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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 […]

Bankruptcy May be the Excuse for Expedited Rate Recovery of PG&E’s 2019 Fire Costs

2 Apr

The pandemic and the fast approaching wildfire season increases the urgency of getting Pacific Gas & Electric out of bankruptcy by June 30, California Public Utilities Commission Marybel Batjer said. “We want to clear the regulatory landscape for PG&E’s exit from Chapter 11” to allow it to access the legislatively created $20 billion wildfire fund. […]

PG&E Won’t Use Victim Fund to Pay Criminal Penalty

31 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric did an about face in response to outrage from the fire victims committee that it planned to dip into the $13.5 billion wildfire victim fund to pay its $4 million penalty for 85 criminal charges arising from igniting the 2018 Camp Fire. The company pled guilty March 17 to felony charges, […]

CAISO Approves $142M in New Transmission, Sees Decline in Load

26 Mar

Demand on the California grid has dropped by 5% since state residents were instructed to stay in their homes to slow the pace of the coronavirus, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during the March 25 board meeting. During its first totally telephonic business meeting mid-week, the board of […]

PG&E Financing Plan Struggles in Market Storm

24 Mar

The current market volatility is creating difficulties for the deals essential to Pacific Gas & Electric’s emergence from bankruptcy. “It’s very, very challenging,” said Gabe Grosberg, Standard &Poor’s senior director, of the pandemic’s impact on the market and in turn PG&E’s reorganization efforts. “The economy will continue to be bad at least until the third […]

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 […]

Renewable-Battery Projects Beat out Stand Alone Facilities

19 Mar

Combining utility scale solar and wind projects with batteries provides greater value at lower costs than either stand-alone intermittent renewable or battery projects, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds. That is particularly true for California with the surge in renewable resources connected to its grid. Large renewable generation paired with storage […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

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 […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]

PG&E Faces Unprecedented $2.14B Penalty for Fires

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric was slapped with the largest financial penalty in California Public Utilities Commission history as punishment for the utility’s role in the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 in Northern California. The CPUC Feb. 27 announced its Administrative Law Judge decision that imposes $2.137 billion in penalties against the investor-owned utility. Previously, […]

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 […]

New PG&E Exit Fee More than Doubles CCAs Tab

27 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 27 unanimously approved big hikes in the exit fees community choice aggregators must pay to Pacific Gas & Electric. The Commission’s 5-0 vote was cast with no discussion. Community choice organizations whose customers left PG&E to join CCA programs in 2017 and 2018 will see roughly 60% increase in […]

PG&E Suffers Big Loss in 2019

24 Feb

PG&E Corp. suffered a larger loss in net income last year than in the previous year. However, its 4th quarter loss for 2019 was about half the size of its 2018 fourth quarter hit. In its latest earnings report, the parent company reported a loss of $7.7 billion, at minus $14.50 a share, for 2019. […]

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 […]

JUICE: PCIA for Dummies

18 Feb

Community choice aggregators in Pacific Gas & Electric territory struggle with whether to accept nuclear energy from the utility’s Diablo power plant. This year is the first time PG&E has offered community choice entities a share of the nuke’s output, although they’ve paid for it every year since they were formed.   Local clean energy […]

Spotlight on Cost of San Diego Gas Pipe Replacement

6 Feb

State energy regulators voted 4-0 to allow interested parties to litigate SoCal Gas’ and San Diego Gas’ & Electric’s proposed $677 million price tag for a 50-mile natural gas pipeline replacement project. The California Public Utilities Commission decision cast Feb 6 requires that the cost of the line’s replacement and testing be scrutinized in a […]

PG&E’s New Bankruptcy Plan Meets Newsom Part Way

3 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric’s latest plan to settle with creditors strikes a compromise with Gov. Gavin Newsom. The multi-billion-dollar revised reorganization plan released late on Friday, Jan. 31, includes replacing some of the members of the corporate and utility boards–most of whom have only been in place for a year–with new members who are California […]

Western Real Time Market Produces $270M in Savings

30 Jan

Participants of the grid operator’s expanding real-time Western Energy Imbalance Market reaped additional economic and environmental benefits. Those include gross benefits of nearly $61 million for the fourth quarter of last year. For all of 2019, it was nearly $270 million. Increased coordination “creates operational savings and greater integration of variable resources to meet the […]

Shorts

30 Jan

The proverbial champagne bottle was broken Jan. 30 on a new compressed renewable natural gas fueling station by SoCal Gas and the mayor of Bakersfield. The station serves gas to trucks and cars made from methane, including that captured from dairy digestors in the Central Valley.  “As one of the most important food and dairy […]