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S&P Pressures Sen. Wildfire Panel on Strict Liability

11 Jun

The Senate Select Committee on the Governor’s 2019 Report: Wildfires & Climate Change was warned that the credit rating agencies would further downgrade the investor-owned utilities if the state’s strict liability standard applied to utility equipment-sparked wildfires remained on the books. Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) waived a letter from Standard & Poor’s during a […]

The Buzz

30 May

This week is all about measures to reduce the impacts of utility-sparked wildfires in California. In the midst of all the smoke, CPUC president Mike Picker says he’ll soon retire. Earlier, he and other state energy regulators approve the investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risks from their equipment. But, the CPUC notes, this is […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Approved With Some Caveats

30 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 30 approved investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risk under SB 901, as expected. “Approval of these plans is just a first step,” said Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen at the CPUC’s meeting this week. “We are learning as we go along,” added Commission President Mike Picker. The plans, said […]

Wildfire Panel Calls for Redoing Utility Legal & Financial Rules

30 May

The legal standard for finding utilities at fault for sparking wildfires, as well as for determining how much of their wildfire expenses can be recovered from ratepayers, are in serious need of overhaul, according to a draft report by the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost & Recovery. The executive summary of the report, released May […]

CPUC Rejiggers Utility Cost Recovery Te$t

28 May

A California Public Utilities Commission decision proposes a new cost recovery reasonableness yardstick to determine the extent of ratepayer-funded cushioning of private utilities facing huge wildfire liabilities to keep them financially healthy and operating safely. Or in the alternative, the financial stress test is to evaluate the impact of requiring utility customers to pay for […]

The Buzz

16 May

It is better late than never for Southern California Edison, which finally gets its 2018-2020 rate case approved. State energy regulators okay a revenue requirement for 2018 of nearly $5.2 billion. Over the three-year period, Edison will reap a 4 percent increase, not counting recovery of its wildfire safety costs. Utility regulators this week also […]

CPUC Okays 4% Boost in SCE’s 2018-20 Rate Case

16 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved increasing Southern California Edison’s 2018 revenue requirement from the commission’s initially proposed $5.102 billion to $5.117 billion. As part of the triennial general rate case belatedly approved by the commission May 16, Edison’s revenue requirement for 2018 is below that of 2017. But, the CPUC gave Edison 92 […]

FERC Reiterates Support for Storage, Sees Solid Summer Supply in CA

16 May

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 3-1 vote cast May 16 denied a rehearing request of its orders seeking to advance participation of energy storage technologies in wholesale power markets. The orders included prohibiting states from not feeding their storage resources into the wholesale market. “Energy storage,” said Neil Chatterjee, FERC chair, “has the […]

Mitigation Fee Proposed for Water-Cooled Plants

15 May

A phase out of the use of seawater to cool spinning turbines in power plants was mandated in 2010 to reduce coastal ecosystem harm. Since 2015, plant owners have been allowed to pay annual mitigation fees until they slash use of once-through-cooling or shut down their facilities. The annual fee rises with the amount of […]

Opinionated:To CPE or Not To CPE

14 May

By Steven Kelly After many years of work, the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year finally adopted a multi-year resource adequacy program to help ensure grid reliability. Now, the CPUC is considering additional changes to the adopted framework, particularly the insertion of a “central procurement entity” to mitigate the risk that the California Independent […]

Generators in the Black this Year

7 May

Power generators reported brighter outlooks at the end of the first quarter of 2019. But, three reported lower earnings and two higher. They have released their first quarter earnings statements over the past couple weeks. The details are as follows: AES: In the first quarter of 2019, Virginia-based AES earned $154 million, or 23 cents […]

Sempra Earnings Improve

7 May

Sempra Energy earned $441 million in the first quarter of 2019, up from $347 million during the same period in 2018, according to the San Diego-based company’s latest financial statement. On a per share basis, earnings during the first three months of 2019 were $1.59, up from $1.33 during the first quarter of 2018. “Sempra […]

Undercurrents: Utilities Warn of Power Shutoffs

6 May

The state’s three big investor-owned power utilities are launching an advertising campaign to let Californians know they’ll be routinely shutting off electrical service in fire-prone areas during wind storms. As part of their public information campaign, the utilities are urging the state’s 11 million residents who live in elevated fire risk areas to prepare emergency […]

The Buzz

2 May

PG&E’s first quarter earnings this year are far from rosy, but not as grim as expected. Earnings take an expected hit from wildfire, bankruptcy and safety expenses, which PG&E hopes to more than recoup from energy regulators and ultimately ratepayers. Southern California Edison’s parent earnings rise but that doesn’t stop its CEO from whining that […]

PG&E Earnings Fall

2 May

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s latest earnings show income that is one-third of what it reported a year earlier, falling to $136 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019, or 25 cents per share. That compares to $442 million in net income reaped a year earlier, or 86 cents a share. The […]

Edison Head Says CPUC Impedes Financial Recovery

1 May

The parent company of Southern California Edison, Edison International, reported stronger earnings, with total net income of $308 million the first three months of 2018, compared to $242 million in the first quarter of 2018. Subtracting out corporate costs, the net profit for Edison shareholders was $278 million, or 85 cents per share, the first […]

CPUC Decouples Wildfire Plan Approval & Cost Recovery

30 Apr

Three California Public Utilities Commission proposed decisions largely approve the private utilities’ wildfire mitigation plans, but their multi-billion dollar price tags don’t get the green light. CPUC Administrative Law Judges Sarah Thomas and Peter Allen proposed guidance for the trio of utilities’ mitigation plans under SB 901 states that cost recovery “is a separate matter,” […]

JUICE: Muddy Waters & Rates

30 Apr

While passing through a corner of Nevada along Highway 395 during a drive to the Eastern side of the Sierra I was struck by the differences in the price of gasoline in the Golden and Silver states. Filling up in Nevada April 19, I paid $3.30 a gallon, saving well over a dollar per gallon. […]

Shorts

29 Apr

Updated May 2 On a 36-0 vote, the State Senate confirmed Commissioner David Hochschild to the California Energy Commission May 2. He was appointed the chair of the agency by Gov. Gavin Newsom in February, replacing outgoing Chair Bob Weisenmiller. “Taking the helm of the Commission is both a great honor and responsibility during this […]

PG&E Wants a 50%-plus Hike on its ROE

24 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking an unprecedented increase in its rate of return that would raise its revenue requirement by $1.2 billion next year. In a filing to the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E asked for a 56 percent boost in its return on equity, from the current 10. 25 percent rate to 16 […]