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West Coast Utilities Propose Truck Charging Network

17 Jun

A coalition of utilities in California, Oregon and Washington have developed a plan to advance the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by installing public electric charging stations along a 1,300 mile stretch of Interstate 5.   The plan released June 17 proposes installing 27 charging stations, with up to 10 ports each, for medium-duty […]

The Buzz

11 Jun

After months of few energy items on the California Public Utilities Commission business meeting agendas, this week’s one is dense, and action packed. After honoring the death of George Floyd, the five utility regulators approve Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to install diesel-fueled generators to provide power during safety outages. The CPUC also signs off […]

Packed CPUC Agenda Includes Approving PG&E Diesel Backup

11 Jun

State utility regulators June 11 addressed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop and continued systematic racism near and far, including at the California Public Utilities Commission. They also held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to remember Floyd’s death on May 25. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that while the five commissioners […]

CPUC Decisions Curb Disconnections, Okay Central Resource Adequacy Buyer

11 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan to reduce the number of power disconnections of financially struggling customers. Also during its June 11 meeting, regulators voted to make the state’s two biggest private utilities the buyers of local supply cushions for all providers in their territories. That includes for their competitors, community energy. The […]

CPUC Okays IOUs $15B Fire Risk Reduction Plans

11 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday signed off on all the utilities’ 2020 wildfire mitigation plans despite “significant concerns,” raised by staff. The total tab of the plans by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric is an estimated $15 billion. Regulators, however, did not discuss the price […]

Success of PG&E’s Wildfire Plan Iffy, Lawmakers Told

4 Jun

With the threat of wildfires approaching, lawmakers wanted details on Pacific Gas & Electric’s mitigation plans, including how it will reduce the impacts of its public safety shutoffs during hot and windy conditions. Rachel Peterson, deputy director of the California Public Utilities Commission, reported to the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee that PG&E was […]

Shorts

2 Jun

Updated June 4 A coalition of alternative energy and clean air organizations urged the governor to convene a task force focused on helping replace the 100,000 clean energy jobs lost during the pandemic.  The disappeared jobs represent almost 20% of the clean energy industry. “The intersecting impacts of the pandemic and climate change call for […]

Hard Times for Independent Generators

12 May

Updated May 13 The six merchant generators with operations in California saw their net income fall, some slightly, others significantly. All have felt the impact of the pandemic and resulting drop in commercial and industrial power demand. But the companies have largely been able to keep their construction projects on track. Calpine: Earnings declined for […]

The Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

Home Excess Energy Use Charge Tamped Down

7 May

To help decrease bills for residents spending all day in their homes, energy regulators voted to lower the financial penalty for excess energy use typically charged by the investor-owned utilities. The reduction is to “make sure residential bills remain manageable during this crisis,” California Public Utilities Commission member Genevieve Shiroma said May 7. The move […]

Edison Inks 770MW of New Energy Storage Deals

5 May

Southern California Edison signed seven long-term contracts for big battery projects, five co-located at utility-scale solar plants. The storage capacity is to range from 230 MW to 50 MW, with up to four hours of output. All the deals entail lithium ion batteries that are set to come online in August 2021. The five battery […]

Earnings Rise for PG&E & Sempra; Decline for Edison

4 May

Utility parent companies Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. and Sempra Energy reported higher earnings for the first quarter of the year. Edison International’s earnings went south. All the subsidiary utilities reaped higher revenue in their rate cases and from wildfire funding. The companies are seeing lower income from utility bill collections because of the pandemic. […]

Report: Mandates Fuel Cheaper Cleaner Grid

4 May

Years of mandates under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard continue to lower the cost of non-fossil fueled electricity. The RPS requires that 44% of utility, community energy and other electricity supplier resources come from solar, wind, geothermal or other eligible resources by 2024, rising to 52% in 2027 and 60% in 2030. “The average price of […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]

CPUC Proposal Prods Utilities to Remove Microgrid Hurdles

30 Apr

The three private utilities would be required to speed up and simplify their approvals of third-party backup systems in high fire threat zones and their interconnection to utility grids, under a California Public Utilities Commission proposed decision released April 29. However, it will not come up for a Commission vote before June 11. The proposal […]

Juice: Beyond Diesel Backup Generation and Blackouts

28 Apr

The use of clean-fueled microgrids to keep power flowing to vulnerable people and critical services—from safety to water supply—during upcoming fires and outages was the talk of the town. Unfortunately, the talk led to little action on installing these types of projects in high fire threat areas in California before wildfires start this year. Pacific […]

Covid-19 & Looming Wildfires Jolt Utilities

28 Apr

The ravages of the pandemic are still with us in California as the threat of wildfire heightens. The deadly combination creates challenges for utilities pressing to reduce the risk of fire ignited by power lines before temperatures peak. As it was, the virus created difficulties for the investor-owned utilities working to mitigate blazes in high […]

Spotlight on Ratepayer Subsidies of Utility EV Charging Costs

22 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is examining two thorny questions central to the expansion of electric vehicles: How long should investor-owned utility ratepayers keep paying for the installation of new charging stations? And how long should the private utilities dominate the installations? The questions were the focus of an April 20 workshop. Intertwined with the […]

CPUC Okays Minor Residential Rate Relief

16 Apr

State energy regulators unanimously agreed to accelerate the disbursement of the state’s greenhouse gas auction revenue to lower the bills of the customers of the state’s two largest utilities. Bill reductions will total about $36. The California Public Utilities Commission April 16 action was in response to job losses and higher utility bills stemming from […]

Shorts

7 Apr

Updated April 9 The Federal Reserve was urged to extend its access to short-term debt financing to electric, natural gas and other utilities. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners chairs asked the Reserve for help “to combat the health and economic crisis that is unfolding due to the […]