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Shorts

7 Apr

The U.S. Department of Energy projected a 7.5% drop in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and stationary sources this year because of the economic downturn and shelter in place orders, Bloomberg reported April 7. EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook “projects that growth has been stalled due to the unexpected and unprecedented worldwide demand impacts of […]

Utility General Rate Cases & Memorandum Accounts for Dummies

7 Apr

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a new Current series explaining the fundamentals of impenetrable energy terms. With it, we hope to pull back the curtain on terms of art used in California utility regulation that often come with considerable price tags for consumers. Investor–owned utilities use their general rate cases to cover big […]

News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

JUICE: Major Forces

31 Mar

The COVID-19 contagion is putting center stage provisions in power purchase agreements that often sit in the wings: those governing the responsibilities and liabilities of the contracting parties, and the timing of their obligations, when an unforeseen disaster or Act of God hits. These “force majeure” clauses, which may include pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and war, […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

CPUC Okays $213M in Building Decarb Projects & Outreach

26 Mar

State energy regulators approved March 26 allocating $200 million over four years to support two building decarbonization programs. The decision is “sensible, bold and pragmatic,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. He noted it addresses California’s over-reliance on gas-powered heaters and appliances. Of the state’s total natural gas consumption, 12% is used by […]

The Buzz

19 Mar

The pandemic has slowed down solar projects but there is an unprecedented increase in new installed capacity in 2019. This year and future ones may be a different story but solar proponents expect solar capacity to keep rising in and outside California over the long haul. Large intermittent renewable generation paired with storage provides more […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Opinionated: Boom in Electric Transportation Means SoCal Jobs

9 Mar

In the 1990s, Southern California was lamenting the demise of its once thriving auto industry. But the rise of electric transportation in recent years has created a new boom, according to a report  recently issued by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.. And with that boom comes jobs, according to the report, titled “Economic […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]

Generator Earnings Largely Greener Dollar & Power Wise

2 Mar

Merchant generators in California saw mostly improved annual and quarterly earnings in the season’s reports, with the exception of AES. Both its annual and quarterly earnings fell. Some of the firms increased their renewable portfolios and touted their energy storage. Nearly all of the companies committed to reducing emissions. AES: This Virginia-based generator with operations […]

SoCal Utilities Report Surge in Profit

27 Feb

The parent companies of the investor-owned utilities in Southern California reported rosy 2019 earnings, in contrast to Pacific Gas & Electric. The latter continued to suffer major losses while striving to reorganize and emerge from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison. Sempra Energy is the parent company […]

The Buzz

20 Feb

The West Coast’s first LNG export project looks like its headed for federal approval. This week, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission votes 2-1 to tentatively disapprove the Coos Bay project because of Oregon’s recent permit rejection. A majority of the federal energy regulators also reject the New York grid operator’s capacity market revisions, undermining […]

Edison Asks for More Money for Wildfire Mitigation

18 Feb

A new plan to address wildfires submitted by Southern California Edison asks state authorities for an additional $322 million to prevent utility line sparked fires over what it requested just three months ago in its general rate case. The total is $3.823 billion to mitigate blazes over three years. Edison submitted its 2020-2022 wildfire management […]

New Bill Seeks to Limit Private Utility Lobbying

12 Feb

State legislation was introduced that would significantly reduce the size of investor-owned utilities political contributions to campaign coffers. AB 2079 by Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (R-Placer) would restrict contributions from Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to $3,000 per political campaign under proposed revisions to the state’s Political Reform […]

CPUC Sets Priorities for Utility Microgrids

27 Jan

In the wake of devastating wildfires, followed by deliberate grid shutdowns to prevent even more utility-sparked fires, major electric companies released plans for keeping communities powered during shutoffs. The plans submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are part of microgrid proceeding before the California Public Utilities […]

Private Utilities Pitch Array of Microgrid Projects, Many Fossil-Fueled

27 Jan

New microgrid proposals by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric aim to get a variety of short- and long-term projects online within the next few months to keep power flowing during utility shutoffs when wildfire threats escalate. If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, hundreds of millions […]

Edison to Reap Nearly $5B for 2020 Energy Costs

16 Jan

State energy regulators Jan. 16 unanimously approved Southern California Edison collecting $4.7 billion in energy and greenhouse gas emission projected costs this year from current and former ratepayers. Edison’s 2020 electric resource procurement forecast authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission includes $3.72 billion in power costs. Edison stated that the generation it owns and […]