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CPUC’s High Ticket Attractions Next Week

19 Sep

Utility regulators are slated to vote next week on three proposals that could cost ratepayers more than a $1 billion. They include costs in proposed decisions that could advance transportation and integrate more renewable energy into the state’s grid. At its Sept. 27 meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to consider directing Pacific […]

Climate Change Puts Pressure on Utility Rates

12 Sep

Global warming is increasingly driving energy utility expenditures and could lead to higher utility rates in the years ahead, a key state energy official said Sept. 12. Utilities, said Cliff Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission member, already are factoring the impacts of global warming into what they seek as revenue requirements in their general rate […]

The Buzz

10 Aug

A legislative conference committee working to address wildfire safety and liability standards for utilities faces major opposition. The big kahuna is who gets slammed with the multi-billion tab for harm from utility equipment-sparked blazes. Major energy legislation to create a regionalized grid, move to 100 percent carbon-free power, and open up direct access to all […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

PG&E & Sempra Report Big Losses

6 Aug

Earnings of two of the three parent companies of California’s major investor-owned utilities took a turn for the worse in the second quarter of 2018. Pacific Gas & Electric reported the largest earnings hit because of wildfire liability followed by big losses at Sempra Energy. Meanwhile, Edison International’s earnings were largely level and could be […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]

Undercurrents

19 Jun

Updated June 20. Colorado is signing on to California’s auto emissions standards, making it the fifteenth state or jurisdiction (including the District of Columbia) to do so. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order June 19 signaling the state’s intention to enforce the standards. Hickenlooper made the move just ahead of an expected proposal […]

“Vulture Capitalist” Pushes for Sale of Sempra Assets

12 Jun

Will Sempra Energy suffer a fate similar to NRG? The same two private investment firms bought up a substantial number of shares of the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas and are trying to force a sale of assets to generate cash, like they successfully did with NRG. The equivalent […]

Utilities Seek Max Return on EV Charging Program

17 May

Utility regulators came under heavy pressure this week to throw out a proposed decision authorizing California’s investor-owned electric utilities to spend some $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. During an all-parties meeting May 17, following the California Public Utilities Commission’s vote postponement on the proposal earlier this month, utilities complained it […]

Earnings Down for Two of Three IOUs

8 May

Utility earnings varied during the first quarter of 2018, with Sempra Energy up and Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric down compared to the first three months of 2017. Edison International: The parent company of Southern California Edison had lower earnings in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, with […]

CPUC to Develop CA Power Restructuring Plan

3 May

In the midst of related proceedings, California utility regulators called for a statewide conversation about the future structure and regulation of the power industry May 3. They continued to warn about the proliferation of customer-owned solar systems, community choice aggregation, and other developments that threaten to destabilize traditional utilities and electric grid reliability in California. […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Consideration of a ballot measure to mandate that San Diego Gas & Electric serve only green energy to the City of San Diego if it wants a renewed franchise agreement was sent back to go. Leading gubernatorial Republican candidates challenge the recently enacted gas tax hike and the bullet train. Democratic governor hopefuls want to […]

Undercurrents: PCIA Struggle Heats Up

4 Apr

Clashing proposals on revising or replacing the California Public Utilities Commission’s controversial power charge indifference adjustment were submitted to regulators April 2. This cost adjustment method determines how much community choice organizations must pay the private utilities for their stranded power purchase contracts. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas […]

The Buzz

29 Mar

Facing massive liability lawsuits for its potential role in igniting wildfires that scorched Santa Rosa and other Wine Country communities last fall, Pacific Gas & Electric argues it’s not subject to claims based on the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation. With hot weather just around the corner, state regulators order SoCal Gas to quickly fill […]

PG&E, Edison & SDG&E Earnings Slump

27 Feb

The state’s investor-owned utilities and their parent companies saw lower earnings in the final quarter of last year, including because of the wildfires, regulatory decisions and the 2017 tax law. Executives warned that liability for the wildfires is expected to worsen the companies’ financial health. Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and Sempra Energy all reported […]

Lawmakers Fear Utility Bankruptcies

27 Feb

State legislators voiced angst about the potential for utility bankruptcies Feb. 26 during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing on the impact of recent wildfires on the power industry. Recent credit rating actions by Standard & Poor’s for Pacific Gas & Electric—and even on a major solar project that feeds power to the utility […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

Juice: Blowin in the Dry Wind

28 Nov

Four years ago, San Diego Gas & Electric power lines sparked wildfires that burned some 200,000 acres in San Diego County. The fires, which began in the eastern area of the county, were quickly blown westward by severe Santa Ana winds. They wound up destroying 2,500 homes and structures as they burned through the dry […]

Utilities & Community Choice Beat Renewables Target

14 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities exceeded the 25 percent alternative energy mandate set for 2016 and are expected to have half their energy portfolios supplied by eligible renewable resources by 2020. That is according to a California Public Utilities Commission report submitted to the Legislature Nov. 13. The state’s community choice aggregators together exceeded last year’s mandate, […]

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 […]