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Democrats Object to FERC Appointee Hearing

5 Nov

In spite of no action by the White House on the unfilled Democratic seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee Nov. 5 vetted Republican FERC nominee James Danly. Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said it was acceptable to hold the hearing because President Donald Trump had […]

Newsom Acts on Last Round of Energy Bills

14 Oct

California may soon have smart appliances that can be automatically turned off and on by energy companies to match their electricity use with power availability and price under a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. “SB 49 will help bring California’s electrical grid into the 21st century and allow us to use our […]

Governor Signs Wildfire Bills Affecting Utilities

1 Oct

Updated Oct. 2. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed energy bills Oct. 2 related to utility power shutoffs to prevent wildfires, as well as two other wildfire-related measures setting new requirements for utilities. Meanwhile, several other energy measures await action by Newsom  before the Oct. 13 deadline. He must either sign the bills into law, veto them, […]

Shorts

30 Sep

Updated Oct. 3. A ratepayer advocate group is taking Pacific Gas & Electric to task for its legal bills as the giant utility moves through its bankruptcy proceeding. The Utility Reform Network Oct. 3 blasted PG&E for spending $140 million on legal fees in the first few months of the  proceeding, paying attorneys $1,500 an […]

Energy Conservation Campaign in LA to Continue Under CPUC Order

11 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission authorized SoCal Gas to spend $5 million this summer on a media campaign to urge residents and businesses in the Los Angeles area to conserve energy in light of ongoing constraints on natural gas supplies in the region. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen said the summer campaign needs to be continued because […]

Undercurrents: Diablo Closure’s Money Impact Limited

2 Jul

The financial impact to the Central California Coast from the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is not expected to be significant. The impact of the 2,200 MW Diablo plant closure slated for 2024-25 is projected to result in an annual loss of about $800 million to San Luis Obispo […]

Bill Bolstering Distributed Resources Advances

10 Apr

Legislation to promote distributed generation and battery storage with more favorable tariffs and grid interconnection process streamlining advanced through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee April 10. It was approved despite opposition from public and investor-owned utilities. The panel also approved two bills aimed at minimizing wildfire risk from power lines. SB 288 cleared […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

Utilities’ 5-Year Demand Response Programs Okayed

6 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission modified the three investor-owned utilities’ 2018-22 demand response programs when it approved them last week. Changes in the five-year program included prohibiting resources for new customers being bid into two markets: Critical Peak Pricing and demand response programs offered by a utility or third party. According to the decision, the […]

Demand Response Rises, But Not in CA, Says FERC

13 Nov

Demand response in wholesale power markets across the U.S. grew 3 percent, or by 27,541 MW, between 2016 and 2017, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s annual update on demand response and advanced meters released last week. However, when breaking down the amount of demand response by the regional markets the picture was mixed. […]

Bills Bolster Private Utilities’ Bottom Line & Building Emission Cuts

4 Sep

In a last-minute rewrite with minimal transparency, lawmakers passed a bill shielding Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders from massive wildfire liability but lacked similar gusto to pass legislation allowing for a regionalization of California’s electric grid. The grid regionalization bill, the two-year AB 813, remained stuck in the Rules Committee throughout the final two weeks […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

Juice: Picker’s Picks

5 Jun

Editor’s note: Like Grateful Dead archivist Dick Latvala “picked” the band’s most energetic concerts for release as albums in his “Dick’s Picks” recordings, California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker picks the best resources to release energy to the Los Angeles basin’s grid to keep the area rockin’. A proposed decision to deny Southern California […]

Shorts

4 Jun

Updated June 7. Utility regulators held a two-day meeting this week on how to potentially redesign electricity rates to accommodate an increasing number of electric vehicles in the coming years. The meeting on June 7 and 8 also focused on how to address rate design to encourage production of hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles. […]

JUICE: Return to the Ike Age?

24 Apr

Federal energy regulators last week agreed to examine how to streamline the permit process for building natural gas pipeline projects. The review comes at a time when gas production has outstripped tepid national demand and turned the U.S. into a gas exporter for the first time since Dwight D. Eisenhower lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. […]

Undercurrents

18 Apr

Updated April 19. A group of Los Angeles County homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Renovate America and Renew Financial, which contract with Los Angeles County to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, failed to offer basic consumer protections. The suit claims that PACE loans provided by the […]

The Buzz

9 Mar

A sizable midweek natural gas leak in San Diego shuts down a freeway, a huge mall and requires evacuations. As bad is the accompanying lack of a quick and easy shut off. Hours before, information leaked out that natural gas withdrawals from Aliso Canyon by SoCal Gas were quietly okayed over the weekend, riling a […]

Picker Grilled on Aliso Canyon & Community Choice

7 Mar

During a March 6 hearing by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee, the California Public Utilities president was questioned about a closed-door decision to allow SoCal Gas to withdraw natural gas from Aliso Canyon. Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) was highly critical of a decision made the previous Saturday by CPUC Energy Division Director […]

Undercurrents

5 Mar

Amid many moving pieces, Southern California Edison is soliciting preferred resources to meet local power capacity needs in the Moorpark subarea of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties beginning in summer of 2021. Included in the mix are a potential transmission alternative and a transition from utility provided power to community choice. Preferred resources typically include […]

OPINIONATED: The Sorry State Of Demand Response, Smart Meters/Dumb Tariffs

22 Jan

 By Fereidoon Sioshansi The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an annual survey of demand response and advanced metering in the U.S. The 12th edition of the report was released in Dec. 2017 and anyone looking for major revelations is likely to be disappointed. Not much happens from […]