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Plan to Curb Utility Wildfire Liability Faces Pushback

10 Aug

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to legislatively amend the decades–long court created legal doctrine that holds utilities strictly liable for wildfire damage faced strong head winds at an Aug. 9 legislative conference committee hearing. At issue is who’s responsible for the massive liability tab from the destruction arising from utility-sparked wildfires: ratepayers, local governments, insurance companies […]

Revisions to PG&E Rate Design Approved 5-0

9 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission Aug. 9 voted unanimously for a settlement that changes Pacific Gas & Electric’s rate design, largely for non-residential customers, and alters its electric marginal cost allocations. Commissioner Carla Peterman called the decision addressing the second phase of PG&E’s general rate case “balanced.” This week’s decision adopts what’s known as the […]

Revised Power Charge Gets Mixed Reception

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision Aug. 1 that attempts to resolve differences over how to allocate private utility power portfolio costs between customers that remain with an investor-owned utility and those that depart. The proposal modifies the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, which was created to avoid saddling remaining utility ratepayers with […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

Shorts

16 Jul

Federal energy regulators July 18 approved a final rule requiring interstate pipeline companies to pass along to customers their savings under the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Companies will have to file a form outlining their savings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It acted this week on the matter. While FERC will have […]

CPUC Focuses on Power Shutoffs

12 Jul

State energy regulators July 12 unanimously approved opening a rulemaking to assess the cause of the growing rate of residential utility disconnections because of non-payment. The goal is to reduce shutoffs. The California Public Utilities Commission also voted  to enhance utilities’ ability to de-energize power lines during risky weather events, such as hot high winds. […]

Proposal Cuts Ratepayer Tab for San Onfore’s Closure

28 Jun

A California Public Utilities Commission law judge blessed a settlement reached earlier this year that will limit what ratepayers have to pay for Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station closure costs. The settlement, approved late last week, would undo an earlier agreement approved by the commission in 2014 that would have stuck ratepayers […]

Bill Allowing Unlimited Direct Access Advances

28 Jun

Legislation lifting the cap on the ability of large businesses and industries to be served by non-utility energy service providers passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 27 despite significant opposition, including from the panel chair. SB 237 by Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), which would remove limits on direct access, was approved […]

Geothermal Procurement Bill Clears Senate Panel

28 Jun

Legislation to require utilities, community choice aggregators, and energy service providers to purchase more geothermal energy, particularly from new facilities being developed at the Salton Sea, cleared a crucial state Senate committee June 27. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee voted 7-2 to advance AB 893 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), who represents Imperial […]

The Buzz

21 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric notifies investors and lenders that it is taking a $2.5 billion loss in the second quarter as a result of mounting wildfire liability, with the worst potentially yet ahead. Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Sacramento advances a bill that may ease utility liability for wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission sets […]

SDG&E Loses Bid to Build New Pipeline

21 Jun

Utility regulators meeting June 21 turned down San Diego Gas & Electric’s request to build a new $639 million, 47-mile-long gas transmission line in San Diego County. The utility asked the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to build the line along a route that’s parallel to an existing, but smaller transmission line. SDG&E then […]

Senate Energy Panel Okays Minor Energy Bills

19 Jun

A handful of meaures passed out of the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee this week, from one requiring transparency on decisions to place a moratorium on natural gas supply connections to another reducing public school utility bills. AB 1879 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) would require the California Public Utilities Commission to provide […]

JUICE: Cruising the Hydrogen Highway

11 Jun

Fuel cell vehicles, powered by hydrogen made from water and renewable power, have long been the Holy Grail when it comes to creating a clean energy economy. After decades of effort to push the technology toward commercial reality, fuel cell vehicles are beginning to gain traction with car-makers, energy companies, state officials, and most importantly […]

Nuclear & Coal Bailout to Hike Home Utility Bills

7 Jun

Californians could be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for power if the Trump Administration advances a plan to bail out coal and nuclear power plant owners and operators. It would cost the nation’s electricity ratepayers more than $30 billion annually on their power bills, skeptics say about the subsidies under discussion in Washington. […]

PG&E Seeks Rate Case Filing Delay Because of Liability Unknowns

6 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric took the unprecedented step of asking energy regulators to give it an additional four months to file its upcoming general rate case because of fears of massive liability for last October’s wildfires, some of which were sparked by trees hitting utility equipment. “The 2017 Northern California wildfires have created tremendous uncertainty […]

Clean Tech: The Next Energy Efficiency Frontier: Labs

6 Jun

With the largest population and economy in the nation, California has more laboratories than any other state, boasting some 116 million square feet of energy-gobbling scientific space. Labs represent “the next major frontier in energy efficiency,” Allison Paradise of My Green Lab and Alison Farmer of kW Engineering told the California Energy Commission during a […]

Shorts

4 Jun

Updated June 7. Utility regulators held a two-day meeting this week on how to potentially redesign electricity rates to accommodate an increasing number of electric vehicles in the coming years. The meeting on June 7 and 8 also focused on how to address rate design to encourage production of hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles. […]

CAISO Launches Backstop Procurement Review

30 May

The grid operator kicked off what it called a new and “holistic” backstop procurement proceeding May 30 aimed at filling power generation capacity gaps not addressed in the resource adequacy procurement process. The California Independent System Operator opened the proceeding after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission declined to approve an earlier proposal. It was a […]

The Buzz

17 May

Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal. Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last […]