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Undercurrents: Gas Prices to Remain Low

22 Apr

Natural gas will remain plentiful and reasonably priced in California through 2030, according to an analysis presented to the California Energy Commission April 22. Ample natural gas supplies from both Western Canada and the Permian Basin in Texas—which are connected to California by interstate pipelines—will keep prices lower in the Golden State than at Henry […]

Bankruptcy Watch: Gov. Blasts PG&E Board Replacements

28 Mar

Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized Pacific Gas & Electric for its proposed new board members that include hedge fund managers and non-Californian executives. “With this move, PG&E would send a clear message that it is prioritizing quick profits for Wall Street over public safety and reliable and affordable energy service,” Newsom wrote in a March 28 […]

PG&E’s Proposal to Break Green Deals Raises Costs

19 Mar

If Pacific Gas & Electric is allowed to abrogate its long-term renewable contracts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, bankers will increase the risk premiums on clean energy project loans. That will drive up the price of renewable resources in California, attorneys warned at a legal seminar held March 18 by the Environmental Law Institute […]

U.S. Senate Panel Focuses on Emissions & the Grid

5 Mar

Climate change’s impact on the nation’s electric system and the need for more clean and reliable energy were in the spotlight during a bipartisan committee hearing this week in Washington, D.C. “The electricity sector is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to climate change, but it is perhaps the most visible and […]

Blue Mountain Pushes for New PG&E Board

4 Mar

An activist New York hedge fund that owns about 2 percent of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s shares proposed a new PG&E board last Friday. Blue Mountain Master Fund’s pick for the new chair of its proposed 13-member board is California’s former State Treasurer, Phil Angelides. Other proposed PG&E director replacements include former utility executives, […]

Opinionated: Gadgets Are Increasingly Connected

4 Mar

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Every year hordes of people from around the world gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest shows in town. This year was no exception with 4,000 companies showing their latest gadgets to 150,000 delegates from 100 countries. For the past few years, all sorts of smart […]

Losses for Two Utilities Mount Due to Wildfire Liabilities

28 Feb

California’s investor-owned utilities and their parents, with the exception of Sempra Energy, got clobbered in 2018 by wildfire liabilities. Two of the utilities together had total losses of almost $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Moreover, the financial reports showed that more losses may lie ahead. Edison International: It lost $1.4 billion, or […]

Shorts

11 Feb

Updated Feb. 12. Sempra Energy is selling its remaining wind power plants to American Electric Power for $551 million in cash, the San Diego-based company said Feb. 12. Under the agreement, it will sell wind projects in Hawaii and east of the Rockies with 724 MW of combined capacity. The deal is subject to regulatory […]

Undercurrents: CEC Chair Says Adieu

6 Feb

Updated Feb. 6. Bob Weisenmiller, California Energy Commission chair, will leave his post Feb. 21. “This position has allowed me to preside over transformative policies aimed at addressing some of California’s key energy challenges, including the threat of climate change,” he stated Feb 6. Weisenmiller, who was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, has served as […]

PG&E’S 2018 Lobbying Budget Soared

6 Feb

In the midst of the intense legislative maneuverings last summer, Pacific Gas & Electric spent more than $6 million on lobbying lawmakers and another $168,000 pushing its agenda at the California Public Utilities Commission. The utility spent the money during the third quarter of 2018, according to the utility’s Secretary of State filings. For all […]

CPUC Takes Heat for Poor Utility Ratings & Safety

31 Jan

State lawmakers Jan. 30 grilled the head state energy utility regulator over what his agency was doing to bolster utility ratings and reduce wildfire risks during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing. Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) warned California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker that the investor-owned utilities may become “un-investible” because of […]

SF Supervisors Eye Municipalizing PG&E System

30 Jan

Invoking the Green New Deal, San Francisco Supervisor Hilary Ronen Jan. 29 introduced legislation that could municipalize the power grid and natural gas system in the city. The action comes as Pacific Gas & Electric, which owns and operates those systems in the city, filed for bankruptcy. “”Their safety record is abysmal,” said Ronen, citing […]

JUICE: Regulators & Others Move to Keep Skin in PG&E Bankruptcy Game

29 Jan

State and federal energy regulators took expedited actions to protect their authority over Pacific Gas & Electric before it entered into the unknowns of federal bankruptcy court. Renewable energy companies and other generators asked both agencies to protect their ongoing power agreements with PG&E. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late on Jan. 25 stepped into […]

Sea Level Rise Poses Increasing Risk for SDG&E’s System

23 Jan

Updated Jan. 24. San Diego Gas & Electric faces the risk of significant damage to its power and natural gas distribution systems by mid-century, with more potential damage at the end of the century as the climate warms, says a pair of reports prepared for the California Energy Commission. The damages could cost the utility’s […]

PG&E Seeks Up to $5.5 B in Loans

22 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric has lined up $5.5 billion in financing through the end of 2020 to allow it to finance its operations while in federal bankruptcy court. It expects to sign loan agreements with JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, Barclays Bank and Citigroup Global Markets around Jan. 29, according to PG&E’s Jan. 23 […]

State Regulators Scrutinize Surging So Cal Energy Prices

16 Jan

Southern Californians are paying more for natural gas and electricity due to the aging and failing natural gas supply system run by SoCal Gas. Due to limited capacity to deliver gas to homes, businesses, and power generators, the price of gas in Southern California was 134 percent higher during the months of July through September […]

Shorts

15 Jan

The Department of Interior directed furloughed staff to work on oil and gas leases on federal lands without pay on the 26th day of the federal government’s shutdown. “National parks, museums, and federal offices are closed throughout the nation due to the President’s ongoing shutdown,” Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) noted Jan. 16. “But if you […]

JUICE: PG&E’s Past Bankruptcy as Prologue

14 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric is heading to bankruptcy court again to deal with overwhelming financial and legal liability. The liability it’s facing from the massive wildfires in 2017 and 2018 dwarfs the debt it struggled with during 2000-01 energy crisis when it faced huge spikes in merchant generator and wholesale power prices. And, unlike during […]

Clean Power Alliance to Enter Major Power Deals

8 Jan

The Clean Power Alliance in Southern California, which soon will become the state’s largest community choice aggregation program, is in the process of developing power purchase agreements for up to 2 million MWh a year of power to serve its growing customer base. After rolling out service to more than 31,000 customers last year, next […]

Shorts

8 Jan

Updated Jan. 10   Southern California Gas announced Jan. 10 that the utility was awarded $1.7 million from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for two projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in residential and commercial buildings. Of those fund, $1.2 million is to support a commercial water heating incentive program that provides rebates […]