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CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

PG&E Sees Big Loss, Hedge Funds Offer $15B

12 Aug

Unlike California’s two other private utilities, massive wildfire claims caused Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. to lose a whopping $2.6 billion, according to its second quarter 2019 earnings report released Aug. 9. That loss, equating to a minus $4.95 per share, compares to a $984 million loss, or $1.98 a share, in the second quarter […]

CCAs Prevail on Central Procurement Legislation

10 Jul

In the face of stiff and broad-based opposition, a state Senate committee July 10 declined to advance a bill to create a central power procurement authority to meet resource adequacy requirements. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) could not muster the seven votes required to get his bill, AB 56, through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications […]

Bill Proposes Utility Wildfire Recovery Fund

3 Jul

New amendments to AB 1054 this week would create a multi-billion dollar wildfire liability fund backed principally by ratepayer money, as pushed by the governor. The measure by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) proposes a $10.5 billion revolving liquidity fund to cover private utility liabilities stemming from fires their equipment may […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Undercurrents: Diablo Closure’s Money Impact Limited

2 Jul

The financial impact to the Central California Coast from the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is not expected to be significant. The impact of the 2,200 MW Diablo plant closure slated for 2024-25 is projected to result in an annual loss of about $800 million to San Luis Obispo […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

CPUC to Investigate SoCal Gas Safety

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 27 launched an investigation into the safety cultures of SoCal Gas and its parent company following large and small gas pipeline explosions and leaks since 2015. “There are significant questions about SoCal Gas’ safety practices and priorities,” said Commissioner Liane Randolph. She pointed to a report released mid-May on […]

Resolution of Spent Fuel Storage Remains Illusive

27 Jun

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee June 27 attempted again to break the stalemate on moving growing levels of spent nuclear waste stored onsite at power plants and elsewhere into one or more licensed long-term waste repositories. “Our nation’s nuclear industry is critically important, but also faces a number of challenges, and one […]

Shorts

27 Jun

Updated June 27 The California Air Resources Board adopted certification regulations for heavy duty electric and fuel cell vehicle powertrains. They aim to increase transparency, reliability and reparability of the vehicles. The powertrain rules, approved June 27, also seek to protect the state’s investment in heavy duty alternative vehicle technologies and consumers. That state has […]

EV Sales Pitches

25 Jun

The California energy agencies, utilities and cities are working to help the state meet its mandate of slashing greenhouse gases. But the state will be able to drastically cut climate pollutants only if the transportation sector is decarbonized. It produces more than double the emissions generated by the energy sector. To encourage the uptake of […]

JUICE: Clean Car & Air Chaos

25 Jun

If President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to yank California’s authority to enact automotive emissions and fuel efficiency standards that are tighter than federal requirements, the work of the Golden State and utilities here to promote electric vehicles and develop charging infrastructure will be jeopardized. Not only will California’s climate change goals be […]

The Buzz

14 Jun

A House Energy panel zeros in on federal legislation and tactics to resolve the troubling issue of long-term storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. Lawmakers also grapple with how to consolidate onsite spent fuel in 121 communities, including in Southern California and Sacramento. The day before, another House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tells […]

Undercurrents

11 Jun

With temperatures set to soar last weekend, Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to 21,000 customers in Butte and Yuba counties for safety reasons at about 9:00 p.m. on June 8. In addition to safety shutoffs in the Sierra Foothills, PG&E turned off power to about 1,700 customers in Napa, Solano and Yolo Counties […]

JUICE: Sailing to Grid Regionalization

11 Jun

The announcement by California’s transmission operator that it will become the regional coordinator, not only in its territory, but across big parts of the western grid beginning July 1 generated few headlines. However, the California Independent System Operator becoming the new high wires reliability cop on the beat from Northern Mexico to Canada is a […]

Montali Rules FERC Has No Say over PG&E Power Deals

10 Jun

A federal bankruptcy court judge ruled in Pacific Gas & Electric’s favor on who controls the more than $40 billion in PG&E’s renewable and gas power purchase agreements. Judge Dennis Montali held that his court, not federal energy regulators, has say over the multi-million dollar deals signed by PG&E. The utility is in the midst […]

The Buzz

30 May

This week is all about measures to reduce the impacts of utility-sparked wildfires in California. In the midst of all the smoke, CPUC president Mike Picker says he’ll soon retire. Earlier, he and other state energy regulators approve the investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risks from their equipment. But, the CPUC notes, this is […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Approved With Some Caveats

30 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 30 approved investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risk under SB 901, as expected. “Approval of these plans is just a first step,” said Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen at the CPUC’s meeting this week. “We are learning as we go along,” added Commission President Mike Picker. The plans, said […]

Wildfire Panel Calls for Redoing Utility Legal & Financial Rules

30 May

The legal standard for finding utilities at fault for sparking wildfires, as well as for determining how much of their wildfire expenses can be recovered from ratepayers, are in serious need of overhaul, according to a draft report by the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost & Recovery. The executive summary of the report, released May […]

CPUC Rejiggers Utility Cost Recovery Te$t

28 May

A California Public Utilities Commission decision proposes a new cost recovery reasonableness yardstick to determine the extent of ratepayer-funded cushioning of private utilities facing huge wildfire liabilities to keep them financially healthy and operating safely. Or in the alternative, the financial stress test is to evaluate the impact of requiring utility customers to pay for […]