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The Buzz

13 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission votes to increase PG&E’s gas transmission and storage revenue this year to $1.3 billion, with even bigger raises the next couple of years. State energy regulators direct $100 million in unspent clean energy incentives to low-income ratepayers and critical services providers for energy storage installations in areas with high wildfire […]

Unspent SGIP Funds Redirected to Fire-Prone Areas

12 Sep

State energy regulators approved using $104 million in unspent clean energy incentives to aid struggling ratepayers and critical services providers in areas with high wildfire risks. Of that amount, $100 million is to provide incentives for energy storage system installations that can be used when power from the grid is disrupted. The money from the […]

CEC Okays $95M for Clean Transportation

11 Sep

The California Energy Commission Sept. 12 unanimously approved spending $95.2 million on alternative-fueled vehicles and fueling stations the next year to help the state get closer to becoming a carbon neutral economy by 2045. “We can’t get to our health-based air quality standards, our greenhouse gas reduction goals and carbon light future without this investment […]

The Buzz

29 Aug

A newly amended bill that would make PG&E greener financially at ratepayers’ expense is floated. But, it may be headed for a crash landing. Another legislative action, one seeking a Constitutional Amendment, would make nuclear energy eligible for green status under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The proposal seeks to bolster the financial prospects of the […]

Hydrogen Can Make its Mark in CA’s Energy Market

29 Aug

Renewable hydrogen is expected to play an important role in the Golden State’s decarbonization efforts. It’s potentially a “multi-billion dollar industry in California,” Jeff Reed, U.C. Irvine’s Energy & Power Program chief scientist, told the California Energy Commission. There will be “a sustainable renewable hydrogen market place” by the mid- to late-2020s, said Reed during […]

Ensuring Equity is Part of Decarbonization Work

28 Aug

As energy agencies and stakeholders debate how best to slash and eventually eliminate carbon emissions from buildings a key concern is equity. Specifically at issue is protecting and ensuring that low-income, polluted communities reap gains from funded programs. “As we move away from combustion to reach important public environmental health goals, we have to make […]

CPUC Zeros In on Rate Hike Impacts on the Poor

26 Aug

Proposed metrics to better represent the hit of rate increases on struggling households was the focus of a California Public Utilities Commission workshop held Aug. 26. The CPUC staff’s draft proposal includes an “ability to pay” metric. This affordability index looks specifically at how much of a low-income household’s income is spent on essential utility […]

TURN Faces Financial Crimp Due to CPUC Inaction

11 Jul

The state’s chief independent ratepayer advocacy group is having trouble meeting payroll. The reason, according to Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, is that the California Public Utilities Commission has not been abiding by its 75-day deadline for acting on intervenor compensation claims. In a rare plea to the CPUC at its […]

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: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

CPUC Restricts Power Shutoffs & Approves Affordable Clean Energy Pilots

13 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 13 unanimously approved a temporary framework that seeks to reduce the number of utility power and gas disconnections for unpaid energy bills. A vote on the order authored by Commissioner Martha Aceves Guzman had been put off last month because of disagreements over some of its provisions, including capping […]

CPUC to Vote on Reducing Disconnections Next Month

29 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission Nov. 29 put off voting on a decision that seeks to roll back the number of utility disconnections as mandated by legislation. Some strategies Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposed to reduce the number of power disconnections for non-payment, particularly placing a cap on the number of shutoffs, rubbed some commissioners […]

Juice: CA Climate Policy Refugees?

19 Nov

California’s master plan for cutting greenhouse gases could be jeopardized by a lawsuit by a civil rights group. The suit filed by a group calling themselves “The Two-Hundred” may soon be heard in a state court in Fresno. The legal challenge filed earlier this year contends the state’s climate policies are heightening inequity. The claim […]

Shorts

18 Nov

Strategies for reducing the number of investor-owned utility power shutoffs are expected to be released next month, said California Public Utilities Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. She headed a Nov. 19 workshop as part of the proceeding she is overseeing on how to reduce the number of disconnections and improve reconnections. Disconnections of residential ratepayers gas […]

CPUC Aims for More Social Equity

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission advanced its Draft Environmental & Social Justice Plan, which seeks to serve as a path for incorporating social equity in its programs and policies. The plan, released Nov. 2, outlines the commission’s “vision” for making sure that disadvantaged communities up and down the state have “meaningful participation” in commission proceedings […]

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 […]

Revisions to PG&E Rate Design Approved 5-0

9 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission Aug. 9 voted unanimously for a settlement that changes Pacific Gas & Electric’s rate design, largely for non-residential customers, and alters its electric marginal cost allocations. Commissioner Carla Peterman called the decision addressing the second phase of PG&E’s general rate case “balanced.” This week’s decision adopts what’s known as the […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]

CPUC Focuses on Power Shutoffs

12 Jul

State energy regulators July 12 unanimously approved opening a rulemaking to assess the cause of the growing rate of residential utility disconnections because of non-payment. The goal is to reduce shutoffs. The California Public Utilities Commission also voted  to enhance utilities’ ability to de-energize power lines during risky weather events, such as hot high winds. […]

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 […]