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Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

Shorts

13 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric appointed a new utility chief executive officer and president. Andrew Vesey was selected to head the bankrupt utility, PG&E announced Aug. 13. Vesey was the managing director and chief executive officer of AGL Energy in Australia from 2015 to 2018. The prior 11 years, he served as AES Corp.’s chief executive […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bill Proposes Utility Wildfire Recovery Fund

3 Jul

New amendments to AB 1054 this week would create a multi-billion dollar wildfire liability fund backed principally by ratepayer money, as pushed by the governor. The measure by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) proposes a $10.5 billion revolving liquidity fund to cover private utility liabilities stemming from fires their equipment may […]

Bills to Green & Save on Energy Advance

2 Jul

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee July 2 approved bills to require load serving entities to pick up the tab for system costs caused by their supply shortages, increase the efficiency of cool roofs and require energy regulators to reveal energy providers’ rates and portfolios. AB 1584 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) would require […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Wildfire Risk Reduction Bills Pass

26 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on Wednesday approved bills seeking to reduce the risk of utility-sparked wildfires and ensure that all energy providers meet state renewable requirements and follow their integrated resource plans. At a June 26 hearing, the committee passed SB 247, which would give CalFire authority over the utilities’ mandated wildfire safety […]

U.S. Senate Energy Committee Aims to Curb Wildfires

14 Jun

To coincide with the start of this year’s wildfire season, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) held a June 13 hearing to assess wildfire threats, including from grasslands and excess fuels in forests in Alaska, California and across the U.S. Murkowski, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee chair, warned of the “proliferation of disease and insect […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

Juice: Uncle Joe Offers Climate Change Hope

4 Jun

News flash: Joe Biden just released a $1.7 trillion climate change plan as part of his Presidential campaign platform. While on the late side compared to others, including candidates who spent last weekend at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Biden’s plan may well be just as sweeping in its ambition. First and foremost, […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Ratepayer Advocates Fail to Get Official Status

28 May

Updated May 29 The federal bankruptcy court judge handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy case rejected creating a formal ratepayer committee. If  approved, it would have required the utility to pay the committee’s legal tab. “Wall Street bankers will be calling the shots, demanding a ratepayer bailout to keep PG&E profitable,” Mark Toney, The Utility […]

Climate Roundup: House Democrat Eyes Clean Energy Funding

22 May

The House Energy & Commerce Committee this week began work on advancing the “LIFT America Act,” which calls for spending $33 billion on clean energy programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure. “All of these investments will help us take an important step in combating the climate crisis, while also […]

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 […]