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PG&E Restores Power in Fire Regions Where Possible

17 Oct

The massive fires that led to more than 40 deaths and torched huge swaths of Northern California tripped transmission and distribution lines maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric. Three 230 kV lines, and a 115 kV and one 60 kV line in Sonoma and Napa Counties were shorted out early last week by the Tubbs, […]

The Buzz

13 Oct

Utility regulators approved $30 million for energy storage facility subsidies in disadvantaged communities, mostly for institutional systems. The California Public Utilities Commission’s former chief administrative law judge is preparing to sue the agency in court on claims of a retaliatory firing after blowing the whistle on alleged collusion by the commission staff with Pacific Gas […]

Shorts

11 Oct

Fires raging in wine country continued to cause extensive power and gas outages on Oct. 12, according to a Pacific Gas & Electric spokesperson. Some 39,000 customers were affected in Santa Rosa and another 4,500 in Napa County. Including other counties affected by wildfires, PG&E had a total of 49,000 customers without service in its […]

Energy Bills Signed

3 Oct

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a half dozen energy-related measures into law, including ones to promote energy storage, enhance utility safety, temper utility service disconnections for non-payment, and further reform the California Public Utilities Commission. Brown vetoed one bill that would have dedicated a utility penalty for sparking a wildfire to fire prevention and fighting efforts. […]

CPUC Okays Broader Fixed Charges, Limits Fluctuating Residential Rate Pilots

28 Sep

State regulators unanimously approved expanding the charges that can be included in “fixed” utility rates. “It is not about how big the pie is, but how it’s divided,” said California Public Utilities Commission member Carla Peterman after her decision was approved 5-0 at the agency’s Sept. 28 meeting. She specified that the decision does not […]

Regulators Reject Edison’s Ellwood Plant Deal

28 Sep

After almost three years, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to turn down a planned 10-year contract by Southern California Edison to purchase 54 MW of power from NRG’s natural gas-fired Ellwood power plant in Goleta. Instead, the commission Sept. 28 ordered Edison to “to determine whether any identified need can be met in a […]

Undercurrents: Storage Too Costly for Many Munis

21 Sep

As publicly owned utilities are set to establish their 2020 goals for complying with a state law meant to encourage electricity storage in California, many likely are to again defer storage system purchases. Lawmakers passed AB 2415 in 2010 to get the state’s electric utilities to install systems to store excess renewable energy and use […]

U.S. Senate Panel Aims to Cut Power-Related Wildfires

20 Sep

Western forests are “tinderboxes for wildfire” after the prolonged drought, warned Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) during a Sept. 19 hearing by U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which she chairs, on vegetation management mandates for electricity infrastructure on federal lands. There have been hundreds of wildfires on public lands in the West because of […]

JUICE: Post Mortem

19 Sep

The most significant state energy bills of the year stopped breathing the final week of this legislative session. Legislation to set a 100 percent carbon free-power mandate for California by 2045, with the last 40 percent from large hydro, failed to come up for a vote before the wee hours of Sept. 16, the session’s […]

Cap-&-Trade Spending Plan Headed for Passage

13 Sep

The fate of a bill to require 100 percent renewable power in California remained uncertain mid-week as the Legislature raced toward a Friday deadline to finish up its business in Sacramento. However, lawmakers and the governor broke a deadlock Sept. 12 that appears to clear the way for a massive spending measure funded by carbon […]

Private Utilities Report 3,100 MW of Qualifying Facilities

13 Sep

The 40-year old federal law mandating that private utilities buy power from independent producers, which was once center stage, is back stage in California today. That’s largely because of the state’s renewables mandate and improved interconnection. Today, investor-owned utilities continue to purchase power from independent small renewable and cogeneration projects under state regulatory programs established […]

Fires Singe Grid Facilities, But Cause No Major Effects

6 Sep

The major fires burning across the state as of early this week so far have had no major impact on the grid, but there was some damage. The La Tuna fire in Los Angeles impacted a Southern California Edison transmission line but two other 230 kV lines were “minimally threatened” as of late Monday, according […]

Heat Brings New Historic Peaks for Edison & LADWP

6 Sep

Triple digit temperatures caused Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to set new peak load records last week. The blistering heat drove up electricity demand in and outside Southern California even though the high loads were tamped down somewhat by demand response programs. Edison’s new peak load reached 23,508 […]

JUICE: Voluntary 100% Renewable Programs Lack Traction

30 Aug

Community choice and utility programs offering customers all solar energy or 100 percent mixed renewable power are about as popular as wall flowers. The uptake rate of consumers voluntarily paying community aggregators and private utilities for all solar or a mix of clean power is in the low single digits. It is as low as […]

Undercurrents: SONGS Onsite Waste Suit Settled

30 Aug

A settlement of the lawsuit over expanding onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Station was reached Aug. 28. “A cooperative effort between the public, independent experts and Southern California Edison has begun and will continue until the nuclear waste is removed from San Diego,” said attorney Michael Aguirre, representing plaintiff […]

Utilities Benefit from New Climate Prediction Tools

29 Aug

Climate change is affecting energy utilities in a wide variety of ways and the pace of change is expected to quicken in the years ahead. However, utilities are beginning to benefit from new predictive tools the state has developed to help them plan future facilities that are adapted to a warmer climate. “It’s incumbent on […]

The Buzz

25 Aug

State utility regulators okayed a shift in the peak pricing period to later in the day for San Diego Gas & Electric customers. Industry advocates warn it erodes the economic advantages of rooftop solar. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry gets an education about how the grid operates. A Department of Energy staff report he requested […]

Action on PG&E Butte Fire Penalty & EV Subsidy Bills

22 Aug

Legislation to strengthen rural wildfire prevention programs with a penalty payment ordered by utility regulators for Pacific Gas & Electric’s role in triggering the Butte Fire in 2015 cleared the Senate Natural Resources Committee Aug. 22. The bill goes next to the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee. Meanwhile, a separate measure to advance electric […]

Earnings Grow at PG&E & Sempra & Remain Flat at Edison

4 Aug

Utility holding company second quarter earnings reports show gains at two companies and stability at a third. Here’s a rundown of the latest results. Edison International: The parent company of Southern California Edison had earnings of $278 million in the second quarter of 2017, or 85 cents a share. That’s down from earnings of $280 […]

Transmission Lines Avoid Being Scorched in Modoc & Berkeley

3 Aug

The governor declared a state of emergency in Modoc County Aug. 2 because a fire that began July 24 has burned thousands of acres and came too close for comfort to energy infrastructure.  On Aug. 2, a fire in the hills above Berkeley and Oakland threatened Pacific Gas & Electric transmission lines. The governor’s emergency […]