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PG&E Stock Hit by Mounting Potential Fire Liability

11 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric shares took a beating June 11 after CalFire revealed last Friday that the utility’s power lines were involved in starting 12 more wildfires north of San Francisco last fall. Increasing liability for PG&E is that CalFire alleged the utility violated state fire protection standards in eight of those blazes. Earlier this […]

Climate Roundup: ARB Seeks Fed Powwow on Car Pollution Rules

7 Jun

The California Air Resources Board renewed its request to meet with federal regulators to discuss the Trump Administration’s plan to loosen vehicle emission standards. That controversial change also includes rescinding California’s authority to set tighter greenhouse gas controls. Weakening vehicle emission rules would “result in significant harm to public health and the environment, as well […]

FERC Orders PG&E Transmission Settlement

17 May

Federal energy regulators May 17 ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to reach a settlement with eight organizations that complained last year about the utility’s rates for transmitting power. At issue is more than $500 million of potential utility overcharges. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the order without comment as part of its consent calendar […]

Climate Roundup: Environmentalists Sue EPA on Car Mileage Standards

15 May

The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations joined the legal fray this week over the Trump Administration’s plans to weaken federal mileage standards for autos designed to cut greenhouse gases and encourage production of electric vehicles. The Sierra Club filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against the federal Environmental […]

Earnings Down for Two of Three IOUs

8 May

Utility earnings varied during the first quarter of 2018, with Sempra Energy up and Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric down compared to the first three months of 2017. Edison International: The parent company of Southern California Edison had lower earnings in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, with […]

CA Leads Coalition Suing EPA for Clean Car Rollback

1 May

California May 1 challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to knock out the state’s tighter automotive emission standards set for the 2022-2025 model years. Joining California were 16 other states and the District of Columbia. “We’re not looking to pick a fight with the Trump Administration, but when the stakes are this high for our […]

PG&E Pays $97M Fine for Ex Parte Wrongs

27 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to pay $97.5 million in penalties under a settlement that puts to rest charges of prohibited secret communications between utility officials and state regulators. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the agreement April 26. “We hope PG&E will finally get the message that they have to play by the rules,” […]

The Buzz

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agrees to rules increasing transparency on above market payments grid operators make to uneconomic resources, and getting interconnection agreements in gear. They also open the door to input on their problematic natural gas pipeline permitting process. In addition to shining a light on “uplift” payments for resources that can’t recover […]

The Buzz

29 Mar

Facing massive liability lawsuits for its potential role in igniting wildfires that scorched Santa Rosa and other Wine Country communities last fall, Pacific Gas & Electric argues it’s not subject to claims based on the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation. With hot weather just around the corner, state regulators order SoCal Gas to quickly fill […]

PG&E Moves to Get Wildfire Lawsuits Dismissed

29 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric wants a state court to dismiss wildfire liability lawsuits against it on the basis that it cannot, as claimed, spread out the massive cost of last October’s fires in Northern California to all of its ratepayers. In lawsuits filed last year, plaintiffs argue that PG&E is on the hook for damage […]

Climate Change 101 in Fed Courtroom

21 Mar

Ongoing lawsuits filed in the San Francisco in the Federal District Court for the Northern District against the major oil companies took a unique twist  on March 21 as a federal judge heard views on climate change science basics. Last September, San Francisco, Oakland and other coastal cities and counties in California sued Chevron, Exxon, […]

FERC Rejects Social Cost of Carbon as Analytical Tool

15 Mar

As California lawmakers hear warnings that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could pre-empt the state’s climate change policies if the California Independent System Operator creates a unified power market, federal regulators this week gave short shrift to the full climate change impacts of new natural gas pipelines. Meeting in Washington March 15, FERC approved a […]

Shorts

7 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission held an all-day meeting March 7 to review how safety management systems are working at the state’s electric and gas utilities. Utility executives noted that safety requires ongoing training and continuous improvement based on data feedback loops in how utilities operate their facilities. The en banc meeting, said CPUC Executive […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Ratepayer Tab for SONGS Closure Cut Under New Deal

31 Jan

A long-anticipated settlement would cut the amount ratepayers are saddled with for the early closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant by at least $775 million. Under the initial closure deal approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2014 ratepayers were on the hook for $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion closure tab partly […]

CA Sues Trump over Federal Fracking Rule

24 Jan

California’s top attorney filed another suit against the Trump Administration, this time for repealing regulations to mitigate the impacts of fracking oil and gas wells on federal and Native American tribal lands in and outside the state. President Trump and Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke “didn’t let the law or facts get in their way […]

BP to Pay CA for Excess Natural Gas Charges

11 Jan

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Jan. 11 unveiled a $102 million settlement with BP for overcharging California state and local governments for natural gas supplied between 2003 and 2012. At a press conference announcing the agreement, Becerra said the company provided false information to the state and local governments in order to overcharge them under […]

Shorts

10 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 11 approved spending $555 million for the Electric Program Investment Charge program from 2018-2020. This ongoing program run by the California Energy Commission continues funding of alternative and emerging energy resource research and development, technology pilots and market facilitation.  The EPIC funds, collected from investor-owned utility ratepayers, are to […]

Climate Roundup: Brown’s Budget Plan Light on GHG Fund Specifics

10 Jan

Gov. Jerry Brown provided few details during his Jan. 10 press conference on his proposed 2018-19 budget for the state and its climate protection and energy agencies. Brown did note that $1.25 billion from the carbon cap-and-trade auction would be dedicated largely to climate protection work in disadvantaged communities. Details of this allocation of 40 […]

Calpine Sale Faces Court Challenge

6 Dec

The merger plan of the financially struggling Calpine has hit a legal snag. The generating company announced Aug. 17 it reached a buyout deal with private equity firm Energy Capital Partners, but then later was hit with class action suits. Four lawsuits were filed in late October and mid-November in the U.S. District Court for […]