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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 […]

Wildfire Panel Calls for Redoing Utility Legal & Financial Rules

30 May

The legal standard for finding utilities at fault for sparking wildfires, as well as for determining how much of their wildfire expenses can be recovered from ratepayers, are in serious need of overhaul, according to a draft report by the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost & Recovery. The executive summary of the report, released May […]

Undercurrents

1 May

Updated May 2 The California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal outlining the criteria and methodology for utilities to recovery wildfire expenses under SB 901 is being challenged by a group of stakeholders. Specifically being contested is staff’s restricted definition of “customer harm.” It fails to include “harm involved in the form of funds paid out […]

Utility Wildfire Risk Reduction Plans Set for Approval

30 Apr

Proposed decisions released Monday by state energy regulators find that the private utilities’ 2019 wildfire mitigation plans meet the legislative mandates of SB 901. But, Pacific Gas & Electric, which appears to have the priciest plan of the three, is directed to track and prove the effectiveness of its various proposed measures to make sure […]

CPUC Decouples Wildfire Plan Approval & Cost Recovery

30 Apr

Three California Public Utilities Commission proposed decisions largely approve the private utilities’ wildfire mitigation plans, but their multi-billion dollar price tags don’t get the green light. CPUC Administrative Law Judges Sarah Thomas and Peter Allen proposed guidance for the trio of utilities’ mitigation plans under SB 901 states that cost recovery “is a separate matter,” […]

JUICE: Muddy Waters & Rates

30 Apr

While passing through a corner of Nevada along Highway 395 during a drive to the Eastern side of the Sierra I was struck by the differences in the price of gasoline in the Golden and Silver states. Filling up in Nevada April 19, I paid $3.30 a gallon, saving well over a dollar per gallon. […]

West Coast Utilities Coordinate on Big Truck Electrification

18 Apr

A study on electrifying the 1,350 mile route from Mexico to Canada for medium- and heavy-duty trucks is being launched by a coalition of nearly three dozen West Coast private and public utilities and organizations. The study by this West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, announced April 18, is to evaluate how, where and the […]

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: Clear Cutting for Fire Safety?

19 Feb

Oaks and other trees in California beware. The state’s investor-owned utilities have declared open season on trees in the name of fire safety. In doing so, utilities are set to cut down 400,000 trees this year alone, largely along their distribution lines where Californians live and work. Indiscriminate tree cutting and topping has the potential […]