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Shoddy Solar Contracting Spurs Fund

22 Sep

Substandard rooftop solar work has become a significant enough problem in some communities that the California Public Utilities Commission may create a fund to address claims from aggrieved residential ratepayers. Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposes adding $12 to each new solar interconnection to fund a $1.6 million net energy metering recovery fund annually. The investor-owned […]

Why Did Two California Power Plants Go Offline When Needed?

15 Sep

Anticipation surrounds a multi-agency analysis of which power plants unexpectedly went offline and what failures may have precipitated the call for rolling power outages in California mid-August. Now the release of that analysis is delayed until October rather than later this month.  The California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, […]

Juice: Scrutiny of Demand Response Failures Needed

15 Sep

The analysis of the rolling blackouts is in the works but there was advanced warning of some serious systematic problems, making some mistakes avoidable. The joint agency root cause report of the mid-August blackouts may be underway, but some problems were just waiting to happen. California was clearly and inexcusably on a path to rely […]

Rooftop Solar Compensation Under Review, Again

15 Sep

How much owners of rooftop solar reap for excess energy produced and the conditions attached have been battled in and outside California for several years. The Golden State has inconsistent solar policies, from providing $3 billion in subsidies under the decade-long Million Solar Roofs program that ended in 2017, to adding hefty charges to net […]

The Buzz

11 Sep

Northern San Diegans vigorously protest San Diego’s plan to upgrade and extend a big power line from San Marcos to Escondido. After listening to concerns about fire and financial dangers, as well as visual blight, the California Public Utilities Commission pulls the item from this week’s business meeting. In other news, the utility regulators learn […]

Northern San Diego County Residents Oppose New Overhead Line

10 Sep

Members of the public expressed strong concern about a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric to modernize and extend a 12-mile 69 kV line through northern San Diego County, leading state regulators to delay a vote for construction that seemed sure to be approved. Several locals, many emotional, said the proposed overhead line running […]

Klamath Dam Removal Inches Forward

10 Sep

At an update this week on the ongoing effort to remove dams on the Klamath River, PacifiCorp representatives told the California Public Utilities Commission that progress is being made on the transfer of the lower dams to a non-profit organization.     “We continue to support the settlement agreement,” PacifiCorp’s attorney told the commissioners. When pressed, […]

Energy Chair Sounds Alarm Over Skyrocketing Electric Bills

9 Sep

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair warned that increases in California utility bills are becoming untenable. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) pointed to the private utilities’ tab to reduce climate-aggravated wildfires, which gets passed on to customers. “Rates are really getting out of control,” Holden said during a Sept. 9 Power Association of Northern California meeting, […]

PG&E Shuts off Power in 22 Counties, SDG&E & SCE Customers Lose Power

8 Sep

High temperatures and fires over the Labor Day weekend put the grid to the test. While the California Independent System Operator managed to keep supply and demand in balance Sept. 5-7, tens of thousands of customers of the three investor-owned utilities lost power or had it shut off because of wildfires during and after the […]

The Cause of California’s Blackouts

8 Sep

Under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order, the California Public Utilities Commission has initiated a “root-cause analysis” of the state’s August 14-15 blackouts. Its joint report with the grid operator and California Energy Commission is expected to be completed at the end of this month. The blackouts were “intolerable,” but combined with the pandemic, west-wide heat storm, […]

Lawmakers Okay Smattering of Energy Bills

8 Sep

Updated Sept. 11 Fewer energy bills passed in the 2020 California legislative session than in any in the last two decades plus. The pandemic, shelter at home, and resulting focus on budget difficulties largely are responsible for the dramatic fall in energy measures making it to the governor’s desk. “It was pretty much a bust,” […]

CPUC Formally Fires Its Director

1 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Aug. 31 to formally oust the agency’s executive director Alice Stebbins.  “You took a series of actions over the course of several years that calls into question your integrity,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer told Stebbins during a remotely-held public meeting. She added that Stebbins neither took responsibility nor […]

The Buzz

27 Aug

State utility regulators sign off on funding the country’s biggest green public interest energy program and utility electric vehicle charging plan. The California Public Utilities Commission approves Southern California Edison’s $436 million program to install 38,000 electric car ports, focused on renters in and outside of struggling communities. The CPUC also extends for a decade […]

California Builds Out EV Charging for Renters

27 Aug

California regulators unanimously approved the largest utility electric car charging infrastructure program in the country. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to allow Southern California Edison to charge its ratepayer $436 million over the next four years to install 38,000 light duty vehicle chargers. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen recognized concerns about the program’s cost. He […]

News Roundup: CPUC Rejects Director’s Whistleblower Claim

27 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission is refuting claims by its embattled executive director that she has been illegally forced out. Alice Stebbins dismissal is be discussed at an Aug. 31 public Commission hearing. She was placed on indefinite leave Aug. 4. The attorney representing the state agency claims in a letter that Stebbins “engaged in […]

Withered Demand Response Blamed for Rolling Outages

26 Aug

The grid operator, state energy regulators and utilities largely abandoned demand response that would have provided enough electricity to avert outages during the recent heat wave, advocates of the policy say. And the numbers back them up. Rather than strengthen demand response, in which energy users cut back to leave more electricity on the grid […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

The Buzz

20 Aug

After 400,000 Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers had their power cut late last week because extreme heat spiked energy demand, Gov. Newsom tells energy officials to analyze the screw up. The grid operator, and heads of the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission also must […]

Speedy Analysis of Rolling Blackouts Ordered

20 Aug

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission, Independent System Operator and California Energy Commission to immediately determine why they failed to anticipate the mid-August squeeze on electricity resources and the cause of the rolling outages. In a letter sent early this week, the governor also demanded to know how the […]

CA Gets It that the Power System Must Manage EV Charging

18 Aug

California’s heat wave-induced blackouts came during evening peak demand spikes. If California fails to manage electric vehicle charging it could make those spikes a lot more common, according to new research. California leads the U.S. with nearly 750,000  of the estimated 1.5 million U.S. light duty EVs. Electric vehicle sales rose over 60% in 2019.  […]

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