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The Buzz

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

PG&E’s Proposal to Break Green Deals Raises Costs

19 Mar

If Pacific Gas & Electric is allowed to abrogate its long-term renewable contracts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, bankers will increase the risk premiums on clean energy project loans. That will drive up the price of renewable resources in California, attorneys warned at a legal seminar held March 18 by the Environmental Law Institute […]

JUICE: Bankruptcy Basics

12 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric’s unsurprising bankruptcy filing has rocked the energy utility industry, legislators and the state. Tens of billions of dollars are at stake, largely from what is now about 5,600 claims from wildfire victims. The amount of money and impact will soar if Southern California Edison also enters federal bankruptcy court. It faces […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]

The Buzz

7 Mar

House Dems blast the Department of Energy’s foot dragging on efficiency standard implementation while Republicans point elsewhere. Both sides agree, however, that saving energy is a good thing. State lawmakers, regulators, other power providers and generators agree that ensuring the energy caterpillar becomes a butterfly requires that decarbonization of the energy sector be affordable and […]

Senate Panel Queries PG&E Bankruptcy Impacts

5 Mar

The implications of Pacific Gas & Electric’s second bankruptcy filing this century, including a probable rejection of some or all of its long-term power contracts and the role of the legislature will play, were weighed by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 5. “PG&E encompasses the largest geographical area [of the private utilities] […]

Blue Mountain Pushes for New PG&E Board

4 Mar

An activist New York hedge fund that owns about 2 percent of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s shares proposed a new PG&E board last Friday. Blue Mountain Master Fund’s pick for the new chair of its proposed 13-member board is California’s former State Treasurer, Phil Angelides. Other proposed PG&E director replacements include former utility executives, […]

Bills Aim to Give Lawmakers Say in PG&E’s Bankruptcy

26 Feb

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced three bills Feb. 22, one of which would require legislative approval of any rate increases for Pacific Gas & Electric, which filed for Chapter 11 protection at the end of January. The other two measures are aimed at increasing the safety of the utility’s facilities to protect against wildfires. […]

Newsom Awaits State Plan on PG&E’s Bankruptcy

12 Feb

Gov. Gavin Newsom intends to have a plan for dealing with Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy within 60 days. “We are all frustrated and angry that it’s come to this,” Newsom told lawmakers Feb. 12 in his State of the State Address. “PG&E didn’t do enough to secure dangerous equipment or plan for the future.” […]

The Buzz

7 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago. Bankrupt PG&E’s plan stands out. That includes […]

PG&E Files Wildfire Safety Plan, Warns Bankruptcy Could Interfere

7 Feb

The private utilities Feb. 6 filed their mandated plans for reducing wildfire threats from electric equipment. The plans filed by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric at the California Public Utilities Commission are required under last year’s wildfire risk reduction legislation, SB 901. Much of the focus is […]

Bankruptcy Watch: $1.5 B in PG&E Loans Okayed

6 Feb

The federal bankruptcy court gave Pacific Gas & Electric permission to tap into $1.5 billion in loans to fund utility operations for 13 weeks on Feb. 1. It is part of a larger $5.5 billion financing package PG&E lined up in late January with a series of big banks, including JPMorgan, Chase Bank, Bank of […]

Undercurrents: CEC Chair Says Adieu

6 Feb

Updated Feb. 6. Bob Weisenmiller, California Energy Commission chair, will leave his post Feb. 21. “This position has allowed me to preside over transformative policies aimed at addressing some of California’s key energy challenges, including the threat of climate change,” he stated Feb 6. Weisenmiller, who was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, has served as […]

Juice: Can CCAs Build a Resilient Energy System?

5 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy is forcing California energy policymakers to grapple with the future of the energy utility business model. PG&E’s massive $30 billion liability for wildfires has led the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate how the utility might be broken up into smaller units that could avoid electric lines sparking fires and […]

CPUC Takes Heat for Poor Utility Ratings & Safety

31 Jan

State lawmakers Jan. 30 grilled the head state energy utility regulator over what his agency was doing to bolster utility ratings and reduce wildfire risks during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing. Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) warned California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker that the investor-owned utilities may become “un-investible” because of […]

$40B in Power Contracts at Issue in PG&E Bankruptcy

30 Jan

Clarification: The story was revised on Feb. 1 to note that PG&E is not seeking an immediate ruling on the fate of its power purchase deals. Changes are in italics. During Pacific Gas & Electric’s first day in federal bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali’s courtroom, it asked the court to allow it to end its $42 […]

SF Supervisors Eye Municipalizing PG&E System

30 Jan

Invoking the Green New Deal, San Francisco Supervisor Hilary Ronen Jan. 29 introduced legislation that could municipalize the power grid and natural gas system in the city. The action comes as Pacific Gas & Electric, which owns and operates those systems in the city, filed for bankruptcy. “”Their safety record is abysmal,” said Ronen, citing […]

PG&E Files for Bankruptcy

29 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric entered the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California Jan. 29, as expected. Although last week PG&E was found not responsible for sparking the largest fire in Northern California in 2017, the Tubbs Fire, it still faces enormous liability for other wildfires that year and in 2018. “Throughout this […]

JUICE: Regulators & Others Move to Keep Skin in PG&E Bankruptcy Game

29 Jan

State and federal energy regulators took expedited actions to protect their authority over Pacific Gas & Electric before it entered into the unknowns of federal bankruptcy court. Renewable energy companies and other generators asked both agencies to protect their ongoing power agreements with PG&E. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late on Jan. 25 stepped into […]

Undercurrents: EIM Governance Changes

28 Jan

Updated Jan. 31. The Energy Imbalance Market’s Governing Body late last week began discussing potential changes to its governance structure. Specifically, the grid operator wants the EIM Governing Body to assume primary authority for “changes to generally applicable rules of the real-time market if the primary driver for the change is EIM,” according to a […]