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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 […]

Retalitory Firing Claim by CPUC Head Judge Heads to Court

12 Oct

The State Personnel Board rejected a whistleblower complaint filed by the California Public Utilities Commission’s former head administrative law judge last month. The Personnel Board’s rejection “is good news,” Daniel Siegel, attorney for Karen Clopton, former CPUC chief administrative law judge, told Current Oct. 11.  It opens the door to file a whistleblower suit in […]

CEC Turns Down LADWP’s Renewable Credit Bid

11 Oct

The California Energy Commission Oct. 11 declined a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power appeal to have a contract with Powerex for small hydropower count toward compliance with the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The decision stemmed from an appeal LADWP filed in 2014 after the commission denied compliance credit for the power contract at […]

Shorts

2 Oct

Sempra Energy is ready to file for approval to take over Oncor Electric Delivery Co. in Texas with the state’s Public Utility Commission. Sempra plans to purchase 80 percent of the Texas transmission company. “Our goal is to keep Oncor strong, independent and well-capitalized for the benefit of Texas customers,” said Sempra Chief Executive Officer […]

Climate Roundup: CA Spending Plan for Carbon Auction Money is Law

19 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown quickly signed into law two bills, AB 109 and AB 134, which appropriate $1.6 billion in state carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue this fiscal year. The money will go largely to projects aimed at advancing conversion of the transportation sector to electric technology. The spending package also will help sequester carbon in vegetation […]

Undercurrents: CA Sues Feds for Halting Penalty Increase for Fuel Efficiency Violations

12 Sep

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against the Trump Administration Sept. 11 for delaying a rule increasing the fine on car manufacturers that fail to meet federal fuel efficiency standards. “More fuel-efficient cars on our roads means cleaner air, better overall health for our children, and savings at the pump for consumers,” Becerra said. “We will […]

The Buzz

31 Aug

A week that began with record heat and a near record demand for power ends even hotter with a forecast of a new all-time record peak demand for electricity in California. The grid operator calls for conservation. PG&E calls for flashlights. Decentralized solar energy coupled with storage and smart controls can lower the cost of […]

Undercurrents: SONGS Onsite Waste Suit Settled

30 Aug

A settlement of the lawsuit over expanding onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Station was reached Aug. 28. “A cooperative effort between the public, independent experts and Southern California Edison has begun and will continue until the nuclear waste is removed from San Diego,” said attorney Michael Aguirre, representing plaintiff […]