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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 […]

CPUC Takes Heat for Poor Utility Ratings & Safety

31 Jan

State lawmakers Jan. 30 grilled the head state energy utility regulator over what his agency was doing to bolster utility ratings and reduce wildfire risks during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing. Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) warned California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker that the investor-owned utilities may become “un-investible” because of […]

$40B in Power Contracts at Issue in PG&E Bankruptcy

30 Jan

Clarification: The story was revised on Feb. 1 to note that PG&E is not seeking an immediate ruling on the fate of its power purchase deals. Changes are in italics. During Pacific Gas & Electric’s first day in federal bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali’s courtroom, it asked the court to allow it to end its $42 […]

PG&E Files for Bankruptcy

29 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric entered the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California Jan. 29, as expected. Although last week PG&E was found not responsible for sparking the largest fire in Northern California in 2017, the Tubbs Fire, it still faces enormous liability for other wildfires that year and in 2018. “Throughout this […]

Undercurrents: EIM Governance Changes

28 Jan

Updated Jan. 31. The Energy Imbalance Market’s Governing Body late last week began discussing potential changes to its governance structure. Specifically, the grid operator wants the EIM Governing Body to assume primary authority for “changes to generally applicable rules of the real-time market if the primary driver for the change is EIM,” according to a […]

JUICE: PG&E’s Past Bankruptcy as Prologue

14 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric is heading to bankruptcy court again to deal with overwhelming financial and legal liability. The liability it’s facing from the massive wildfires in 2017 and 2018 dwarfs the debt it struggled with during 2000-01 energy crisis when it faced huge spikes in merchant generator and wholesale power prices. And, unlike during […]

The Buzz

4 Jan

With the New Year comes the sad news of the death of Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, and former chair, Kevin McIntyre. The exit fee slapped on former PG&E customers is estimated to add $100 million. But, the exact tab for community choice customers should be known at the end of next week. CA’s Attorney General […]

Court Reviewing PG&E’s Federal Probation Status

3 Jan

Without passing judgment on Pacific Gas & Electric, the state attorney general laid out the legal requirements necessary to charge PG&E with misdemeanors or felonies if shabby operation and/or maintenance of its facilities sparked this year’s deadly Camp Fire in Butte County. The opinion by the Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a five-page legal primer […]

Undercurrents: AG Backs Oakland’s Rejection of Coal Terminal

18 Dec

The City of Oakland’s appeal to defend its ordinance prohibiting storage and shipment of coal to and from a proposed port expansion won the backing of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week. “The transportation of coal from the terminal would disproportionately hurt communities of color already burdened by pollution and its consequent health effects, […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Faces First of Legal Claims for Camp Fire

20 Nov

While the massive Camp Fire in Butte County still smoldered, a class action lawsuit was filed by nearly two dozen residents of Paradise against Pacific Gas & Electric and its parent corporation over utility equipment allegedly sparking the conflagration. The suit was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court Nov. 16. The day the fire […]

Shorts

15 Oct

The 48 MW McGuinness Hills 3 geothermal power plant is slated to begin providing power to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power by the end of the year, the muni’s staff told its board Oct. 16. The project is the second of a 177 MW three-stage geothermal procurement by the muni in Northern […]

Civil Rights Group Sues CARB for Climate Discrimination

3 Oct

California’s air regulators were slapped with a lawsuit charging that their greenhouse gas reduction policies and practices, specifically the 2017 scoping plan to achieve mandated carbon reductions, are racially and economically discriminatory. “California’s climate change policies, and specifically those policies that increase the cost and delay or reduce the availability of housing, that increase the […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Defends Against Trump’s Auto Standard Rollback

1 Oct

The California Air Resources Board amended its clean car standards Sept. 28 to protect the state against the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of federal auto standards. It did so by affirming what is known as the “deemed to comply” provision of California’s greenhouse gas vehicle regulation. “Today’s vote by the board ensures that California and […]

Kavanaugh’s Record Largely Rejects EPA Power to Reduce Pollution

6 Sep

The vast majority of rulings by the controversial Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh have invalidated air quality and other environmental protection rules, including rejecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, warn clean energy advocates and others. Kavanaugh, who has sat on the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit […]

OPINIONATED: Go Back to Aliso Canyon Deal Drawing Board

28 Aug

By V. John White Three years ago, Aliso Canyon was home to the largest methane leak in U.S. history, resulting in dozens of hospitalizations, the release of more than 100,000 tons of potent GHG emissions, and the evacuation of more than 10,000 families. Earlier this month, the state attorney general and California Air Resources Board […]

Long-term Funding for Wildfire Prevention?

15 Aug

As a legislative conference committee continues hearings aimed at fashioning legislation to address wildfire destruction in California, looming largely in the discussion room is the need for additional and sustained money. CalFire Director Ken Pimlott told lawmakers Aug. 15 that his department simply does not have enough inspectors to begin policing electric lines. He added […]

The Buzz

10 Aug

A legislative conference committee working to address wildfire safety and liability standards for utilities faces major opposition. The big kahuna is who gets slammed with the multi-billion tab for harm from utility equipment-sparked blazes. Major energy legislation to create a regionalized grid, move to 100 percent carbon-free power, and open up direct access to all […]

Plan to Curb Utility Wildfire Liability Faces Pushback

10 Aug

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to legislatively amend the decades–long court created legal doctrine that holds utilities strictly liable for wildfire damage faced strong head winds at an Aug. 9 legislative conference committee hearing. At issue is who’s responsible for the massive liability tab from the destruction arising from utility-sparked wildfires: ratepayers, local governments, insurance companies […]

$120M Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Deal Inked

8 Aug

State and local agencies and SoCal Gas Aug. 8 agreed to a $119.5 million settlement to resolve the public claims arising from the massive methane leak that occurred at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles in 2015. Attorney General Javier Becerra emphasized, however, that the company still faces hundreds of […]