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News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

Bankruptcy May be the Excuse for Expedited Rate Recovery of PG&E’s 2019 Fire Costs

2 Apr

The pandemic and the fast approaching wildfire season increases the urgency of getting Pacific Gas & Electric out of bankruptcy by June 30, California Public Utilities Commission Marybel Batjer said. “We want to clear the regulatory landscape for PG&E’s exit from Chapter 11” to allow it to access the legislatively created $20 billion wildfire fund. […]

Montali Rejects Suit Seeking Damages for Utility Shutoffs

1 Apr

A victim of the five power shutoffs during wind storms late last year unsuccessfully sought to bring a class action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric for associated damage from the loss of electricity. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali dismissed the $2.5 billion claim on grounds that the California Public Utilities Commission sets shutoff guidelines […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

CPUC Okays $213M in Building Decarb Projects & Outreach

26 Mar

State energy regulators approved March 26 allocating $200 million over four years to support two building decarbonization programs. The decision is “sensible, bold and pragmatic,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. He noted it addresses California’s over-reliance on gas-powered heaters and appliances. Of the state’s total natural gas consumption, 12% is used by […]

CAISO Approves $142M in New Transmission, Sees Decline in Load

26 Mar

Demand on the California grid has dropped by 5% since state residents were instructed to stay in their homes to slow the pace of the coronavirus, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during the March 25 board meeting. During its first totally telephonic business meeting mid-week, the board of […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

Shorts

24 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission and Independent System Operator are holding meetings this week. CAISO’s is holding the public portion of its board meeting remotely March 25, from 2:00 PM-5:00 PM. The agenda includes decisions on reliability must run contracts and its 2019-20 transmission plan. The CPUC business meeting is being held remotely March 26. […]

State and Federal Meeting Updates during Covid-19 Pandemic

16 Mar

Updated Friday. Changes in italics. The following are the latest changes to previously scheduled meetings, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order limiting the number of people at gatherings, and local agency dictates. The California Public Utilities Commission cancelled all its public hearings on increasing electric rates pursuant to Phase One of Southern California […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Agencies Get More Serious About COVID-19

12 Mar

What a difference a few days makes. Regulatory agencies are now aligned in their concern over the coronavirus, a week after the state grid operator announced it was discontinuing its in-person meetings and interactions to minimize the spread of the  disease. The California Public Utilities Commission held its March 12 business meeting as usual but […]

CPUC Reaffirms its Authority over Diablo Costs, is Silent on Early Closure

12 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission approved without comment calls for scrutinizing the high costs of keeping the 2,200 MW Diablo Nuclear Power Plant online. The decision by Administrative Law Judge Peter Allen, backed unanimously March 12, does not address the implicit call by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s petition for a plant closure before 2025 […]

Open Energy Meetings & COVID-19

10 Mar

State and federal agencies and organizations do not see eye to eye on the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Most cautious so far is the grid operator. Last week, the California Independent System Operator announced it was switching all of its in-person gatherings, including Board of Governors, Western Energy Imbalance Market and Market Surveillance […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]

PG&E Faces Unprecedented $2.14B Penalty for Fires

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric was slapped with the largest financial penalty in California Public Utilities Commission history as punishment for the utility’s role in the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 in Northern California. The CPUC Feb. 27 announced its Administrative Law Judge decision that imposes $2.137 billion in penalties against the investor-owned utility. Previously, […]

SoCal Utilities Report Surge in Profit

27 Feb

The parent companies of the investor-owned utilities in Southern California reported rosy 2019 earnings, in contrast to Pacific Gas & Electric. The latter continued to suffer major losses while striving to reorganize and emerge from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison. Sempra Energy is the parent company […]

New PG&E Exit Fee More than Doubles CCAs Tab

27 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 27 unanimously approved big hikes in the exit fees community choice aggregators must pay to Pacific Gas & Electric. The Commission’s 5-0 vote was cast with no discussion. Community choice organizations whose customers left PG&E to join CCA programs in 2017 and 2018 will see roughly 60% increase in […]

JUICE: Smart Inverters Need Smarter Rules

26 Feb

Rarely do inverters make front page news. But they are the stars of the 2019 Integrated Energy Policy Report approved last week by the California Energy Commission. It calls on the energy agencies and grid operator to accelerate research, development, and use of smart inverters to “enhance power quality, decrease grid disturbances, and participate in […]