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Bills on Lithium Extraction, EV Charging, Biomethane Advance

4 Aug

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee met this week and passed four energy bills. The committee halted reconvening mid-July after one lawmaker and some staff were found to be infected with Covid-19. The quartet of measures approved Aug. 3 promote electric vehicle chargers and school efficiency, lithium recovery in the Imperial Valley, turning biomass […]

The Buzz

10 Jul

As wildfires spread, the governor increases the state budget to add more than 850 firefighters. Given the double whammy of fire threats and the pandemic, firefighters are directed to take necessary safety steps, including wearing masks and social distancing.  The same rules will apply to those evacuated by the state. How to ensure the financing […]

Newsom Beefs Up Fire Fighting Budget, Adds Social Distancing Plan

9 Jul

As summer temperatures increase, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the addition of 858 fire fighters in CaFire ranks and six new California Conservation crews. Safety protocols to avoid the spread of Covid-19 will be in place for firefighters and those evacuated. “Even in a challenging budget climate, we have undertaken major action and made significant investments […]

The Buzz

2 Jul

Before the start of the fireworks, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it funded most of the $6.75 billion cash payment to fire victims. It also lined up another $12 billion to pay insurance claims as well as cities impacted by utility-sparked fires that burned from 2015-2018. Hydrogen fuel to lower transportation emissions, California’s biggest source […]

CA Budget Seeds PG&E Alternative

1 Jul

There is a clue in the new budget agreed to by lawmakers and the governor that they are serious about taking over PG&E and turning it into a non-profit utility. The budget contains a provision for a $50 million loan to the new entity under the newly enacted SB 350. That law says PG&E would […]

Bill Creating a Public Gas & Electric Becomes Law

30 Jun

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law June 30 legislation creating a state takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric if it is unable to complete its $58 billion in post bankruptcy financing by Sept. 30. If poorly maintained utility equipment causes another fire or disaster that also would trigger the takeover under SB 350 by Sen. […]

Court Approves PG&E $60B Financing Scheme, Company Issues More Debt

23 Jun

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion reorganization to resolve massive claims—from wildfire victims and other creditors—10 days ahead of a legislative June 30 deadline. That is the final date for accessing the $21 billion utility ratepayer and shareholder funded fire trust, which PG&E and the court have kept their eyes […]

The Buzz

18 Jun

Landowners’ legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s practice of allowing land to be seized for a pipeline before deciding whether to reconsider a granted permit forces FERC to ease its rehearing rules. However, the one dissenting commissioner says the new rule is a hollow victory for aggrieved property owners. Private and public utilities […]

Budget Overshadows Green Energy Bills

16 Jun

Legislation to create a California Green New Deal, along with other clean energy measures propelled forward by the pandemic, have been sidelined by the state budget crisis. AB 1839 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) would set an intent to attain clean energy, and environmental, housing and job equity goals similar to those in last year’s […]

The Buzz

11 Jun

After months of few energy items on the California Public Utilities Commission business meeting agendas, this week’s one is dense, and action packed. After honoring the death of George Floyd, the five utility regulators approve Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to install diesel-fueled generators to provide power during safety outages. The CPUC also signs off […]

PG&E Takeover Bill Passes Key Assembly Vote

9 Jun

Updated June 10 Legislation to allow California to seize Pacific Gas & Electric’s electric and gas infrastructure if the company fails to finance its $58 billion reorganization plan by the end of September or starts another large fire passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on a 12-2 vote. “It is a bill I hope […]

JUICE: Small is Beautiful

2 Jun

As appalling as Pacific Gas & Electric’s track record of safety deficiencies has been over the years—from sparking massive wildfires to gas pipeline blowouts—turning it into a centralized public utility could be worse. It could create one big albatross hanging on Californians’ collective neck.   The high stakes matter is riddled with financial, legal, and […]

Diesel and Gas Backup Generator Bills Advance

1 Jun

Two bills promoting the use of diesel and natural gas fueled backup generation during planned safety outages passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee May 27. SB 1099 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) relieves hospitals and other critical facilities that fire up diesel generators during power outages of any threat–real or perceived–that they will be fined […]

The Buzz

28 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s huge debt package to get it out of federal bankruptcy court by the end of June as directed by state legislation.   Moving on a parallel track is legislation setting the stage for California to seize PG&E’s gas and electric assets. Putting the utility under […]

CPUC Gives PG&E Bankruptcy Plan the Green Light

28 May

State utility regulators May 28 unanimously signed off on a $58 billion bankruptcy reorganization plan for Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility. Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said the plan leaves some important power in the hands of regulators, including the ability to force PG&E to prioritize customer safety. She said that, […]

Hearing on PG&E Takeover Bill Delayed

28 May

A key vote on dramatic legislation allowing the state to turn Pacific Gas & Electric into a state-owned, non-profit power agency was postponed May 28. Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said the author asked for more time to work out the provisions of SB 350, creating Golden State Energy. SB 350’s […]

Bill Prohibiting ICE to Access Utility Bills Passes

28 May

During its first public hearing since mid-March, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee heard and approved one bill May 28.. The measure would prohibit utilities from giving customer consumption data to immigration officials without formal court approval. “Customers need to feel safe at home,” said Assemblyperson Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), who authored AB 2788. The […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

Shutoffs, Microgrids & Digital Divide are the Focus of Passed Bills

27 May

Legislation to mitigate power shutoff impacts, and bolster microgrid installations to keep power flowing during and after fires, were passed by masked members of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee May 26. Also included in the small stack of bills approved at the Committee’s first public hearing since issuance of the stay-at-home orders are […]

JUICE: Doubts about PG&E Promise to Exit Bankruptcy Sans Rate Hike

26 May

Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion borrowing plan to exit bankruptcy is required to be rate neutral. Ratepayers are not supposed to pay an extra dime for the Chapter 11 proceedings under the law creating a $21 billion wildfire fund, AB 1054. Protecting ratepayers from paying for this second bankruptcy, which roughly doubles PG&E’s debt, […]