5-0 vote was cast with no discussion. Community choice organizations whose customers left PG&E to join CCA programs in 2017 and 2018 will see roughly 60% increase in […]

PG&E Suffers Big Loss in 2019

24 Feb

PG&E Corp. suffered a larger loss in net income last year than in the previous year. However, its 4th quarter loss for 2019 was about half the size of its 2018 fourth quarter hit. In its latest earnings report, the parent company reported a loss of $7.7 billion, at minus $14.50 a share, for 2019. […]