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Grid Operator Seeks to Avoid Solar Energy Crash

24 Jul

The California Independent System Operator is working to get utility-scale solar generators to reset the controls on their inverters to avoid massive losses of generation when transmission lines experience momentary faults. The effort comes after major solar systems have suddenly quit feeding power to the grid—in one case causing a sudden loss of almost 1,200 […]

CA Grid in Flux, Picker Notes

20 Jul

State energy policy stands “at a unique point in time” with the chief goal ahead being to figure out the right mix of fossil fuel resources needed to keep power affordable and reliable, California’s top utility regulator told an Assembly committee July 19. California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker told the Assembly Utilities & […]

The Buzz

14 Jul

The governor’s carbon cap-and-trade renewable legislation passes through a Senate panel after a six-hour hearing in which environmental justice activists and local and regional air districts denounced the measure. The oil company-friendly bill package was introduced Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade deal appears to be more about cementing his legacy than it is about improving […]

CPUC Trims Utilities’ Return on Equity

13 Jul

Utility regulators July 13 cut the allowable return on equity for the state’s major investor-owned energy utilities between 0.05 percent and 0.15 percent for the years 2018 and 2019. The California Public Utilities Commission also promised to review the future allowable rate. The CPUC decision came this week on July 13 in response to a […]

Ventura Clean Power Alternatives Study Begins

22 Jun

The grid operator late last week agreed to study whether preferred resources—including renewable power and energy storage and efficiency—could be substituted for a proposed fossil fuel power plant in Oxnard to meet Ventura County’s power needs. Replacement power is necessary because two old power plants there are slated to shut down at the end of […]

Massachusetts Bests CA in Energy Efficiency

14 Jun

California’s three investor-owned utilities are among the nation’s top ten when it comes to energy efficiency programs, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy on June 14. The top two investor-owned utilities in the nation were Eversource and National Grid, which both operate in Massachusetts. Pacific Gas & Electric […]

CEC OKs Ventura Preferred Resources Study

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission agreed June 12 to have the grid operator study if Ventura County could meet an expected shortfall in local power supplies with preferred resources instead of a gas-fired power plant proposed on Oxnard’s beachfront. The study is to be completed by mid-July. “After years of fighting for clean air for Oxnard, […]

CEC Still Weighing Clean Resource Study for Ventura

6 Jun

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 8. The California Energy Commission soon will issue a written decision on whether to request the California Independent System Operator to examine if “preferred resources” can meet power reliability needs in Ventura County as an alternative to a new gas-fired power plant. Energy Commission Hearing Officer Paul Kramer […]

JUICE: Beyond a Bud Light Future in EV Charging

24 May

The beer flowed May 19 in Sacramento after an all-day meeting on the future of “retail competition” in the California electric power industry. But when the waiters picked up the glasses and mopped up the suds little really had been settled. While other states abound with consumer choice in retail power plans—sporting such features as […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

SCE Labor Practices Impact Rates & Safety, Union Says

17 May

Southern California Edison’s 2018-2020 rate case has become embroiled in a labor dispute in which a major union says it’s been locked out of contracting jobs with the utility, which are on the upswing as the company focuses on improving its aging distribution system. Enhancing the safety of its distribution system, in which equipment failures […]

Edison Rate Hike

17 May

Southern California Edison’s proposed general rate case will raise the average bill of residential customers who use 600 kWh a month by $3.75 in 2018, another $5.65 in 2019, and then again by an additional $7.29 in 2020, according to California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge Steve Roscow. By 2020, those who use 600 […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Faces $8 Million Penalty for Butte Fire

26 Apr

State regulators fined Pacific Gas & Electric $8.3 million for the Butte Fire sparked by a utility conductor. The Sept. 9, 2015, wildfire killed two people, injured one, and destroyed 549 homes, 4 commercial properties and 368 structures. The California Public Utilities Commission’s Safety & Enforcement Division found PG&E violated three of the commission’s general […]

LA County Opts for Community Choice Energy

19 Apr

Los Angeles County will form a community choice aggregation program, which will be the biggest in the state. The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously April 18 to form the program that is to offer higher levels of alternative power than Southern California Edison starting next year. The choice program has been under development for […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

Edison Tells Investors EV Charging is Big Business

12 Apr

One of California’s biggest electric utilities is banking on a growing number of electric vehicles on the state’s highways to provide  a business growth opportunity over the coming decade. In an April 12 briefing for investment banks, Southern California Edison executives outlined a growing need for both grid modernization to meet electric vehicle charging demand […]

CEC Aims to Help Utilities Adapt to Warming

11 Apr

Climate change is straining electric utility infrastructure, motivating the California Energy Commission and other state agencies to focus on actionable climate science research that utilities can use to adapt to global warming. “Climate adaptation is where we need to focus now,” Bob Weisenmiller, CEC chair, said during an April 11 meeting aimed at planning how […]

CPUC Revives Self Gen Program with Bigger Budget

6 Apr

Utility regulators April 6 approved a doubling of funds for the self-generation incentive program. It is intended to subsidize solar and other generation technologies, plus energy storage, at the power distribution system level. Funding is set at $83 million a year for the period 2017-2019, under the decision approved unanimously by the California Public Utilities […]

CAISO Sees Little Need for New Transmission

15 Mar

The grid operator’s board March 15 approved a 2016-17 transmission plan, which calls for no new major facilities. It does approve two minor projects valued at $24 million to improve reliability for Southern California Edison. “Continuing the recent trend of prior transmission plans, the number and capital costs of recommended transmission projects in this 2016-2017 […]

Undercurrents: Edison Nets Just $72 M from San Onofre Arbitration

14 Mar

A disappointing ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce in an arbitration proceeding over failed steam generators at Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station will provide ratepayers little relief. In its decision in the case of Edison against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the arbitration panel ordered the Japanese maker of the steam generators to […]