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Undercurrents

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 18. To meet California’s ambitious 100 percent clean energy mandate, natural gas-fired space and water heaters need to be phased out. The ideal replacement is efficient electric heat pump technology, according to a new report, Decarbonization of Heating Energy Use in California Buildings: Technology, Markets, Impacts, and Policy Solutions. “Switching to electric heat […]

High, Hot Winds Prompt Utilities to Shut Off Power

15 Oct

Strong winds across wide stretches of California moved electric utilities Oct. 14 to turn off power in several areas to prevent equipment from sparking wildfires. The shut offs were preceded by notices of possible power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 17,500 customers in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, and more than 42,000 […]

The Buzz

4 Oct

California’s big three investor-owned energy utilities are hit with credit downgrades. Their borrowing pains would be a lot higher but for enactment of SB 901. In spite of all the pro-electric vehicle effort and rhetoric in the state, the California Energy Commission slashes its spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology […]

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 […]

New Edison Riverside County Line Approved

23 Aug

State utility regulators Aug. 23 gave Southern California Edison the go-ahead to build a new, modified 115 kV sub-transmission line and fiber optical system to serve portions of Riverside County at a cost of more than $170 million. At the same time, the California Public Utilities Commission denied—at least for now— Edison’s bid to build […]

Undercurrents: Dems Slam FERC Chair for Pushing Price Supports

21 Aug

Updated Aug. 22 The head federal energy regulator was blasted for allowing his top staffer to state during a nuclear energy conference that his agency was working with the Trump Administration to ensure nuclear and coal power is subsidized under the controversial “fuel resiliency” theory. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Natural Resources Committee ranking member, and […]

CPUC Delves Into Reducing Utility Disconnections

15 Aug

Regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission kicked off a proceeding Aug. 15 that’s aimed at reducing the rising rate of energy service disconnections stemming from non-payment of monthly electricity and gas bills. Data show that more than 70,000 customers have their power or gas shut off each month due to non-payment. The CPUC opened […]

Plan to Curb Utility Wildfire Liability Faces Pushback

10 Aug

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to legislatively amend the decades–long court created legal doctrine that holds utilities strictly liable for wildfire damage faced strong head winds at an Aug. 9 legislative conference committee hearing. At issue is who’s responsible for the massive liability tab from the destruction arising from utility-sparked wildfires: ratepayers, local governments, insurance companies […]

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. […]

The Buzz

28 Jun

The big squeeze from a duo of powerful hedge funds leads Sempra Energy to sell off all of its green portfolio and some of its gas assets. More significantly, this is just the first round of spin offs. A proposed CPUC settlement would reduce ratepayers’ share of the closure costs of San Onofre Nuclear Generating […]

CPUC Adopts 2019 Resource Adequacy Determinations

21 Jun

In a move that breaks years of impasse over how to assure local resource adequacy, the California Public Utilities Commission June 21 signaled its intent to require multi-year resource adequacy procurement. It also noted it would seriously entertain creating a central purchasing agent for resource adequacy. The commission won’t make those revisions in its resource […]

CPUC Backs Major Utility Spending on EV Charging

31 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 31 authorized the state’s investor-owned power utilities to spend $738 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on electric truck and bus charging. “The only way to get to a largely carbon-free California is by substantially electrifying the state’s vast transportation system,” said […]

CAISO Launches Backstop Procurement Review

30 May

The grid operator kicked off what it called a new and “holistic” backstop procurement proceeding May 30 aimed at filling power generation capacity gaps not addressed in the resource adequacy procurement process. The California Independent System Operator opened the proceeding after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission declined to approve an earlier proposal. It was a […]

Juice: Start Small on Electric Truck Charging

22 May

As the Springsteen song goes: “From small things, mama, one day big things come.” The California Public Utilities Commission should take note and resist pressure to significantly increase utility investments in heavy-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Despite calls to do so by clean air advocates and utility executives, it’s wise to take small steps towards […]

The Buzz

17 May

Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal. Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last […]

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. […]

FERC Drills Down on High Utility Transmission Costs

1 May

Federal regulators May 1 heard conflicting views about whether California’s investor-owned utilities have been unfairly skirting review requirements for major investments in their power transmission lines, which may be driving up electricity costs. “Ratepayers are paying significant amounts of money for expenditures with no review whatsoever,” Katharine Mapes, Northern California Power Agency attorney, complained to […]

The Buzz

27 Apr

Legislation to raise payments to needed gas power plants in California, to increase the use of home electric air and space heating, and to make school reps eligible for intervenor compensation make the cut. Midweek, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee sends these measures on to the next committee. Measures to bolster energy storage and […]