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Rule Violation Forces CPUC to Delay Key Vote on PG&E Bankruptcy

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission postponed the vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion financial plan to exit bankruptcy, citing an improper ex parte communication conducted during the quiet period. CPUC President Marybel Batjer announced the postponement May 21. Will Abrams, who has taken a lead role among fire victims, notified CPUC stakeholders of […]

News Roundup: ARB Sues Fed Over Clean Car Waiver, PG&E Signs 423 MW of Storage Deals

19 May

The California Air Resources Board has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for failing to provide a rationale for blocking its emission standards for cars and light trucks that are stricter than the federal ones. The suit, unlike others over the Clean Air Act waiver authority, is based on […]

PG&E Wildfire Victims Back $13.5B Deal, CPUC Set to Approve Reorg Plan

19 May

Updated May 21 Most of the tens of thousands of victims of fires in 2015, 2017 and 2018 that were sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to the company’s pending $13.5 billion cash and stock settlement. PG&E said May 18 that there has been “overwhelming acceptance of the plan” by the surviving victims—those who […]

The Buzz

14 May

The massive hole in the upcoming state budget caused by the pandemic does not keep Gov. Gavin Newsom from adding funds to protect against wildfires and its fallout.  It is another story for climate protection, however. Covid-19 also is responsible for destroying huge numbers of jobs in energy efficiency, renewables and other alternative energy sectors […]

Juice: Brass Knuckles

12 May

Metal fighting devices placed on a person’s knuckles “concentrate a punch’s force by directing it toward a harder and smaller contact area,” increasing the harm to the intended target, according to Wikipedia. The Trump Administration has popularized the use of the functional equivalent of these thuggish fighting tools. They also appear back in fashion at […]

The Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

PG&E Hit with $1.94B Penalty for Wildfires

7 May

State regulators voted unanimously May 7 to have Pacific Gas & Electric’s shareholders pay $1.937 billion for 15 fires utility equipment sparked in 2017 and 2018. It is the largest California Public Utilities Commission fine to date. The penalty is higher than a proposed settlement reached by PG&E and regulatory safety staff. It is lower […]

Home Excess Energy Use Charge Tamped Down

7 May

To help decrease bills for residents spending all day in their homes, energy regulators voted to lower the financial penalty for excess energy use typically charged by the investor-owned utilities. The reduction is to “make sure residential bills remain manageable during this crisis,” California Public Utilities Commission member Genevieve Shiroma said May 7. The move […]

Report: Mandates Fuel Cheaper Cleaner Grid

4 May

Years of mandates under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard continue to lower the cost of non-fossil fueled electricity. The RPS requires that 44% of utility, community energy and other electricity supplier resources come from solar, wind, geothermal or other eligible resources by 2024, rising to 52% in 2027 and 60% in 2030. “The average price of […]

Outcry over Bill to Revive Stalled Pumped Storage Project

30 Apr

Among a reduced number of pending energy bills is a controversial measure to boost the prospects of a large pumped storage project near Joshua Tree National Park. AB 2255 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was revised in March, shifting the focus from advancing long duration storage to benefiting Next Era’s 1,300 MW Eagle Crest hydropower […]

The Number of Energy Bills Drop During Legislative Limbo

30 Apr

The longer state legislators remain away from Sacramento, the smaller the list of energy bills expected to be taken up when they return to the state capital. The stack of measures has diminished to roughly a dozen. The Assembly is scheduled to return May 4. The Utilities and Commerce Committee is set to meet May […]

Juice: Beyond Diesel Backup Generation and Blackouts

28 Apr

The use of clean-fueled microgrids to keep power flowing to vulnerable people and critical services—from safety to water supply—during upcoming fires and outages was the talk of the town. Unfortunately, the talk led to little action on installing these types of projects in high fire threat areas in California before wildfires start this year. Pacific […]

Covid-19 & Looming Wildfires Jolt Utilities

28 Apr

The ravages of the pandemic are still with us in California as the threat of wildfire heightens. The deadly combination creates challenges for utilities pressing to reduce the risk of fire ignited by power lines before temperatures peak. As it was, the virus created difficulties for the investor-owned utilities working to mitigate blazes in high […]

The Buzz

23 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission seeks ways to ease the suffering of ratepayers and alternative energy companies and their workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. After months of controversy, East Bay Community Energy votes 10-5 to reject taking nuclear power from PG&E. The nuclear power is a hot political potato for the East […]

CPUC Strives to Wring Progress out of Pandemic

23 Apr

An April 23 workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission on Covid-19 and its fallout was a study in pain. Mounting numbers of state residents cannot pay their gas and electric bills. The range of energy businesses, from those in solar, to energy efficiency to transportation electrification, are suffering layoffs, lost business and financing, and […]

East Bay Won’t Accept PG&E Nuclear Power

23 Apr

Late in the evening of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the East Bay Community Energy Board rejected roughly 700 GWh of nuclear power from Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon facility for this year.  The vote was 10-5. More than 60 people spoke during the remote April 22 meeting, protesting any acceptance of the […]

CPUC Set to Lower PG&E Penalty, Approve Reorganization Plan

21 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric would pay a total $1.94 billion penalty for the deadly Camp Fire that destroyed the City of Paradise in late 2018, and for 17 other fires it sparked that year and the previous year under a California Public Utilities Commission April 20 proposal. If adopted, it would be the largest penalty […]

The Buzz

17 Apr

State energy regulators unanimously agree to minor reductions in the bills of the ratepayers of the state’s two largest utilities. The California Public Utilities Commission votes for this no cost step advancing the climate dividend to alleviate financial pressures caused by the fallout of COVID 19. This dividend is often called a “climate credit.” While […]

CPUC Okays Minor Residential Rate Relief

16 Apr

State energy regulators unanimously agreed to accelerate the disbursement of the state’s greenhouse gas auction revenue to lower the bills of the customers of the state’s two largest utilities. Bill reductions will total about $36. The California Public Utilities Commission April 16 action was in response to job losses and higher utility bills stemming from […]

Community Choice Roundup

16 Apr

Community energy representatives protested the pending California Public Utilities Commission decision putting the private utilities in charge of a centralized capacity market to buy supply cushions for a variety of energy providers. If adopted, the decision would conflict with “a key objective of the Commission’s reliability oversight,” which is to safeguard community energy’s “self-procurement autonomy,” […]