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Assembly Bills Focus on Wildfire Impacts and Resource Adequacy

14 Jan

Protecting utilities against wildfire liability and customers against the loss of power during safety shutoffs remain top legislative priorities. AB 235 by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) and two other legislators would allow PG&E to issue bonds to pay for wildfire victim recovery claims after Jan. 2019. This bill, which was carried over from the […]

Back in the Spotlight: Power Outages and Supplies, and the Definition of Renewable

14 Jan

Before lawmakers this session is Senate legislation to make buildings more fire resistant in high risk areas, protect customers during utility power shutoffs, and rework the renewables mandate. A few of these bills will be heard Jan. 15 in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communication Committee’s first hearing of the year. Three bills seek to […]

State Budget to Dedicate $2B to Climate Protection

13 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 state spending plan released Jan. 10 would spend $1.7 billion to reduce the impacts of climate change. The proposal includes investments in low carbon emission projects, wildfire mitigation, environmental equity, and alternative energy jobs in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. “The state’s goals are clear. Californians must have […]

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 […]

PG&E Heads for Bankruptcy Door

9 Jan

An end of June deadline looms for Pacific Gas & Electric as it strives to exit bankruptcy court in time to tap into a legislatively created $21 billion wildfire fund. Bets are that PG&E will make the deadline. AB 1054, which created a wildfire liability reserve account funded by private utility shareholders and ratepayers, mandates […]

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 […]

The Buzz

5 Dec

A carbon tax is the talk of the town this week. Republican members of a House panel insist it would be a cost without a benefit because global action is critical. In response, their Democratic brethren chastise them for not partaking in the ongoing UN climate talks. Solar-powered microgrids paired with battery storage can keep […]

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 […]

Shorts

13 Nov

Updated Nov. 14. Marin Clean Energy’s latest climate action update shows that 22 of the 34 cities in its territory have opted for 100 percent renewable energy for their public facilities. The report also shows that Marin County now has more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations. Local Bay Area energy agencies are soliciting […]

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 […]

The Buzz

7 Nov

The liability boulder around Pacific Gas & Electric’s neck may thwart its rescue by the federal bankruptcy court, its latest earnings report warnd. Meanwhile, the push for a public takeover of PG&E intensifies. State energy regulators unanimously approve requiring utilities, community choice and other providers to line up an additional 3,300 MW of energy reserves. […]

PG&E’s in Critical Condition, Earnings Report Warns

7 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric Nov. 7 reported a whopping and unprecedented loss of $1.62 billion. Its third quarter earnings report, released without the standard accompaniment of a call with financial analysts, also stated that the company’s financial situation is in dire straits and that it faces a very uncertain future. PG&E Corp. and the utility […]

JUICE: Is Three the Charm for CA Energy Czar?

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom had to address the public outrage over Pacific Gas & Electric twice cutting off power to unprecedented numbers of people in the face of high fire danger, sparking wildfires and seeking protection in bankruptcy court in the face of massive fire liability. But if history is any indication, his recent appointment of […]

Newsom Names Energy Czar

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom Nov. 1 appointed California’s third energy czar in the 21st century to address the current energy crisis driven by utility wildfire liability and threats. The appointee is Newsom’s Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos. She also served under the Brown and Schwarzenegger gubernatorial administrations. Czarina Matosantos is specifically tasked with ensuring Pacific Gas & […]

Shorts

29 Oct

Updated Oct. 31. Southern California Edison will take the heat Nov. 13 in Fontana over public power safety shutoffs at a community meeting being organized by the city of Fontana in San Bernardino County just below the Cajon Pass. “Fontana is the windiest city in California,” said Mayor Acquanetta Warren. “We cannot have power outages […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

JUICE: Piecing Together the Outage News Puzzles

22 Oct

I live in Alameda County in Northern California, while my co-editor Bill Kelly lives in Los Angeles County. This allows us to compare and contrast news coverage and public responses to energy happenings in our regions. Of late, we’ve focused on the fires and outages caused by the incumbent investor-owned utilities in our parts of […]