Archive | Top Stories RSS feed for this section

The Buzz

4 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to reduce wildfire threats and safety outages is half empty or half full, depending on your perspective. While the CPUC President says she is optimistic about the improvements in the 2020 plan, she has doubts about it being successfully implemented. In spite of the concerns, none are raised about its […]

Success of PG&E’s Wildfire Plan Iffy, Lawmakers Told

4 Jun

With the threat of wildfires approaching, lawmakers wanted details on Pacific Gas & Electric’s mitigation plans, including how it will reduce the impacts of its public safety shutoffs during hot and windy conditions. Rachel Peterson, deputy director of the California Public Utilities Commission, reported to the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee that PG&E was […]

News Roundup: $494B for Clean Transportation in House Bill, Little Action in CARB Auction

3 Jun

Almost $500 billion would be invested in the U.S. transportation sector, including electric vehicle charging stations and expanded public transit, under a bill amended by the House Transportation Committee. The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act also would address climate adaptation with investments in fortified transportation infrastructure. […]

JUICE: Small is Beautiful

2 Jun

As appalling as Pacific Gas & Electric’s track record of safety deficiencies has been over the years—from sparking massive wildfires to gas pipeline blowouts—turning it into a centralized public utility could be worse. It could create one big albatross hanging on Californians’ collective neck.   The high stakes matter is riddled with financial, legal, and […]

Shorts

2 Jun

Updated June 4 A coalition of alternative energy and clean air organizations urged the governor to convene a task force focused on helping replace the 100,000 clean energy jobs lost during the pandemic.  The disappeared jobs represent almost 20% of the clean energy industry. “The intersecting impacts of the pandemic and climate change call for […]

Diesel and Gas Backup Generator Bills Advance

1 Jun

Two bills promoting the use of diesel and natural gas fueled backup generation during planned safety outages passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee May 27. SB 1099 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) relieves hospitals and other critical facilities that fire up diesel generators during power outages of any threat–real or perceived–that they will be fined […]

The Buzz

28 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s huge debt package to get it out of federal bankruptcy court by the end of June as directed by state legislation.   Moving on a parallel track is legislation setting the stage for California to seize PG&E’s gas and electric assets. Putting the utility under […]

CPUC Gives PG&E Bankruptcy Plan the Green Light

28 May

State utility regulators May 28 unanimously signed off on a $58 billion bankruptcy reorganization plan for Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility. Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said the plan leaves some important power in the hands of regulators, including the ability to force PG&E to prioritize customer safety. She said that, […]

Hearing on PG&E Takeover Bill Delayed

28 May

A key vote on dramatic legislation allowing the state to turn Pacific Gas & Electric into a state-owned, non-profit power agency was postponed May 28. Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said the author asked for more time to work out the provisions of SB 350, creating Golden State Energy. SB 350’s […]

Bill Prohibiting ICE to Access Utility Bills Passes

28 May

During its first public hearing since mid-March, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee heard and approved one bill May 28.. The measure would prohibit utilities from giving customer consumption data to immigration officials without formal court approval. “Customers need to feel safe at home,” said Assemblyperson Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), who authored AB 2788. The […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

Shutoffs, Microgrids & Digital Divide are the Focus of Passed Bills

27 May

Legislation to mitigate power shutoff impacts, and bolster microgrid installations to keep power flowing during and after fires, were passed by masked members of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee May 26. Also included in the small stack of bills approved at the Committee’s first public hearing since issuance of the stay-at-home orders are […]

JUICE: Doubts about PG&E Promise to Exit Bankruptcy Sans Rate Hike

26 May

Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion borrowing plan to exit bankruptcy is required to be rate neutral. Ratepayers are not supposed to pay an extra dime for the Chapter 11 proceedings under the law creating a $21 billion wildfire fund, AB 1054. Protecting ratepayers from paying for this second bankruptcy, which roughly doubles PG&E’s debt, […]

Shorts

26 May

Updated May 27 California joined 22 other states and other jurisdictions in a suit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s for weakening vehicle emissions standards. “The Trump Administration wants to take us back to a time of increased air pollution, which will have devastating effects on public health,” […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

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 […]

FERC Advances LNG Projects Amid Fall in Demand

21 May

Federal regulators May 21 declined to reexamine their approval of the permit for the controversial Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Oregon. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also certified an LNG project on Alaska’s North Slope. The approvals come as global demand for the fossil fuel has fallen because of pandemic policies. Commissioner Rick […]

News Roundup: ARB Sues Fed Over Clean Car Waiver, PG&E Signs 423 MW of Storage Deals

19 May

The California Air Resources Board has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for failing to provide a rationale for blocking its emission standards for cars and light trucks that are stricter than the federal ones. The suit, unlike others over the Clean Air Act waiver authority, is based on […]

PG&E Wildfire Victims Back $13.5B Deal, CPUC Set to Approve Reorg Plan

19 May

Updated May 21 Most of the tens of thousands of victims of fires in 2015, 2017 and 2018 that were sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to the company’s pending $13.5 billion cash and stock settlement. PG&E said May 18 that there has been “overwhelming acceptance of the plan” by the surviving victims—those who […]

Guest Juice: Blockchain for Bitcoin and DER

18 May

by Wayne Hicks A common vision for the future of California and the nation’s energy grid involves homeowners selling unused power generated from rooftop solar panels to others in their communities, and working together to help ensure the reliability, resiliency, and security of the power grid everyone uses. Sounds great in theory. But how can […]