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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 […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

PG&E & Sempra Report Big Losses

6 Aug

Earnings of two of the three parent companies of California’s major investor-owned utilities took a turn for the worse in the second quarter of 2018. Pacific Gas & Electric reported the largest earnings hit because of wildfire liability followed by big losses at Sempra Energy. Meanwhile, Edison International’s earnings were largely level and could be […]

High Court Nominee Rulings Scare Clean Air Advocates

11 Jul

D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday evening, wrote key rulings that restricted federal agencies’ ability to reduce climate pollution, including from power plants. “Kavanaugh’s views put the demands of polluters and big corporations before the rights of people, and he cannot be trusted to protect our communities, our […]

Wildfire Liability Bill Goes to Conference Committee

3 Jul

Details of Sen. Bill Dodd’s SB 901 are to be hammered out in a legislative conference committee. That includes terms of standards governing when utilities could be held liable for wildfire damages. The Napa Democrat’s measure would set standards requiring utilities to improve their efforts to prevent wildfires, including more effort to clear vegetation around […]

The Buzz

28 Jun

The big squeeze from a duo of powerful hedge funds leads Sempra Energy to sell off all of its green portfolio and some of its gas assets. More significantly, this is just the first round of spin offs. A proposed CPUC settlement would reduce ratepayers’ share of the closure costs of San Onofre Nuclear Generating […]

The Buzz

21 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric notifies investors and lenders that it is taking a $2.5 billion loss in the second quarter as a result of mounting wildfire liability, with the worst potentially yet ahead. Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Sacramento advances a bill that may ease utility liability for wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission sets […]

PG&E Takes $2.5 B Loss for Early Wildfire Claims

21 Jun

Pacific Gas &Electric Corp. is taking a $2.5 billion hit in its upcoming quarterly earnings to cover the “low end range” of liability claims arising from 14 of l6 Northern California wildfires that burned last October and were investigated by CalFire, the utility announced during a June 21 conference call. The “high range” of liability […]

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 […]