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PG&E Stock Falls Further After Legal Ruling

20 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric’s stock remained in the dumps Aug. 20 after a federal bankruptcy court Aug. 16 lifted a freeze on some $18 billion in claims stemming from the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County. While CalFire found the devastating fire, which swept through Santa Rosa, was caused by private electrical equipment rather than […]

PG&E Sees Big Loss, Hedge Funds Offer $15B

12 Aug

Unlike California’s two other private utilities, massive wildfire claims caused Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. to lose a whopping $2.6 billion, according to its second quarter 2019 earnings report released Aug. 9. That loss, equating to a minus $4.95 per share, compares to a $984 million loss, or $1.98 a share, in the second quarter […]

Generator Earnings Generally Muted

6 Aug

Updated Aug. 8. Independent generators with operations in California showed mixed results in the second quarter of 2019, though NextEra enjoyed a major boost in net income. Here is a summary of their latest earnings reports. AES: This Virginia-based global energy company earned $17 million in the second quarter of 2019, or 2 cents a […]

California IOU Earnings in the Black

5 Aug

California investor-owned utilities showed profits during the second quarter this year, as PG&E announced ahead of its quarterly earnings statement it hopes to deliver shareholder returns even while it’s in bankruptcy. California energy companies credited Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers for creating a new wildfire liability insurance fund for state utilities earlier this summer, […]

Shorts

5 Aug

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded San Diego Gas & Electric from a negative to a positive outlook July 31 based on improved fire safety programs at the utility and enactment of AB 1054, which sets up a new utility wildfire insurance fund. In a statement, the utility said it “has invested about $1.5 billion in a […]

TURN Faces Financial Crimp Due to CPUC Inaction

11 Jul

The state’s chief independent ratepayer advocacy group is having trouble meeting payroll. The reason, according to Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, is that the California Public Utilities Commission has not been abiding by its 75-day deadline for acting on intervenor compensation claims. In a rare plea to the CPUC at its […]

The Buzz

3 Jul

Expected legislation incorporating the Governor’s wish list for a catastrophic wildfire recovery fund to bail out private utilities facing big liabilities is to get its first airing July 5. The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approves bills shifting the cost of supply shortages to energy providers that fall short  and increasing the efficiency of […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

CPUC Weighs Penalizing PG&E for 2017 Wildfires

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announced the evening of June 27 that it initiated a proceeding to consider fining Pacific Gas & Electric for 15 of the 17 devastating blazes its equipment sparked in October 2017. “PG&E’s violations during the 2017 fire siege are extensive and disturbing, and go to basic requirements, such as the […]

CPUC to Investigate SoCal Gas Safety

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 27 launched an investigation into the safety cultures of SoCal Gas and its parent company following large and small gas pipeline explosions and leaks since 2015. “There are significant questions about SoCal Gas’ safety practices and priorities,” said Commissioner Liane Randolph. She pointed to a report released mid-May on […]

PG&E Creditors Propose $30B Reorganization Plan

26 Jun

A group of Pacific Gas & Electric bondholders and unsecured creditors are pushing a $30 billion financial health plan for the bankrupt utility that would be backed principally by new equity. The plan filed by the Ad Hoc Committee of Unsecured Noteholders June 25 asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montali to end ahead of […]

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 […]