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PG&E Files Wildfire Safety Plan, Warns Bankruptcy Could Interfere

7 Feb

The private utilities Feb. 6 filed their mandated plans for reducing wildfire threats from electric equipment. The plans filed by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric at the California Public Utilities Commission are required under last year’s wildfire risk reduction legislation, SB 901. Much of the focus is […]

PG&E’S 2018 Lobbying Budget Soared

6 Feb

In the midst of the intense legislative maneuverings last summer, Pacific Gas & Electric spent more than $6 million on lobbying lawmakers and another $168,000 pushing its agenda at the California Public Utilities Commission. The utility spent the money during the third quarter of 2018, according to the utility’s Secretary of State filings. For all […]

Juice: Can CCAs Build a Resilient Energy System?

5 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy is forcing California energy policymakers to grapple with the future of the energy utility business model. PG&E’s massive $30 billion liability for wildfires has led the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate how the utility might be broken up into smaller units that could avoid electric lines sparking fires and […]

SCE Gets Green Light to Recover $1B in Power Costs

31 Jan

Southern California Edison area electric customers will see a 5 percent increase in their bills this year due to the utility’s under collection of money to pay for energy bought in 2018. The California Public Utilities Commission authorized the utility Jan. 31 to collect an extra $983.8 million from those it distributes power to this […]

CPUC Takes Heat for Poor Utility Ratings & Safety

31 Jan

State lawmakers Jan. 30 grilled the head state energy utility regulator over what his agency was doing to bolster utility ratings and reduce wildfire risks during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing. Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) warned California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker that the investor-owned utilities may become “un-investible” because of […]

Coalition Calls for Ending Natural Gas Use in Buildings

29 Jan

California energy regulators need to substantially revise their policies to make sure buildings become part of the solution to meeting the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas reductions goals instead of a roadblock, according to a series of white papers issued Jan. 29 by the Building Decarbonization Coalition. The key, according to the group, is to eliminate […]

JUICE: Regulators & Others Move to Keep Skin in PG&E Bankruptcy Game

29 Jan

State and federal energy regulators took expedited actions to protect their authority over Pacific Gas & Electric before it entered into the unknowns of federal bankruptcy court. Renewable energy companies and other generators asked both agencies to protect their ongoing power agreements with PG&E. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late on Jan. 25 stepped into […]

Newsom Shapes CA Energy Policy with New Appointments

23 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom is moving quickly to put his stamp on California’s energy market roiled by the bankruptcy of the state’s largest private utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. A little more than two weeks after he was sworn in, Newsom filled a vacancy at the California Public Utilities Commission with another woman of color. He […]

Undercurrents: Drawing the Unaffordable vs. Affordable Rate Line

22 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission took its first step towards getting its arms around the cumulative impacts of its decisions on financially struggling ratepayers. “There is a lot of stake in this proceeding,” said Cliff Rechtschaffen, presiding commissioner, during the Jan. 22 CPUC workshop. He said at issue are the safety, reliability and affordability of […]

Shorts

22 Jan

PG&E told the federal district court that put the company on probation following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion, that its direction to inspect its huge power system and clear vegetation near wires could cost up to $150 billion.  “PG&E would inevitably need to turn to California ratepayers for funding, resulting in a substantial increase […]

Newsom Proposes Tempered Energy & Climate Change Spending

14 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first state budget proposal would make cuts from last year’s record spending on some energy-related programs, but overall would maintain funding for energy agency operations and staffing, even providing for some small staffing increases. Unlike former Gov. Jerry Brown, who heavily featured climate change expenditures in his annual budget messages, Newsom focused […]

Juice: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

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 […]