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CPUC Sets Priorities for Utility Microgrids

27 Jan

In the wake of devastating wildfires, followed by deliberate grid shutdowns to prevent even more utility-sparked fires, major electric companies released plans for keeping communities powered during shutoffs. The plans submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are part of microgrid proceeding before the California Public Utilities […]

Private Utilities Pitch Array of Microgrid Projects, Many Fossil-Fueled

27 Jan

New microgrid proposals by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric aim to get a variety of short- and long-term projects online within the next few months to keep power flowing during utility shutoffs when wildfire threats escalate. If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, hundreds of millions […]

CA Regulators Seek to Meld Gas Planning & Clean Energy Targets

16 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to initiate a rulemaking to update its natural gas reliability and long-term planning. The overall aim is to revamp its planning process to ensure gas systems are safe and reliable as California weans itself off of fossil fuels. “The gas system is going through profound changes,” Commissioner […]

Grid Operator’s So CA Natural Gas Curbs Win Approval

6 Jan

Federal energy regulators made permanent natural gas constraints the California Independent System Operator imposed temporarily on Southern California power plants. This is a “just and reasonable approach” to “ensure CAISO continues to have the tools necessary to address risks associated with the potential impacts of the continued limited operability of Aliso Canyon on the reliability […]

CPUC Okays Utilities 2020 Ratemaking

19 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 19 unanimously authorized the four investor-owned utilities’ long-term debt and preferred and common equity percentages as part of the test year 2020 ratemaking capital structures. Regulators approved only some of the requested rate of return increases. “The financial stability of the utilities is vital,” said CPUC Chair Marybel Batjer. […]

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 […]

JUICE: Microgrids Provide Power During Wildfires & Other Emergencies

5 Dec

The head of Pacific Gas & Electric, Bill Johnson, warned that public safety power outages may continue for a decade in areas facing high wildfire risk. It’s been estimated that the power shutoffs in Northern and Central California could cost the state economy about $2 billion. Those impacted are frustrated and so too are policymakers […]

Pot Farms Burn the Midnight Oil, CEC Finds

2 Dec

Cannabis cultivation is and will continue to drive up electricity consumption in California. It is expected to add 1,600 GWh of new load over the next decade, according to the California Energy Commission. Demand from pot growth, largely energy-intensive indoor cultivation, is estimated to increase energy use in Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California […]

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. […]

CPUC Beefs up Capacity Mandate, Seeks Extended Life for Coastal Plants

7 Nov

After acknowledging the death and destruction wrought by the Camp Fire on the eve its first anniversary, state energy regulators unanimously approved requiring utilities, community energy and direct access providers to line up 3,300 MW of additional energy reserves. The California Public Utilities Commission also agreed during its Nov. 7 meeting to urge the State […]

Sempra’s Earnings Jump, Edison’s Fall

6 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities in the southern half of the state reported solid earnings, with those of San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas rising significantly. Southern California Edison’s margin dropped, however. Pacific Gas & Electric, with little notice, reported its third quarter net income Nov. 7. Edison International: the utility’s corporate parent saw its net […]

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 […]

PG&E Blasted for Historic Power Shutoffs

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s largest precautionary power outage in California in response to wildfire threats has outraged policy makers and customers. PG&E’s response “has been absolutely unacceptable” to communities, “to individual people, to the commerce of our state and the safety of our people,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said Oct. 10. “This […]

Private Utilities Reap $26M in Efficiency Awards

10 Oct

In spite of mixed emotions, state energy regulators Oct. 10 unanimously approved $26 million in energy efficiency awards to the state’s four private electric and gas utilities. California Public Utilities Commission member Liane Randolph said that the approved resolution allowing the awards highlights troubling areas. The effectiveness of the CPUC’s whole performance incentive structure, therefore, […]

The Buzz

26 Sep

So. Cal Gas and SDG&E get whopping increases in their 2019-21 general rate cases. State energy regulators say the hefty revenue hikes are needed to fully fund the gas and electric companies’ safety programs. It is a long shot but bondholders try again to inject their plan for paying off PG&E’s massive debts at the […]

CPUC OKs 27% & 17% Revenue Rise for Sempra Utilities

26 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 26 unanimously adopted a 13.78 percent increase in SoCal Gas’ 2019 test year revenue requirement over last year’s rates to reach nearly $2.8 billion. The hike was made as part of the Sempra utility’s 2019-21 general rate case. The five commissioners also signed off on a higher revenue requirement […]

The Buzz

19 Sep

Trump’s claim that California’s Clean Air Act waiver is preempted by federal law drives state air regulators to look at other ways to slash climate pollution from the transportation sector. Two Republican federal energy regulators approve a proposal to alter the 40-year old law protecting small renewable projects and co-generation. The dissenting Democratic commissioner says […]

Private Utilities Face Wildfire Mitigation Plan Hurdles

18 Sep

California’s three large investor-owned utilities reported progress implementing their mandated SB 901 wildfire mitigation plans, but the shortage of tree trimmers and composite poles are among the challenges hampering their efforts. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Jonathan Woldemariam, director of wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, said Sept. 17 that the work has been “a humbling […]

San Diego Votes for Community Choice

17 Sep

California’s second largest city voted Sept. 17 to participate in the emerging San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy Authority. The San Diego City Council voted 7-2 to be a member of a regional choice program that is to launch in 2021. It is to aim for a 100 percent renewable portfolio by 2035. Last month, […]

CPUC Signs Off on New Power Shutoff Rules

30 May

State energy regulators this week adopted a decision aimed at reducing the impacts of private utilities stopping electricity flows across power lines during risky wildfire conditions. Approved May 30, the decision includes protocols to improve utilities’ reporting and notification of when it decides to de-energize power lines to reduce the risk of sparking wildfires ahead […]