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News Roundup: GM Sees the EV Light

24 Nov

General Motors announced it will cease its opposition to California’s tailpipe emissions reduction work, asserting it is now committed “to an all-electric, zero emission future.” For about a year and a half, General Motors led the effort to strip California of its vehicle emissions regulatory power. Three weeks after the election that took down the […]

Guest Juice: Solar Gets Better, Cheaper

24 Nov

By Feiridoon Sioshansi Solar projects, particularly the utility-scale variety, are now considered the cheapest way to generate power in California and many other parts of the U.S., according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s new report 2020 Utility-Scale Solar Data Update. It provides the latest trends in ground-mounted solar projects larger than 5 MWAC. It […]

PG&E’s $7.5B Ratepayer Bond Would Assume Shareholder Debt

10 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking regulatory permission to shift $7.5 billion of its 2017 wildfire costs from shareholders to ratepayers. Ratepayer advocate groups, both large and small, strenuously object on grounds it places an inordinate financial risk on utility customers while providing them little or no benefit. “It is morally reprehensible,” April Rose Maurath […]

The Buzz

6 Nov

Neil Chatterjee, who has served as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair for more than two years, is suddenly replaced. President Trump late Thursday names James Danly the new FERC chief. In blue California, state utility regulators approve Southern California Edison’s plan to issue $337 million in ratepayer-backed bonds to recover the costs of making […]

SCE $337M Ratepayer-Funded Bond Approved

5 Nov

With no discussion, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to allow Southern California Edison to issue $337 million in bonds fully backed by ratepayers early next year. They are to cover the first round of the utility’s recent grid hardening costs. Intervenors who opposed SCE’s initial bond proposal, led by The Wild Tree Foundation, […]

Sempra Energy’s Earnings are Middle of the Road

5 Nov

Sempra Energy’s latest earnings were not as bright as those of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp, nor as dismal as Edison International’s, both of which were reported last week. Sempra’s profits fell to $421 million, or $1.21 a share, compared to $909 million, or $2.93 a share, in last year’s third quarter. At the same […]

The Buzz

30 Oct

Two California private utility parents report third quarter earnings, one bearing good news and the other far from rosy. Pacific Gas & Electric gets a post-bankruptcy bounce. Edison International goes the opposite direction. SoCalGas gets slammed for its climate damaging activities, from undermining home electrification to suing the state for its clean trucks rule. Sen. […]

Edison’s Earnings Plummet, PG&E’s Shoot Upward

29 Oct

The two largest investor-owned utilities in the state reported starkly divergent earnings for the third quarter, with Edison International pointing to losses due to fire liability amped up by climate change. Pacific Gas & Electric reported gains in the third quarter ending Sept. 30, three months after emerging from bankruptcy. Edison International: Southern California Edison’s […]

Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

26 Oct

In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries. There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate […]

The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

CPUC Lets PG&E Recover $447M From Ratepayers for Wildfires

22 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to pass on $447 million of its various wildfire mitigation costs to ratepayers without undergoing a reasonableness review. PG&E will raise residential rates over 17 months, starting this December, by an average $48. CPUC President Marybel Batjer insisted the approval “will […]

Recurring Problem Forced Diablo Canyon Nuke Unit Offline

20 Oct

The untimely Oct. 15 shut down of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s Unit 2 is the second malfunction in a critical component of its electric generator, which was just rebuilt. In July, the same Pacific Gas & Electric unit was forced offline because then, as now, the cooling system that lowers the extreme heat inside […]

CPUC Judge Adds Ratepayer Protections to $337M SCE Bond

20 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission pushes back against a controversial proposal by Southern California Edison to put its ratepayers on the hook for $337 million in new debt. The utility plans to raise the money from bondholders to cover its costs of hardening power equipment against fire threats, which will be fully repaid by SCE […]

The Buzz

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric seeks a couple of billion dollars more from ratepayer pocketbooks for utility-sparked wildfires in 2017 and 2018. It also asks state regulators for the green light to put its long-time headquarters in San Francisco up for sale. It says it will give the gain to customers. In other news, the grid […]

The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

News Roundup: SCE Reaches $2B Deal with Fire Insurers

25 Sep

Southern California Edison agreed to a nearly $2 billion settlement to cover all claims by insurance companies for payouts they made to businesses and homeowners harmed by the utility-sparked 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, and the 2018 Montecito mudslides. The agreement announced Sept. 23 pays $1.6 billion to insurance firms for third party fire claims […]

Net Present Value for Dummies

23 Sep

The new law created by AB 1054 seeks to tamp down rising utility bills by mandating that when the companies issue bonds paid back by ratepayers they use the lowest rate possible to save customers the most money. That is to be accomplished by applying a net present value analysis. This analysis reflects that a […]

Why Did Two California Power Plants Go Offline When Needed?

15 Sep

Anticipation surrounds a multi-agency analysis of which power plants unexpectedly went offline and what failures may have precipitated the call for rolling power outages in California mid-August. Now the release of that analysis is delayed until October rather than later this month.  The California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, […]

News Roundup: CPUC Rejects Director’s Whistleblower Claim

27 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission is refuting claims by its embattled executive director that she has been illegally forced out. Alice Stebbins dismissal is be discussed at an Aug. 31 public Commission hearing. She was placed on indefinite leave Aug. 4. The attorney representing the state agency claims in a letter that Stebbins “engaged in […]

Utility Owned Residential Rooftop Solar Doesn’t Work

25 Aug

Amid a pandemic and struggling economy, U.S. rooftop solar promises continued growth and some utilities still want a piece of the action. But new research shows that customers reap few benefits. As the market moves beyond early adopters, there is some logic in having solar built by utilities with expertise in energy instead of consumers […]

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