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CA Budget Plan Adds Funds for Fire Protection but Subtracts for Climate

14 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest spending blueprint for 2020 to 2021 increases funding for wildfire prevention and safeguards funds for reducing the impacts of power shutoffs despite a $54 billion deficit created by the pandemic. The bad news on the climate front is that the latest proposal eliminates the five-year $4.75 billion Climate Resiliency Bond slated […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]

Outcry over Bill to Revive Stalled Pumped Storage Project

30 Apr

Among a reduced number of pending energy bills is a controversial measure to boost the prospects of a large pumped storage project near Joshua Tree National Park. AB 2255 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was revised in March, shifting the focus from advancing long duration storage to benefiting Next Era’s 1,300 MW Eagle Crest hydropower […]

The Number of Energy Bills Drop During Legislative Limbo

30 Apr

The longer state legislators remain away from Sacramento, the smaller the list of energy bills expected to be taken up when they return to the state capital. The stack of measures has diminished to roughly a dozen. The Assembly is scheduled to return May 4. The Utilities and Commerce Committee is set to meet May […]

CPUC Set to Lower PG&E Penalty, Approve Reorganization Plan

21 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric would pay a total $1.94 billion penalty for the deadly Camp Fire that destroyed the City of Paradise in late 2018, and for 17 other fires it sparked that year and the previous year under a California Public Utilities Commission April 20 proposal. If adopted, it would be the largest penalty […]

The Buzz

9 Apr

The Energy Commission approves city ordinances that beat state building efficiency rules. It applauds California cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The Commission also continues to dole out millions of dollars in grants at its first remote business meeting to promote cleaner food and beer production, offshore wind, renewable gas and safer natural […]

Market Worries PG&E’s Wildfire Victims, Judge Rejects Call for New Disclosure

8 Apr

Updated April 9 Wildfire victims are divided on the $13.5 billion bankruptcy settlement reached with Pacific Gas & Electric earlier this year because the payout includes stock in the new company that emerges from reorganization and existing PG&E stock value has tumbled. Fire victims who want out of the deal attempted to get U.S. Bankruptcy […]

Legislation Sitting in Limbo, Passing Time

7 Apr

Those of a certain vintage may be reminded of Jimmy Cliff’s song from 1980, “Sitting here in limbo,” when mulling over the fate of this year’s state energy legislation. Weeks of cancelled hearings in the State Senate and Assembly energy committees have left numerous energy bills in limbo. No one knows how long the pandemic […]

Utility General Rate Cases & Memorandum Accounts for Dummies

7 Apr

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a new Current series explaining the fundamentals of impenetrable energy terms. With it, we hope to pull back the curtain on terms of art used in California utility regulation that often come with considerable price tags for consumers. Investor–owned utilities use their general rate cases to cover big […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

PG&E Pleads Guilty to Criminal Counts in Camp Fire, Fights $2.1B Penalty

23 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one of illegally starting the devastating 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, according to its March 23 Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The company agreed to pay $3.5 million in fines, as well as $500 million for the Butte […]

Possible Sale of PG&E under Deal with Newsom

20 Mar

Under an agreement reached with Gov. Gavin Newsom announced late Friday, Pacific Gas & Electric agrees the state or another entity could buy the company if it fails to exit bankruptcy by June 30. Under the deal filed March 20 in federal Bankruptcy Court, PG&E commits to selling the utility “in the unlikely circumstance” its […]

Court Signs Off on Part of PG&E Reorganization Plan

17 Mar

The U.S Bankruptcy Court approved nearly $20 billion in equity and debt financing as part of Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to exit Chapter 11 proceedings by June 30. The approval came during a March 16 telephonic hearing. The power company will be allowed to enter into $10.83 billion in debt financing, and issue $9 […]

State and Federal Meeting Updates during Covid-19 Pandemic

16 Mar

Updated Friday. Changes in italics. The following are the latest changes to previously scheduled meetings, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order limiting the number of people at gatherings, and local agency dictates. The California Public Utilities Commission cancelled all its public hearings on increasing electric rates pursuant to Phase One of Southern California […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Agencies Get More Serious About COVID-19

12 Mar

What a difference a few days makes. Regulatory agencies are now aligned in their concern over the coronavirus, a week after the state grid operator announced it was discontinuing its in-person meetings and interactions to minimize the spread of the  disease. The California Public Utilities Commission held its March 12 business meeting as usual but […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]