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CPUC Delves Into Reducing Utility Disconnections

15 Aug

Regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission kicked off a proceeding Aug. 15 that’s aimed at reducing the rising rate of energy service disconnections stemming from non-payment of monthly electricity and gas bills. Data show that more than 70,000 customers have their power or gas shut off each month due to non-payment. The CPUC opened […]

Juice: Sun Breaks through Market Clouds for Generators

13 Aug

Much attention has focused on the state’s biggest investor-owned utility’s struggles with potentially overwhelming liability from wildfire damage, with the other two utilities impacted. Meanwhile, merchant generators operating in California have struggled for years, generating far fewer headlines. All of the merchant companies, which are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, have been […]

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 […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

PG&E & Sempra Report Big Losses

6 Aug

Earnings of two of the three parent companies of California’s major investor-owned utilities took a turn for the worse in the second quarter of 2018. Pacific Gas & Electric reported the largest earnings hit because of wildfire liability followed by big losses at Sempra Energy. Meanwhile, Edison International’s earnings were largely level and could be […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

Undercurrents

17 Jul

The state’s investor-owned utilities will release their second quarter earnings statements later this month, and the results likely will be mixed. Pacific Gas & Electric announced that it expects to post a big loss. There is no indication, however, that the other two utility holding companies, Edison International and Sempra Energy, will do so. PG&E […]

Wildfire Liability Bill Goes to Conference Committee

3 Jul

Details of Sen. Bill Dodd’s SB 901 are to be hammered out in a legislative conference committee. That includes terms of standards governing when utilities could be held liable for wildfire damages. The Napa Democrat’s measure would set standards requiring utilities to improve their efforts to prevent wildfires, including more effort to clear vegetation around […]

Sempra To Sell Renewable Power and Gas Assets

28 Jun

In response to pressure from two powerful hedge fund stockholders, Sempra Energy announced June 28 it was selling off a significant portion of its assets to generate cash for its shareholders. Elliot Management and Bluescape Resources together own nearly 5 percent of Sempra stock valued at $1.3 billion. The two claim Sempra’s stock is largely […]

CPUC Adopts 2019 Resource Adequacy Determinations

21 Jun

In a move that breaks years of impasse over how to assure local resource adequacy, the California Public Utilities Commission June 21 signaled its intent to require multi-year resource adequacy procurement. It also noted it would seriously entertain creating a central purchasing agent for resource adequacy. The commission won’t make those revisions in its resource […]

PG&E Takes $2.5 B Loss for Early Wildfire Claims

21 Jun

Pacific Gas &Electric Corp. is taking a $2.5 billion hit in its upcoming quarterly earnings to cover the “low end range” of liability claims arising from 14 of l6 Northern California wildfires that burned last October and were investigated by CalFire, the utility announced during a June 21 conference call. The “high range” of liability […]

“Vulture Capitalist” Pushes for Sale of Sempra Assets

12 Jun

Will Sempra Energy suffer a fate similar to NRG? The same two private investment firms bought up a substantial number of shares of the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas and are trying to force a sale of assets to generate cash, like they successfully did with NRG. The equivalent […]

Undercurrents

5 Jun

East Bay Community Energy is one of the first community choice aggregation programs in California to develop a community economic development plan aimed at leveraging local control over power procurement to create local jobs and business development opportunities. The draft plan issued June 4 “is intended to develop a comprehensive framework for accelerating the development […]

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 […]

The Buzz

24 May

The California Independent System Operator weighs increasing payments, primarily to battery-based storage. Multiple revenue streams are being considered for energy storage that provides transmission and other services in its markets. Critics warn that lack of an honest dialogue with the Air Resources Board over excess carbon allowances will cause the state to miss its target […]

Marin Clean Energy Lands “Stable” Credit Rating

22 May

Marin Clean Energy, California’s first community choice organization, is the first of the state’s community choice aggregators to receive a credit rating. Moody’s Investor Services assigned Marin Clean Energy a “stable” Baa2 rating. The rating solidifies its financial standing, including by lowering its borrowing costs. The first of its kind credit rating notes the strength […]

Juice: Start Small on Electric Truck Charging

22 May

As the Springsteen song goes: “From small things, mama, one day big things come.” The California Public Utilities Commission should take note and resist pressure to significantly increase utility investments in heavy-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Despite calls to do so by clean air advocates and utility executives, it’s wise to take small steps towards […]

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 […]

Utilities Seek Max Return on EV Charging Program

17 May

Utility regulators came under heavy pressure this week to throw out a proposed decision authorizing California’s investor-owned electric utilities to spend some $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. During an all-parties meeting May 17, following the California Public Utilities Commission’s vote postponement on the proposal earlier this month, utilities complained it […]

FERC Orders PG&E Transmission Settlement

17 May

Federal energy regulators May 17 ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to reach a settlement with eight organizations that complained last year about the utility’s rates for transmitting power. At issue is more than $500 million of potential utility overcharges. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the order without comment as part of its consent calendar […]