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Rule Violation Forces CPUC to Delay Key Vote on PG&E Bankruptcy

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission postponed the vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion financial plan to exit bankruptcy, citing an improper ex parte communication conducted during the quiet period. CPUC President Marybel Batjer announced the postponement May 21. Will Abrams, who has taken a lead role among fire victims, notified CPUC stakeholders of […]

Pandemic Pounds CA Green Energy Jobs

13 May

The energy efficiency, renewables, electric cars, energy storage and clean fuels industries in the U.S. have gotten hammered by the pandemic, with those in California suffering the biggest blow, according to a report released May 13. There were 105,443 clean energy jobs lost in March and April in the Golden State, with 77,869 of those […]

Home Power Use Continues to Rise, Overall Demand Falls

12 May

Residential electricity use rose 12.4% last month statewide, while total use fell 9% compared to April 2019, as the changes resulting from stay at home orders settled in. That’s according to a California Energy Commission report released May 12. In March, home electricity use increased 8.9%, but total use dropped 4% because of lower commercial […]

Hard Times for Independent Generators

12 May

Updated May 13 The six merchant generators with operations in California saw their net income fall, some slightly, others significantly. All have felt the impact of the pandemic and resulting drop in commercial and industrial power demand. But the companies have largely been able to keep their construction projects on track. Calpine: Earnings declined for […]

The Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

PG&E Hit with $1.94B Penalty for Wildfires

7 May

State regulators voted unanimously May 7 to have Pacific Gas & Electric’s shareholders pay $1.937 billion for 15 fires utility equipment sparked in 2017 and 2018. It is the largest California Public Utilities Commission fine to date. The penalty is higher than a proposed settlement reached by PG&E and regulatory safety staff. It is lower […]

Edison Inks 770MW of New Energy Storage Deals

5 May

Southern California Edison signed seven long-term contracts for big battery projects, five co-located at utility-scale solar plants. The storage capacity is to range from 230 MW to 50 MW, with up to four hours of output. All the deals entail lithium ion batteries that are set to come online in August 2021. The five battery […]

Earnings Rise for PG&E & Sempra; Decline for Edison

4 May

Utility parent companies Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. and Sempra Energy reported higher earnings for the first quarter of the year. Edison International’s earnings went south. All the subsidiary utilities reaped higher revenue in their rate cases and from wildfire funding. The companies are seeing lower income from utility bill collections because of the pandemic. […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]

Outcry over Bill to Revive Stalled Pumped Storage Project

30 Apr

Among a reduced number of pending energy bills is a controversial measure to boost the prospects of a large pumped storage project near Joshua Tree National Park. AB 2255 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was revised in March, shifting the focus from advancing long duration storage to benefiting Next Era’s 1,300 MW Eagle Crest hydropower […]

The Buzz

23 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission seeks ways to ease the suffering of ratepayers and alternative energy companies and their workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. After months of controversy, East Bay Community Energy votes 10-5 to reject taking nuclear power from PG&E. The nuclear power is a hot political potato for the East […]

CPUC Strives to Wring Progress out of Pandemic

23 Apr

An April 23 workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission on Covid-19 and its fallout was a study in pain. Mounting numbers of state residents cannot pay their gas and electric bills. The range of energy businesses, from those in solar, to energy efficiency to transportation electrification, are suffering layoffs, lost business and financing, and […]

Spotlight on Ratepayer Subsidies of Utility EV Charging Costs

22 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is examining two thorny questions central to the expansion of electric vehicles: How long should investor-owned utility ratepayers keep paying for the installation of new charging stations? And how long should the private utilities dominate the installations? The questions were the focus of an April 20 workshop. Intertwined with the […]

Shorts

21 Apr

The California Independent System Operator reported overall drops in energy demand because of the shelter in place orders. Weekday load fell 4.5%, with peak demand falling 7% during the work week between March 17-April 12. Power use on the weekends was 0.5% lower than usual, with peak demand on Saturdays and Sundays 7% lower overall. […]

CPUC Set to Lower PG&E Penalty, Approve Reorganization Plan

21 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric would pay a total $1.94 billion penalty for the deadly Camp Fire that destroyed the City of Paradise in late 2018, and for 17 other fires it sparked that year and the previous year under a California Public Utilities Commission April 20 proposal. If adopted, it would be the largest penalty […]

The Buzz

17 Apr

State energy regulators unanimously agree to minor reductions in the bills of the ratepayers of the state’s two largest utilities. The California Public Utilities Commission votes for this no cost step advancing the climate dividend to alleviate financial pressures caused by the fallout of COVID 19. This dividend is often called a “climate credit.” While […]

Community Choice Roundup

16 Apr

Community energy representatives protested the pending California Public Utilities Commission decision putting the private utilities in charge of a centralized capacity market to buy supply cushions for a variety of energy providers. If adopted, the decision would conflict with “a key objective of the Commission’s reliability oversight,” which is to safeguard community energy’s “self-procurement autonomy,” […]

Shorts

13 Apr

California’s top attorney spearheaded a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for rule changes that impede the adoption of new energy efficiency standards. “The Trump Administration is irresponsibly rewriting a rule that helps consumers save money and decreases pollution to our environment,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said April 14. He added that the pandemic […]

The Behind-The-Meter Frontier

9 Apr

Your home could also be your power plant, according to an April 7 article in Wired Magazine. It highlights a community housing project in Colorado that’s experimenting with advanced software that tracks the units’ solar power and directs it to where it’s needed—relaying it from those with surplus PV output to those that need more […]

Legislation Sitting in Limbo, Passing Time

7 Apr

Those of a certain vintage may be reminded of Jimmy Cliff’s song from 1980, “Sitting here in limbo,” when mulling over the fate of this year’s state energy legislation. Weeks of cancelled hearings in the State Senate and Assembly energy committees have left numerous energy bills in limbo. No one knows how long the pandemic […]