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Storage Rebates Shift to Communities in High Fire Areas

16 Jan

In the latest after-effect of the preemptive blackouts that Northern Californians suffered through last Fall, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Jan. 16 to accelerate rebates for energy storage systems in fire-stressed communities. The rebates will prioritize places like grocery stores, corner stores, independent living centers, food banks and other places where people spontaneously […]

Senate Energy Panel Okays Outage Penalties, Rejects Big Hydro as Renewable

15 Jan

Legislation that would impose fines on utilities for unreasonable power outages and require them to compensate businesses and other customers harmed by blackouts passed the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee Jan. 15. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) authored SB 378 because private utility “financial incentives err on the side of blackouts.” Weiner accused utilities […]

The Buzz

9 Jan

The start of the New Year brings bold federal and state clean energy and equity measures. It also brings closer a looming deadline for Pacific Gas & Electric. There is a huge push to get PG&E out of bankruptcy by the end of June. Meeting that deadline will allow it to access the multi-billion dollar […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends

7 Jan

Top ticket energy issues in the Golden State this coming year include energy storage, transportation electrification and microgrids. Other key matters are the growing roles of community energy and natural gas bans. The rise in renewable energy and decarbonization efforts in California are the key drivers behind these market transformations. Simultaneously, these efforts to green […]

CPUC Okays Utilities 2020 Ratemaking

19 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 19 unanimously authorized the four investor-owned utilities’ long-term debt and preferred and common equity percentages as part of the test year 2020 ratemaking capital structures. Regulators approved only some of the requested rate of return increases. “The financial stability of the utilities is vital,” said CPUC Chair Marybel Batjer. […]

Most Californians Want PG&E Restructured

10 Dec

There is substantial support among California voters for changing Pacific Gas & Electric’s ownership structure, according to poll results released Dec. 10. “A large majority of California registered voters favor changing the way the state’s largest public utility, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, operates,” said Mark DiCamillo, University of California at Berkeley Institute for […]

PG&E Says It’s Settled All Fire Claims

9 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric late last week resolved the last of the major wildfire claims against it, potentially clearing the way for it to finalize a bankruptcy reorganization plan. PG&E on Dec. 6 agreed to a $13.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims. Under the deal with the Official Committee of Tort Claimants and firms representing […]

JUICE: Microgrids Provide Power During Wildfires & Other Emergencies

5 Dec

The head of Pacific Gas & Electric, Bill Johnson, warned that public safety power outages may continue for a decade in areas facing high wildfire risk. It’s been estimated that the power shutoffs in Northern and Central California could cost the state economy about $2 billion. Those impacted are frustrated and so too are policymakers […]

PG&E Update: CPUC Division Finds Utility Equipment Inspections Shoddy

3 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission’s Safety & Enforcement Division found that a faulty hook on a Pacific Gas & Electric transmission tower, which initially sparked the 2018 Camp Fire, was a known hazard. The fire burned down the City of Paradise. The safety division also found the worn tower that started the Camp Fire was […]

Pot Farms Burn the Midnight Oil, CEC Finds

2 Dec

Cannabis cultivation is and will continue to drive up electricity consumption in California. It is expected to add 1,600 GWh of new load over the next decade, according to the California Energy Commission. Demand from pot growth, largely energy-intensive indoor cultivation, is estimated to increase energy use in Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California […]

The Buzz

21 Nov

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the California ISO’s energy storage compliance filing. It also again rejects on a 2-1 vote climate analyses of liquefied natural gas export projects. A U.S. Senate panel calls for the full Senate to approve the Republican FERC nominee. The silence remains deafening on the fate of the Democrats pick, […]

Senators Object to Utility Safety Outages

19 Nov

Shortly after Pacific Gas & Electric warned it may cut off power to about 800,000 people later this week in the face of a red flag wind advisory, lawmakers focused on ways to curb the number, duration and impact of utility power shutoffs. PG&E warned the morning of Nov. 18 that customers in some 22 […]

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 […]