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Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

Shorts

13 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric appointed a new utility chief executive officer and president. Andrew Vesey was selected to head the bankrupt utility, PG&E announced Aug. 13. Vesey was the managing director and chief executive officer of AGL Energy in Australia from 2015 to 2018. The prior 11 years, he served as AES Corp.’s chief executive […]

Batjer to Head CPUC

15 Jul

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Marybel Batjer as president of the California Public Utilities Commission July 12. He also signed utility wildfire liability reform legislation hurried through the Legislature last week. “Marybel’s deep experience in government administration and sound judgment make her uniquely qualified to take on this important role,” said Newsom. “I am confident she […]

Assembly Panel Approvals Keep Energy Bills Alive

12 Jul

As legislators hustled last week to move bills through final policy committees up against a July 12 deadline, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on July 10 advanced numerous energy bills assuring they’ll be further considered after the summer recess. The panel advanced three measures by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) aimed at improving the […]

TURN Faces Financial Crimp Due to CPUC Inaction

11 Jul

The state’s chief independent ratepayer advocacy group is having trouble meeting payroll. The reason, according to Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, is that the California Public Utilities Commission has not been abiding by its 75-day deadline for acting on intervenor compensation claims. In a rare plea to the CPUC at its […]

Shorts

9 Jul

Updated July 11. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources committee held a celebratory hearing July 11 on growing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. “We are now leading the world in natural gas production, and hopefully soon, we will also lead in exports,” said panel chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (D-AK. “More U.S. LNG export facilities […]

Senate Backs Newsom’s Wildfire Proposal

8 Jul

Updated July 9, 2019. The state Senate late on July 8 passed a  bill to set up a $40 billion wildfire fund to stabilize the state’s investor-owned utilities and to bankroll payouts to victims of past utility-sparked fires. Passage came after earlier in the afternoon the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee approved the measure, […]

The Buzz

3 Jul

Expected legislation incorporating the Governor’s wish list for a catastrophic wildfire recovery fund to bail out private utilities facing big liabilities is to get its first airing July 5. The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approves bills shifting the cost of supply shortages to energy providers that fall short  and increasing the efficiency of […]

Bill Proposes Utility Wildfire Recovery Fund

3 Jul

New amendments to AB 1054 this week would create a multi-billion dollar wildfire liability fund backed principally by ratepayer money, as pushed by the governor. The measure by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) proposes a $10.5 billion revolving liquidity fund to cover private utility liabilities stemming from fires their equipment may […]

Bills to Green & Save on Energy Advance

2 Jul

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee July 2 approved bills to require load serving entities to pick up the tab for system costs caused by their supply shortages, increase the efficiency of cool roofs and require energy regulators to reveal energy providers’ rates and portfolios. AB 1584 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) would require […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Undercurrents: Diablo Closure’s Money Impact Limited

2 Jul

The financial impact to the Central California Coast from the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is not expected to be significant. The impact of the 2,200 MW Diablo plant closure slated for 2024-25 is projected to result in an annual loss of about $800 million to San Luis Obispo […]

CPUC Weighs Penalizing PG&E for 2017 Wildfires

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announced the evening of June 27 that it initiated a proceeding to consider fining Pacific Gas & Electric for 15 of the 17 devastating blazes its equipment sparked in October 2017. “PG&E’s violations during the 2017 fire siege are extensive and disturbing, and go to basic requirements, such as the […]

CPUC to Investigate SoCal Gas Safety

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 27 launched an investigation into the safety cultures of SoCal Gas and its parent company following large and small gas pipeline explosions and leaks since 2015. “There are significant questions about SoCal Gas’ safety practices and priorities,” said Commissioner Liane Randolph. She pointed to a report released mid-May on […]

Shorts

27 Jun

Updated June 27 The California Air Resources Board adopted certification regulations for heavy duty electric and fuel cell vehicle powertrains. They aim to increase transparency, reliability and reparability of the vehicles. The powertrain rules, approved June 27, also seek to protect the state’s investment in heavy duty alternative vehicle technologies and consumers. That state has […]

Wildfire Risk Reduction Bills Pass

26 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on Wednesday approved bills seeking to reduce the risk of utility-sparked wildfires and ensure that all energy providers meet state renewable requirements and follow their integrated resource plans. At a June 26 hearing, the committee passed SB 247, which would give CalFire authority over the utilities’ mandated wildfire safety […]

JUICE: Clean Car & Air Chaos

25 Jun

If President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to yank California’s authority to enact automotive emissions and fuel efficiency standards that are tighter than federal requirements, the work of the Golden State and utilities here to promote electric vehicles and develop charging infrastructure will be jeopardized. Not only will California’s climate change goals be […]

S&P Pressures Sen. Wildfire Panel on Strict Liability

11 Jun

The Senate Select Committee on the Governor’s 2019 Report: Wildfires & Climate Change was warned that the credit rating agencies would further downgrade the investor-owned utilities if the state’s strict liability standard applied to utility equipment-sparked wildfires remained on the books. Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) waived a letter from Standard & Poor’s during a […]

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 […]

CPUC President Headed Out the Door

30 May

California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker announced he will be retiring as early as the beginning of July of this year. The often rumpled Picker quipped that initially he thought he’d postpone leaving the commission until he was forced to buy a new business suit. Instead, Picker said he would leave the agency following […]