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Legislative Panel Refocuses on Flammable Fuels Reduction

15 Aug

Following three hearings on utility wildfire liability risks from strict liability, a fourth legislative conference committee hearing on wildfires focused on the huge amount of highly flammable fuels in forested areas, including 129 million dead and dying trees. “It is critical to reduce wildfire fuels,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), co-chair of the legislative conference […]

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 […]

$120M Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Deal Inked

8 Aug

State and local agencies and SoCal Gas Aug. 8 agreed to a $119.5 million settlement to resolve the public claims arising from the massive methane leak that occurred at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles in 2015. Attorney General Javier Becerra emphasized, however, that the company still faces hundreds of […]

CPUC Focuses on Power Shutoffs

12 Jul

State energy regulators July 12 unanimously approved opening a rulemaking to assess the cause of the growing rate of residential utility disconnections because of non-payment. The goal is to reduce shutoffs. The California Public Utilities Commission also voted  to enhance utilities’ ability to de-energize power lines during risky weather events, such as hot high winds. […]

High Court Nominee Rulings Scare Clean Air Advocates

11 Jul

D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday evening, wrote key rulings that restricted federal agencies’ ability to reduce climate pollution, including from power plants. “Kavanaugh’s views put the demands of polluters and big corporations before the rights of people, and he cannot be trusted to protect our communities, our […]

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 […]

Shorts

2 Jul

CR&R Environmental, a waste management company in Perris, has begun injecting renewable natural gas into the SoCal Gas pipeline system, the utility announced July 2. The gas will be used to power 400 CR&R waste hauling trucks based at another location. CR&R produces the gas from green waste it collects in Southern California and then […]

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 […]

Shorts

27 Jun

The most important legislation of the session, which would allow California’s grid operator to become a region-wide balancing authority, made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  AB 813 by Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), chair of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee, was forwarded to the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 4-2 vote June 26.  Sen. […]

Undercurrents

19 Jun

Updated June 20. Colorado is signing on to California’s auto emissions standards, making it the fifteenth state or jurisdiction (including the District of Columbia) to do so. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order June 19 signaling the state’s intention to enforce the standards. Hickenlooper made the move just ahead of an expected proposal […]

CA Leaders Defer Cap & Trade Expenditure Decisions

12 Jun

As state lawmakers race to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year by June 15, they’ve decided to make any final decisions about how to spend the proceeds from carbon cap-and-trade program auctions later this session. Legislative budget conferees agreed that more time is needed to resolve substantial differences in both the amount of […]

PG&E Stock Hit by Mounting Potential Fire Liability

11 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric shares took a beating June 11 after CalFire revealed last Friday that the utility’s power lines were involved in starting 12 more wildfires north of San Francisco last fall. Increasing liability for PG&E is that CalFire alleged the utility violated state fire protection standards in eight of those blazes. Earlier this […]

The Buzz

8 Jun

The feisty Air Resources Board knocks hard on federal regulators’ door. The aim is to have a serious discussion with the Trump Administration about plans to knock out California’s tighter greenhouse gas controls for autos. Other potential bad news for the Golden State is the mega bucks it will cost if Trump et al succeed […]

Climate Roundup: ARB Seeks Fed Powwow on Car Pollution Rules

7 Jun

The California Air Resources Board renewed its request to meet with federal regulators to discuss the Trump Administration’s plan to loosen vehicle emission standards. That controversial change also includes rescinding California’s authority to set tighter greenhouse gas controls. Weakening vehicle emission rules would “result in significant harm to public health and the environment, as well […]

Nuclear & Coal Bailout to Hike Home Utility Bills

7 Jun

Californians could be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for power if the Trump Administration advances a plan to bail out coal and nuclear power plant owners and operators. It would cost the nation’s electricity ratepayers more than $30 billion annually on their power bills, skeptics say about the subsidies under discussion in Washington. […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

30 May

The state Senate passed two energy bills May 29. One seeks to use excess renewable energy to create hydrogen and the other to provide funds to fill the local financial gap that will accompany closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo. Lawmakers approved SB 1369 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which […]

JUICE: Dousing the Flames

29 May

Like pleading the 5th, controversial news announcements made late on Fridays are automatically suspect. End of the week releases are notorious for attempting to bury the news, be it an unpopular vote, poor earnings, and/or action that violates legal and/or regulatory requirements. Just before the start of this last three-day Memorial Day Weekend, CalFire quietly […]

LADWP Budget Serves as Lightening Rod

22 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board May 22 adopted a $5.4 billion budget for the muni’s power system for fiscal year 2018-19. Approval, however, came amid controversy over the department’s future reliance on natural gas power, its comparatively meager emphasis on energy efficiency in rental housing, and its ongoing inability to systematically […]

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 […]