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Opinionated: Back to the Resource Adequacy Drawing Board

17 Dec

By Todd Edmister Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision in its resource adequacy proceeding that would strip community choice aggregators and energy service providers collectively of their authority to procure local capacity resources. It would give this resource adequacy procurement authority exclusively to investor-owned utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric […]

Power Demand Growth to Remain Tempered, CEC Says

6 Dec

Power demand through 2030 may be a bit lower than what the California Energy Commission projected in an official 2017 forecast adopted earlier this year due to lower economic growth. Commission staff outlined the new, lower preliminary projection at a workshop held Dec. 6 as part of the agency’s 2018 demand forecast update. “Our forecasting […]

CPUC Resource Adequacy Decision Pitches Small Reforms

6 Dec

A draft decision by two administrative law judges that may be adopted early in 2019 would keep investor-owned utilities in the driver’s seat in lining up contracts needed for resource adequacy on the grid, particularly in local areas where transmission is constrained. Under the draft decision quietly released for comment late last month, the California […]

CPUC Officials Warn of Growing Market Power

5 Dec

Golden State electric ratepayers could soon become victims of price manipulation, according to California Public Utilities Commission officials. “California is currently entering an era of tighter generation supplies than we have experienced in recent years,” wrote Commissioner Liane Randolph and CPUC Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch in a ruling last month. The ruling came in […]

CPUC Approves Safety Report after Vigorous Anti-PG&E Protest

29 Nov

State energy regulators were overwhelmed by demands and screams to not bail out Pacific Gas & Electric at their Nov. 29 meeting. Protestors insisted that PG&E be allowed to go bankrupt and that the state should take over its electricity and gas business. After a long line of public speakers slammed PG&E and the California […]

CPUC to Vote on Reducing Disconnections Next Month

29 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission Nov. 29 put off voting on a decision that seeks to roll back the number of utility disconnections as mandated by legislation. Some strategies Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposed to reduce the number of power disconnections for non-payment, particularly placing a cap on the number of shutoffs, rubbed some commissioners […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Faces First of Legal Claims for Camp Fire

20 Nov

While the massive Camp Fire in Butte County still smoldered, a class action lawsuit was filed by nearly two dozen residents of Paradise against Pacific Gas & Electric and its parent corporation over utility equipment allegedly sparking the conflagration. The suit was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court Nov. 16. The day the fire […]

CPUC Aims for More Social Equity

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission advanced its Draft Environmental & Social Justice Plan, which seeks to serve as a path for incorporating social equity in its programs and policies. The plan, released Nov. 2, outlines the commission’s “vision” for making sure that disadvantaged communities up and down the state have “meaningful participation” in commission proceedings […]

CA Set to Meet 2020 Renewable Standard

1 Nov

California is on target to meet that state’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard, according to a California Public Utilities Commission report to the Legislature on Nov. 1. However, community choice aggregators and direct access providers will have to pick up their pace in procuring renewable energy. “California continues on its path to a 100 percent […]

Revised PCIA Won’t Slow San Diego Community Choice

31 Oct

Higher exit fees payable to investor-owned utilities authorized last month by regulators are apparently no showstopper to community choice aggregation in San Diego. Neither the city, nor San Diego Gas & Electric take issue with the level of fee increases the California Public Utilities Commission is requiring community choice aggregators to pay to utilities. Initially, […]

CPUC Weighs Expanding its Reach Over Non-Utilities

24 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 23 mulls over the implications of growing customer choice in the retail electricity market in a document that hints at actions to regulate community choice aggregators and direct access providers like today’s private utilities. Likely actions and recommendations—from levying new fees on electricity customers that would go to utilities, […]

Undercurrents: Chatterjee Named New FERC Chair

23 Oct

Updated Oct. 25. Kevin McIntyre is unable to continue as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because of serious health issues related to brain cancer.  He announced Oct. 25 that  he was stepping down. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee will replace him as chair. “I thank Chairman McIntyre for his leadership at the agency, and pray […]

PG&E Seeks Another Transmission Rate Increase

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric asked federal energy regulators for a 9.5 percent increase in transmission fees, which would mark an increase from a projected $1.79 billion this year to a $1.96 transmission revenue requirement for 2019. The proposed increase to PG&E’s 2019 transmission rate case, made in an Oct. 1 filing to the Federal Energy […]

Juice: Behind-the-Meter it’s Caveat Emptor

2 Oct

As California rushes headlong into behind-the-utility meter approaches to providing greener energy for homes and businesses—from deep energy efficiency retrofits, to solar and energy storage batteries—critical consumer protection standards and enforcement are missing in action. The net result of inadequate consumer protections is that many who’ve leased or borrowed money to install solar systems are […]

New Laws Fully Fund Diablo Canyon Closure & Lift Direct Access Cap

20 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 19 signed a bill to restore funds the California Public Utilities Commission cut from a closure cost settlement agreement for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County. The next day he signed another measure to expand direct access to power supplies by businesses. SB 1090 will backfill […]

Undercurrents: Renewable Gas Flows, Hydrogen Supply Doesn’t

17 Sep

Renewable natural gas will begin flowing soon at 25 natural gas vehicle fueling stations owned by SoCal Gas, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area. Renewable gas consists of methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and dairies. Capturing it and using it as fuel for vehicles, power […]

Climate Change Puts Pressure on Utility Rates

12 Sep

Global warming is increasingly driving energy utility expenditures and could lead to higher utility rates in the years ahead, a key state energy official said Sept. 12. Utilities, said Cliff Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission member, already are factoring the impacts of global warming into what they seek as revenue requirements in their general rate […]

PCIA Alternate Threatens Choice Programs, Say Aggregators

11 Sep

Updated Sept. 12, 2018. A proposed alternate decision on how to handle “exit” charges from investor-owned utilities for community choice aggregation programs and direct access providers is drawing substantial support from consumer advocates and utilities. Community choice aggregators, however, maintain that if the alternate decision by California Public Utilities Commission member Carla Peterman is adopted […]

JUICE: Eyes Wide Shut on Wildfire Liability Bill

11 Sep

Lawmakers promised a transparent process for the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown dealing with liability for utility-sparked wildfires fueled by multi-year drought, legions of dead and dying trees and higher temperatures. Yet, the final provisions and costs of SB 901 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) were anything but transparent. Transparent is defined as “free […]

CAISO Chief Laments Grid Regionalization Bill Failure

6 Sep

The grid operator’s chief executive officer went off script in his report to board this week to lambaste those who opposed AB 813. The bill would have authorized the California Independent System Operator to create a multi-state grid and wholesale power market in the West. “Those who opposed this are on the wrong side of […]