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PG&E Bankruptcy Watch

17 Apr

The U.S. Trustee asked the court handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy proceeding to not allow the unsecured creditors’ committee to hire an investment banker because of potential conflicts of interest. In an April 15 filing, the U.S. Trustee warned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California that Centerview Partners hides whether […]

Alternative Energy Bills Go Forward

2 Apr

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved a small number of bills April 2, including ones to increase the savings of utility energy efficiency programs and expand fuels that can be used in qualifying biomass plants. The approved measures include SB 524 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Calabasas). It seeks to increase the energy savings […]

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

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

Undercurrents: CA AG Backs Climate Change Suit Against Oil Firms

20 Mar

Updated March 21. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is supporting the City and County of San Francisco and City of Oakland’s lawsuit before the Ninth District Court of Appeals against the oil majors for their products’ emissions and resulting contribution to sea level rise. “Companies that reap the benefits of fossil fuels intensify the effects […]

PG&E’s Proposal to Break Green Deals Raises Costs

19 Mar

If Pacific Gas & Electric is allowed to abrogate its long-term renewable contracts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, bankers will increase the risk premiums on clean energy project loans. That will drive up the price of renewable resources in California, attorneys warned at a legal seminar held March 18 by the Environmental Law Institute […]

JUICE: Bankruptcy Basics

12 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric’s unsurprising bankruptcy filing has rocked the energy utility industry, legislators and the state. Tens of billions of dollars are at stake, largely from what is now about 5,600 claims from wildfire victims. The amount of money and impact will soar if Southern California Edison also enters federal bankruptcy court. It faces […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]

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 […]

Senate Panel Queries PG&E Bankruptcy Impacts

5 Mar

The implications of Pacific Gas & Electric’s second bankruptcy filing this century, including a probable rejection of some or all of its long-term power contracts and the role of the legislature will play, were weighed by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 5. “PG&E encompasses the largest geographical area [of the private utilities] […]

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, […]