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CAISO Okays Generator Revenue & Transmission Congestion Improvements

22 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted significant reforms to its wholesale power market March 22 to bolster revenues for natural gas power plant generators and curtail speculative profits stemming from transmission congestion. In a decision that will change the way gas generators offer their power in the California Independent System Operator’s market, the operator’s board adopted […]

PG&E Balking at BioEnergy Order Riles Regulators

22 Mar

Two state energy regulators took Pacific Gas & Electric to task for stating it would not comply with the California Public Utilities Commission’s resolution directing it to contract with biomass projects fueled by dead and dying trees. “It is not up to PG&E to decide whether it will or won’t comply with our order,” Commissioner […]

CEC Funds Biomass Project in Mariposa County

21 Mar

Mariposa County will become the site of a small biomass-fed power plant that will add 2.4 MW of local generation capacity to the area and help facilitate removal of dead pine trees. The huge numbers of dead trees in the area create a fire hazard and threaten to fall into homes. The Commission also provided […]

CA Energy Utilities Short Customers on Digital Experience

21 Mar

Energy utilities in general are lagging behind other business sectors in offering their customers effective digital interfaces on the internet, according to a ranking by J.D. Power released March 21. California utilities are near the bottom of the industry. “Consumers have grown accustomed to receiving up-to-the-minute alerts on the status of at-home deliveries and being […]

Bill Backfills Diablo Nuke Employee Incentives & San Luis Obispo Revenue

19 Mar

Legislation would restore $215 million for employee retention and community mitigation cut by state regulators from a proposed agreement on the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Sen. Bill Monning (R-Carmel) March 16 followed through on his pledge to fully reinstate ratepayer funding for those proposed terms for shutting down the […]

Opinionated: The Long & Winding Road to End Nuclear Power in California

19 Mar

By The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility The end of commercial nuclear power in California approaches, a little more than half a century after it began. Of all the promises and boasts made by the early proponents of nuclear energy, their claim of “too cheap to meter” would eventually prove to be its undoing—at least here […]

JUICE: The Scales of Politics

7 Mar

Last week, numerous cities and regions with formed and forming community energy programs protested the investor-owned utilities’ plea to the California Public Utilities Commission to let them use ratepayer funds to lobby against public power supply organizations. The Feb. 1 petition by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric […]

The Buzz

2 Mar

Tin ears are prevalent this week. During the U.S. EPA’s public “listening session” in San Francisco mid-week on the agency’s plan to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board head, questions agency officials’ hearing ability. The decibels in the room increase with the long line of speakers blasting the proposed repeal […]

PG&E, Edison & SDG&E Earnings Slump

27 Feb

The state’s investor-owned utilities and their parent companies saw lower earnings in the final quarter of last year, including because of the wildfires, regulatory decisions and the 2017 tax law. Executives warned that liability for the wildfires is expected to worsen the companies’ financial health. Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and Sempra Energy all reported […]

PG&E Corp. Awards Hefty Stock Options to Top Brass

27 Feb

The same day California legislators publicly warned about the financial threat of wildfires to the utilities’ bottom lines, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. announced it was paying out more than $17 million in stock incentives to its corporate and utility officers this year. Payouts to six top officers in the company, which are part of […]

Lawmakers Fear Utility Bankruptcies

27 Feb

State legislators voiced angst about the potential for utility bankruptcies Feb. 26 during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing on the impact of recent wildfires on the power industry. Recent credit rating actions by Standard & Poor’s for Pacific Gas & Electric—and even on a major solar project that feeds power to the utility […]

CPUC Proposes Multi-Year Resource Adequacy Requirement

22 Feb

Facing growing concerns about the cost of assuring resource adequacy for the state’s electric grid, the California Public Utilities Commission rolled out a plan to establish a multi-year capacity procurement obligation, which it debuted at a meeting Feb. 22. The proposal comes against the backdrop of the grid operator recently resorting to reliability must-run contracts […]

Climate Roundup: First Joint Carbon Auction With Ontario Slated

20 Feb

California and Quebec Province on Feb. 21 will hold their first joint greenhouse gas emissions allowance auction with Ontario Province. More than a million allowances are to be auctioned off at a minimum bid price of $14.53 apiece. Ontario officially linked its new carbon cap-and-trade program with California’s and Quebec’s at the beginning of this […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]


1 Feb

Community choice advocates are planning to protest Feb. 8, just before  the California Public Utilities Commission’s voting meeting,  in hopes of derailing a fast track resolution they say would effectively freeze choice program formations for two years. Their ire is aimed at CPUC President Mike Picker, who they claim is trying to railroad through a […]

CAISO Pitches RMR Changes to Improve Playing Field

31 Jan

The grid operator is proposing to add must offer obligations to its reliability must run mechanism to ameliorate protests over the deals it signed last year. During a Jan. 30 stakeholder meeting, California Independent System Operator staff proposed revising its controversial RMR contracting mechanism to put contracts on par with utility resource adequacy agreements. Utilities […]

New State & PG&E Initiatives Aim to Advance Electric Transportation

29 Jan

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed spending $2.5 billion over the next eight years to increase the sales of zero emissions vehicles in California. The governor on Jan. 26 also issued an executive order setting a new target of getting 5 million zero emissions vehicles on the state’s roads by 2030. “This executive order aims to curb […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

Bill May Increase Diablo Closure Costs

17 Jan

Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) plans to introduce legislation to restore all or part of the $85 million in proposed mitigation funds for San Luis Obispo area communities that the California Public Utilities Commission excluded in its Jan. 11 closure decision for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Monning has not yet determined the amount or the […]

Choice Program & Utility Reps Inch Towards Exit Fee Deal

17 Jan

Utilities and community choice aggregators this week worked to find common ground on transferring utility power portfolios to community choice programs and direct access providers to replace exit fees imposed on the non-utility organizations by the California Public Utilities Commission. The parties outlined their alternatives during a Jan. 16-17 CPUC workshop held as part of […]