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New PG&E Head to Reap $9M in Year One

16 Apr

The new chief executive officer of bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric will receive $9 million his first year on the job at the troubled company. According to PG&E’s April 16 Securities & Exchange Commission filing, the base salary of Bill Johnson, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, is $2.5 million. He also is to […]

Edison Seeks Big Rise on its Return On Equity from FERC

11 Apr

Southern California Edison asked federal energy regulators April 11 for more than a 50 percent increase on its return on equity to help ameliorate the cost of its “extraordinary” wildfire liability. Edison seeks to raise its revenue requirement on federally regulated transmission lines from $1.038 billion to $1.328 billion annually, a 28 percent increase. That […]

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 […]

The Buzz

7 Mar

House Dems blast the Department of Energy’s foot dragging on efficiency standard implementation while Republicans point elsewhere. Both sides agree, however, that saving energy is a good thing. State lawmakers, regulators, other power providers and generators agree that ensuring the energy caterpillar becomes a butterfly requires that decarbonization of the energy sector be affordable and […]

EPIC Program Aims to Get Ahead of Epic Changes

20 Feb

Key focuses of the state program dispensing $162 million a year are advancing innovative clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities and communities with high fire danger. Another top priority of the Electric Program Investment Charge is diversifying energy storage in California to help meet climate protection and renewable targets in a changing environment, said speakers […]

Juice: Clear Cutting for Fire Safety?

19 Feb

Oaks and other trees in California beware. The state’s investor-owned utilities have declared open season on trees in the name of fire safety. In doing so, utilities are set to cut down 400,000 trees this year alone, largely along their distribution lines where Californians live and work. Indiscriminate tree cutting and topping has the potential […]

The Buzz

7 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago. Bankrupt PG&E’s plan stands out. That includes […]

PG&E Files Wildfire Safety Plan, Warns Bankruptcy Could Interfere

7 Feb

The private utilities Feb. 6 filed their mandated plans for reducing wildfire threats from electric equipment. The plans filed by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric at the California Public Utilities Commission are required under last year’s wildfire risk reduction legislation, SB 901. Much of the focus is […]

Bankruptcy Watch: $1.5 B in PG&E Loans Okayed

6 Feb

The federal bankruptcy court gave Pacific Gas & Electric permission to tap into $1.5 billion in loans to fund utility operations for 13 weeks on Feb. 1. It is part of a larger $5.5 billion financing package PG&E lined up in late January with a series of big banks, including JPMorgan, Chase Bank, Bank of […]

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 […]

Newsom Proposes Tempered Energy & Climate Change Spending

14 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first state budget proposal would make cuts from last year’s record spending on some energy-related programs, but overall would maintain funding for energy agency operations and staffing, even providing for some small staffing increases. Unlike former Gov. Jerry Brown, who heavily featured climate change expenditures in his annual budget messages, Newsom focused […]

The Buzz

10 Jan

State energy regulators unanimously move to begin developing a framework for determining how much of private utilities’ fire liability costs should be paid by ratepayers. The vote comes amidst ongoing protests by those outraged by the death and destruction caused by wildfires both sparked and possibly sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric. The California Public […]

Juice: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Punts on Tropical Forest Offsets

20 Nov

The California Air Resources Board delayed endorsing use of tropical forest offsets for compliance with the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program. In the face of heavy pressure from indigenous groups and some environmentalists during a Nov. 16 hearing on the issue, air regulators decided to postpone a decision on the proposed use of tropical forest offsets […]

The Buzz

15 Nov

California air regulators take initial steps on cap-and-trade program revisions to double greenhouse gas cuts in the decade ahead. The same day, a report is released that pushes land management changes to slash greenhouse gases in California. That includes improved forestry and woodlands management, slower conversion of natural lands and greener agriculture. At the nation’s […]

JUICE: Election Results in the Wild West

7 Nov

Nov. 8 Editor’s Note: We will update the results when they are final, but California Democrats may have won up to six Republican House seats. Voters in California and neighboring states provided mixed messages on promoting and funding climate protection this midterm election. As of press time, Golden State voters may have replaced up to […]

California IOUs Show Handy Profits

6 Nov

Updated Nov. 7. California’s three major investor-owned utilities were profitable during the third quarter of this year. That includes Pacific Gas & Electric, which lost money last quarter and faces ongoing uncertainties over wildfire liability. Here’s a breakdown of the third quarter results. Edison International: Edison reported third quarter earnings this year of $513 million, […]

Juice: New Rules of the Road

23 Oct

As Gavin Newsom draws close to becoming California’s next governor, the biggest energy policy question he’ll face is what to do about oil when it comes to meeting the state’s 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction target. Meeting the 2050 goal will require the state to move away from consuming, producing and refining oil. Over the […]

JUICE: Fire, Fury & Finances

20 Aug

The collapse of legislative efforts to shield utilities from liability when their power lines spark wildfires—even when they’ve followed all safety rules—may be seen as a moral victory by the bill’s opponents. But, electric power ratepayers won’t be protected from higher bills in the years ahead. The effort collapsed under major pressure from consumer advocates, […]

The Buzz

17 Aug

Few are holding their breath on votes on the big pending energy bills. The fate of legislation creating grid regionalization and a 100 percent green energy bill, as well as addressing wildfire liability, is anyone’s guess. Adequate and continuous funding for wildfire mitigation and management in California is the elephant in the room that legislators […]