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Undercurrents: No High Use Charge with TOU Rates

13 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving to default time-of-use rates for residential electricity ratepayers. But one of the catches is that the new default rate to begin next year will eliminate surcharges on energy hogs, according to speakers at the CPUC’s residential rate hearing held Nov. 13. When you take away the high energy […]

Fires Threaten Utility Finances & Lead to CPUC Rulemakings

13 Nov

Updated Nov. 15. Given utility infrastructure may have ignited two massive wildfires that started last week, the importance of a yet-formed committee tasked with assessing wildfire risks and making recommendations on costs and liability under a 2018 bill is growing exponentially. Pacific Gas & Electric stock fell as low as $17.26 per share on Nov. […]

Juice: California Gets It Right on Nuclear Power

13 Nov

“An expensive enticing mirage” or “an imperative that cannot be ignored?” That’s the multi-billion question facing the power industry and energy policymakers as to whether nuclear power should be left to wither or maintained as an emissions-free bridge to a decarbonized future. That question stirred debate last week following a report by the Union of […]

CPUC Okays PG&E’s Big Storage Deals

8 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission on a 4-to-5 vote approved Pacific Gas & Electric’s contracts for 567.5 MW of storage in the South Bay area near Moss Landing over consumer advocates’ and community choice program operators’ objections. Last month, they challenged the cost and need for the four lithium ion battery storage deals, including because […]

California IOUs Show Handy Profits

6 Nov

Updated Nov. 7. California’s three major investor-owned utilities were profitable during the third quarter of this year. That includes Pacific Gas & Electric, which lost money last quarter and faces ongoing uncertainties over wildfire liability. Here’s a breakdown of the third quarter results. Edison International: Edison reported third quarter earnings this year of $513 million, […]

Shorts

6 Nov

Updated Nov. 8. San Diego Gas & Electric filed a proposed settlement agreement at the California Public Utilities Commission Nov. 5 to try and bolster its involvement in electric vehicle charging. Under it, the utility would spend $107.4 million on make-ready infrastructure to support installation of 300 electric vehicle chargers for 3,000 to 6,068 medium […]

CA Set to Meet 2020 Renewable Standard

1 Nov

California is on target to meet that state’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard, according to a California Public Utilities Commission report to the Legislature on Nov. 1. However, community choice aggregators and direct access providers will have to pick up their pace in procuring renewable energy. “California continues on its path to a 100 percent […]

Just 25% of Required Utility Storage is Online

1 Nov

Only one-fourth of the 1,325 MW of energy storage investor-owned utilities are required to have in place in little more than two years is currently operational, according the California Public Utilities Commission. The utilities have lined up a total 1,650 MW of storage deals and 1,047 MW worth of those projects have been approved. Currently, […]

Undercurrents: Chatterjee Named New FERC Chair

23 Oct

Updated Oct. 25. Kevin McIntyre is unable to continue as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because of serious health issues related to brain cancer.  He announced Oct. 25 that  he was stepping down. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee will replace him as chair. “I thank Chairman McIntyre for his leadership at the agency, and pray […]

CPUC Fines Edison & PG&E for Safety Violations

17 Oct

State utility regulators levied fines on two utilities for violating safety rules, penalizing Southern California Edison $8 million and Pacific Gas & Electric some $5 million. The California Public Utility Commission’s Safety & Enforcement District issued the citations Oct. 16. In 2015, the Safety Division found that Edison did not promptly repair a crossarm on […]

PG&E Energy Storage Deals Face Headwinds

16 Oct

A California Public Utilities Commission draft resolution supports Pacific Gas & Electric’s bid for cost recovery for four storage projects with a total 567.5 MW of capacity. However, last week several protests were filed over their cost and whether they were necessary. The protestors, including consumer advocates and community choice aggregators, support energy storage as […]

High, Hot Winds Prompt Utilities to Shut Off Power

15 Oct

Strong winds across wide stretches of California moved electric utilities Oct. 14 to turn off power in several areas to prevent equipment from sparking wildfires. The shut offs were preceded by notices of possible power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 17,500 customers in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, and more than 42,000 […]

CPUC Hits Community Choice with Higher Costs

11 Oct

Facing significant opposition in a shifting energy world, the California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 11 unanimously approved a decision that will raise the bills of community energy and direct access customers by shifting more private utility portfolio costs onto them. In voting this week, commissioners backed revisions to the controversial Power Charge Indifference Adjustment methodology […]

CPUC Okays Storage Projects & Funds to Control Gas Leaks

11 Oct

Utility regulators Oct. 11 delayed approving utility research and development plans funded through the Electric Program Investment Charge program, but okayed energy storage contracts for two utilities, and the collecting of rates to control methane leaks from utility pipelines. Without comment, the California Public Utilities Commission approved six energy storage contracts for Pacific Gas & […]

PG&E Lines Implicated in Another Blaze

10 Oct

CalFire concluded Oct. 9 that Pacific Gas & Electric wires caused another of last year’s wildfires in Northern California, but the state agency found no violation of fire safety standards. On Oct. 8, 2017, high winds caused sagging electric lines to hit each other, sparking the Cascade Fire in Yuba County, according to CalFire. The […]

Shorts

9 Oct

A 40 year-old law that requires utilities to buy power from renewable generators and co-generators should be waived in states with competitive solicitation requirements and other measures that ensure all technologies access to the power market. That’s the recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a new white paper from the National Association of […]

The Buzz

4 Oct

California’s big three investor-owned energy utilities are hit with credit downgrades. Their borrowing pains would be a lot higher but for enactment of SB 901. In spite of all the pro-electric vehicle effort and rhetoric in the state, the California Energy Commission slashes its spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology […]

SB 901 Saves Utilities from Even Lower Credit Ratings

4 Oct

California’s three major investor-owned energy utilities suffered credit downgrades last month by Moody’s, which would have been worse without the enactment of SB 901. The legislation signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown loosens regulators’ criteria for evaluating rate recovery for liability and allows ratepayer-backed bonds to cover costs arising from wildfires started by electric […]

PG&E Seeks Another Transmission Rate Increase

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric asked federal energy regulators for a 9.5 percent increase in transmission fees, which would mark an increase from a projected $1.79 billion this year to a $1.96 transmission revenue requirement for 2019. The proposed increase to PG&E’s 2019 transmission rate case, made in an Oct. 1 filing to the Federal Energy […]

New Laws Fully Fund Diablo Canyon Closure & Lift Direct Access Cap

20 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 19 signed a bill to restore funds the California Public Utilities Commission cut from a closure cost settlement agreement for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County. The next day he signed another measure to expand direct access to power supplies by businesses. SB 1090 will backfill […]