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Breakthroughs for Storage at State, Federal Levels

14 Jul

It is proving to be an important month for storage. The California grid operator announced July 13 it has connected the nation’s largest battery array to the grid and that many more megawatts of storage will follow. Later this month, the California Independent System Operator is expected to ease the way for combination solar and […]

Shorts

6 Jul

July 8 update Neither the Assembly nor Senate will return to Sacramento next week as planned. The California Senate made the announcement in a July 8 letter, the day after the Assembly cancelled reconvening July 13 because five who work at the Capitol tested positive for Covid-19, including at least one lawmaker, the San Francisco […]

PG&E Has $17B on Hand for Fire Victims & Cities

1 Jul

Updated July 2 Pacific Gas & Electric announced July 1 it funded much of the cash portion of its $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires from 2015-18, as well as the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. PG&E funded the victim trust with $5.4 billion in cash. It will receive a further $650 million cash […]

Court Slams FERC Roadblocks to Pipeline Permit Challenges

30 Jun

Federal energy regulators’ habit of postponing landowners’ challenges to permits for natural gas pipelines that run across their property was soundly rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals June 30. The issue before the court boiled down to the legitimacy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s issuance of so called “tolling orders,” which delay […]

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 […]

FERC Gives Some Temporary Relief to Landowners Fighting Pipelines

18 Jun

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that landowners challenging property seizures for a pipeline shouldn’t see bulldozers on their land after a permit is granted for at least the next 30 days while the agency reconsiders the certification. But a key controversy remains; what happens after a project permit is granted, but while property owners […]

Shorts

16 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric pled guilty June 16 in Butte County Superior Court to 84 counts of manslaughter and one count of illegally starting the 2018 Camp Fire. “I have heard the pain and the anguish of victims as they’ve described the loss they continue to endure, and the wounds that can’t be healed,” Bill […]

Shorts

26 May

Updated May 27 California joined 22 other states and other jurisdictions in a suit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s for weakening vehicle emissions standards. “The Trump Administration wants to take us back to a time of increased air pollution, which will have devastating effects on public health,” […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

News Roundup: ARB Sues Fed Over Clean Car Waiver, PG&E Signs 423 MW of Storage Deals

19 May

The California Air Resources Board has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for failing to provide a rationale for blocking its emission standards for cars and light trucks that are stricter than the federal ones. The suit, unlike others over the Clean Air Act waiver authority, is based on […]

Earnings Rise for PG&E & Sempra; Decline for Edison

4 May

Utility parent companies Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. and Sempra Energy reported higher earnings for the first quarter of the year. Edison International’s earnings went south. All the subsidiary utilities reaped higher revenue in their rate cases and from wildfire funding. The companies are seeing lower income from utility bill collections because of the pandemic. […]

Shorts

28 Apr

Updated April 30 The last snow survey of the season found the state snowpack at 37% of the May average. That equates to 8.4 inches of snow water equivalent. The standard survey at Phillips Station in Lake Tahoe was 1.5 inches, with a snow water equivalent of 0.5 inches, which is 3% of the May […]

PG&E Fire Victims Hear Pros & Cons of $13.5B Deal, Judge Says They Aren’t on Hook for Penalties

15 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric’s wildfire victims are divided over a $13.5 billion proposed settlement. Many are concerned that other PG&E stakeholders in the bankruptcy proceeding will get far more money and sooner. “Follow the money,” attorney Bonnie Kane said during an evening April 14 discussion with fire victims, lawyers and bankruptcy law experts. She noted […]

Shorts

13 Apr

California’s top attorney spearheaded a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for rule changes that impede the adoption of new energy efficiency standards. “The Trump Administration is irresponsibly rewriting a rule that helps consumers save money and decreases pollution to our environment,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said April 14. He added that the pandemic […]

Stringent City Building Codes Okayed by Energy Commission

9 Apr

At is first-ever remote hearing in the 45-year history, the California Energy Commission took further steps to curb the use of natural gas in buildings. The five commissioners April 7 approved seven city building ordinances reducing or eliminating natural gas use, increasing renewable use and/or energy savings in new and remodeled construction. The ordinances exceed […]

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 […]

Federal Car Emission Standards Rollback Gets Pushback

2 Apr

The Trump Administration’s final rule allowing higher emissions from new cars and small trucks suffered a couple of blows this week. A federal appeals court April 1 said it could not justify why the governing federal agencies hid underlying modelling details of the effect of the weaker emissions standards for vehicles with model years 2021-26. […]

Montali Rejects Suit Seeking Damages for Utility Shutoffs

1 Apr

A victim of the five power shutoffs during wind storms late last year unsuccessfully sought to bring a class action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric for associated damage from the loss of electricity. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali dismissed the $2.5 billion claim on grounds that the California Public Utilities Commission sets shutoff guidelines […]

Federal Clean Car Rules Officially Weakened

31 Mar

The Trump Administration followed through on its threat to rollback emission standards on new vehicles and small trucks, harming California’s and other states’ efforts to reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued their final rule weakening fuel economy standards March 31. Annual carbon […]