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The Buzz

5 Dec

A carbon tax is the talk of the town this week. Republican members of a House panel insist it would be a cost without a benefit because global action is critical. In response, their Democratic brethren chastise them for not partaking in the ongoing UN climate talks. Solar-powered microgrids paired with battery storage can keep […]

JUICE: Microgrids Provide Power During Wildfires & Other Emergencies

5 Dec

The head of Pacific Gas & Electric, Bill Johnson, warned that public safety power outages may continue for a decade in areas facing high wildfire risk. It’s been estimated that the power shutoffs in Northern and Central California could cost the state economy about $2 billion. Those impacted are frustrated and so too are policymakers […]

The Buzz

21 Nov

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the California ISO’s energy storage compliance filing. It also again rejects on a 2-1 vote climate analyses of liquefied natural gas export projects. A U.S. Senate panel calls for the full Senate to approve the Republican FERC nominee. The silence remains deafening on the fate of the Democrats pick, […]

Undercurrents

19 Nov

During a Nov. 19 workshop on reducing the energy use of the water and wastewater industries, providing conveyors and wastewater treatment operators real time energy use data was called critical. The water and wastewater industries use about 20 percent of the electricity in the state and about 30 percent of the natural gas use for […]

Senators Object to Utility Safety Outages

19 Nov

Shortly after Pacific Gas & Electric warned it may cut off power to about 800,000 people later this week in the face of a red flag wind advisory, lawmakers focused on ways to curb the number, duration and impact of utility power shutoffs. PG&E warned the morning of Nov. 18 that customers in some 22 […]

JUICE: Is Three the Charm for CA Energy Czar?

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom had to address the public outrage over Pacific Gas & Electric twice cutting off power to unprecedented numbers of people in the face of high fire danger, sparking wildfires and seeking protection in bankruptcy court in the face of massive fire liability. But if history is any indication, his recent appointment of […]

Newsom Names Energy Czar

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom Nov. 1 appointed California’s third energy czar in the 21st century to address the current energy crisis driven by utility wildfire liability and threats. The appointee is Newsom’s Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos. She also served under the Brown and Schwarzenegger gubernatorial administrations. Czarina Matosantos is specifically tasked with ensuring Pacific Gas & […]

The Buzz

24 Oct

Shutoffs and more shutoffs more shutoffs this week because of dangerous winds and fires. Pacific Gas & Electric reports a transmission tower with broken jumper near the latest Sonoma fire. In the midst of blazes, major fire risks and public outrage over outages, regulators approve collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a legislatively mandated wildfire […]

More Shutoffs Expected, PG&E Reports Tower Trouble in Fire Zone

24 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric began shutting off power to about 180,000 customers mid-week before hot, dry winds began blowing in parts of 17 counties in Northern and Central California. Strong gusts that started in the early hours of Oct. 24 caused a small fire in Geyserville in Sonoma County to grow to more than 10,000 […]

Comparing PG&E & SCE Safety Outages

22 Oct

The state’s two largest investor-owned utilities warned about potential power shutoffs in the face of dry and windy conditions due mid-week. Who ends up getting their power shutoff in Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison territory is a moving target. It is largely driven by variable weather conditions, but also by the nature […]

PG&E on Hot Seat over Massive Shutoff’s Costs

21 Oct

During an emergency meeting, state energy regulators and others did not mince words when criticizing Pacific Gas & Electric for the safety, health and financial impacts of its unprecedented Northern California power shutoff in the face of wildfire risks. “You guys failed on so many levels,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, told PG&E […]

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 […]

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 […]

PG&E Outlines Reason for Not Turning Off Power

28 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric decided not to shut off power in Butte County and other areas of its service territory on Nov. 8 after the start of the state’s most destructive blaze in history, the Camp Fire. By around 1 p.m. on Nov. 8, the high winds in the area had decreased. Thus, the utility […]

High, Hot Winds Prompt Utilities to Shut Off Power

15 Oct

Strong winds across wide stretches of California moved electric utilities Oct. 14 to turn off power in several areas to prevent equipment from sparking wildfires. The shut offs were preceded by notices of possible power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 17,500 customers in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, and more than 42,000 […]

U.S. Senate Panel Probes Restarting Grid Post Blackout

11 Oct

Amid hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber threats, and a changing power generation resource mix, concerns are rising in Washington about the ability of the nation’s power industry to restore the grid after widespread blackouts. “The question we have to be able to answer,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural […]

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 […]

CPUC Ups Ante on Fire Safety

14 Dec

Utility regulators stiffened fire safety rules for power companies Dec. 14, the last California Public Utilities Commission meeting of 2017. CPUC President Mike Picker said the new fire safety standards are needed, particularly because climate change is accelerating the risk of wildfires, for instance by causing tree mortality. Picker said that areas covered with dead […]

Wildfire Triggers Transmission Outage in Moorpark Sub-Area

5 Dec

Strong Santa Ana winds fanned wildfires in Southern California, causing a power outage to some 70,000 people in Ventura County the evening of Dec. 4. By the morning of Dec. 5, Southern California Edison had restored power to 50,000 people by “rerouting and recircuiting” power, said utility spokesperson Mary Ann Milbourn. The utility said later […]