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CCAs Prevail on Central Procurement Legislation

10 Jul

In the face of stiff and broad-based opposition, a state Senate committee July 10 declined to advance a bill to create a central power procurement authority to meet resource adequacy requirements. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) could not muster the seven votes required to get his bill, AB 56, through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications […]

Shorts

29 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 30 approved lifting the direct access cap in investor-owned utility territories by 4,000 GWh. There is a long list of large energy users seeking to receive power from direct access providers since it was capped after the 2000-01 energy crisis.  CPUC President Mike Picker said the additional direct access […]

Juice: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Faces First of Legal Claims for Camp Fire

20 Nov

While the massive Camp Fire in Butte County still smoldered, a class action lawsuit was filed by nearly two dozen residents of Paradise against Pacific Gas & Electric and its parent corporation over utility equipment allegedly sparking the conflagration. The suit was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court Nov. 16. The day the fire […]

CA Set to Meet 2020 Renewable Standard

1 Nov

California is on target to meet that state’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard, according to a California Public Utilities Commission report to the Legislature on Nov. 1. However, community choice aggregators and direct access providers will have to pick up their pace in procuring renewable energy. “California continues on its path to a 100 percent […]

JUICE: The Direct Access Elephant

16 Oct

Energy regulators’ controversial vote last week to raise the fees on customers who’ve left investor-owned utilities for community energy programs is not expected to halt or significantly impede existing and emerging community aggregators up and down the state. The estimated 15 percent increase in community energy programs’ share of utility generation costs under the newly […]

Climate Roundup: ESPs Fall Short on Renewables

16 Oct

A new law raises the cap on direct access providers by 4,000 GWh, or up to 15 percent of total retail load. However, the bulk of the energy service providers who make power deals with commercial and industrial energy users get failing grades on their renewable portfolio standard compliance. Direct access companies are required to […]

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 […]

CPUC Hits Community Choice with Higher Costs

11 Oct

Facing significant opposition in a shifting energy world, the California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 11 unanimously approved a decision that will raise the bills of community energy and direct access customers by shifting more private utility portfolio costs onto them. In voting this week, commissioners backed revisions to the controversial Power Charge Indifference Adjustment methodology […]

New Laws Fully Fund Diablo Canyon Closure & Lift Direct Access Cap

20 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 19 signed a bill to restore funds the California Public Utilities Commission cut from a closure cost settlement agreement for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County. The next day he signed another measure to expand direct access to power supplies by businesses. SB 1090 will backfill […]

PCIA Alternate Rejects Cost Limits on Utility Deals

20 Aug

Proposed restrictions on how much, and for how long, community aggregators and direct access customers are on the hook for their estimated share of private utility energy contracts would be tossed out under an alternate proposal released last week. California Public Utilities Commission member Carla Peterman’s alternate decision to reform the controversial Power Charge Indifference […]

Final Votes on Big Energy Bills Are Uncertain

16 Aug

In the final days of this legislative session, passage of the most significant state energy measures is in doubt. AB 813, by Assemblmember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), that would allow the California Independent System Operator to become a western-wide balancing authority, was pulled off the Assembly Floor Aug. 16. It was redirected to the Rules Committee. […]

Revised Power Charge Gets Mixed Reception

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision Aug. 1 that attempts to resolve differences over how to allocate private utility power portfolio costs between customers that remain with an investor-owned utility and those that depart. The proposal modifies the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, which was created to avoid saddling remaining utility ratepayers with […]

Juice: Big Energy Bills on Vacation Hold

10 Jul

Before lawmakers went on their month-long summer break at the end of last week, they advanced a pile of energy legislation that is a mix of the old and new. Awaiting legislators’ return to the state capitol are significant measures to create full blown expansions of the state’s wholesale energy market, clean energy mandate and […]

Juice: Centralizing to Decentralize

2 Jul

As community choice aggregation, distributed generation, and interest by companies in making or purchasing their own power rise, California energy officials appear ready to change the state’s electricity market under the banner of “customer choice.” It’s uncertain what the California Public Utilities Commission will recommend in its final analysis outlining how customer choice is changing […]

Bill Allowing Unlimited Direct Access Advances

28 Jun

Legislation lifting the cap on the ability of large businesses and industries to be served by non-utility energy service providers passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 27 despite significant opposition, including from the panel chair. SB 237 by Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), which would remove limits on direct access, was approved […]

CPUC Proposes Multi-Year Resource Adequacy Requirement

22 Feb

Facing growing concerns about the cost of assuring resource adequacy for the state’s electric grid, the California Public Utilities Commission rolled out a plan to establish a multi-year capacity procurement obligation, which it debuted at a meeting Feb. 22. The proposal comes against the backdrop of the grid operator recently resorting to reliability must-run contracts […]

Regulators Okay Expanded Integrated Resource Planning Process

8 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 9 approved including community energy and independent retail suppliers in its Integrated Resource Planning process. The unanimous decision requires these energy providers, along with the state’s private utilities, to submit resource plans demonstrating how they’ll do their part to help cut greenhouse gases in California by 42 million metric […]

No Clear Path to More Consumer Choice

1 Nov

California utility regulators ongoing struggle with how to create more customer choice in electricity was not alleviated during a workshop held in the state capital building this week. At the end of the day, few concrete proposals emerged from various industry stakeholders’ differing, but largely piecemeal perspectives. The Oct.31 meeting was the second that the […]

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 & […]