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Ratepayers Face Billions of Wildfire Costs

6 Jun

Under pressure to act on the mounting financial impacts of wildfires including those sparked by electric utilities, lawmakers face fundamental choices as the end of the legislative session begins to come into view. Almost all of them involve handing ratepayers much of the tab for untold billions of dollars of utility wildfire expenses. The choices […]

All-Electric Buildings Raise Rates

6 Jun

As California pursues a strategy to phase out the use of natural gas for heating space and water, cooking and other uses it will have to develop a transition plan to prevent remaining gas customers from rate shock. That’s according to a new study conducted for the California Energy Commission. “This has big implications for […]

Shorts

29 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 30 approved lifting the direct access cap in investor-owned utility territories by 4,000 GWh. There is a long list of large energy users seeking to receive power from direct access providers since it was capped after the 2000-01 energy crisis.  CPUC President Mike Picker said the additional direct access […]

CPUC Rejiggers Utility Cost Recovery Te$t

28 May

A California Public Utilities Commission decision proposes a new cost recovery reasonableness yardstick to determine the extent of ratepayer-funded cushioning of private utilities facing huge wildfire liabilities to keep them financially healthy and operating safely. Or in the alternative, the financial stress test is to evaluate the impact of requiring utility customers to pay for […]

The Buzz

16 May

It is better late than never for Southern California Edison, which finally gets its 2018-2020 rate case approved. State energy regulators okay a revenue requirement for 2018 of nearly $5.2 billion. Over the three-year period, Edison will reap a 4 percent increase, not counting recovery of its wildfire safety costs. Utility regulators this week also […]

CPUC Okays 4% Boost in SCE’s 2018-20 Rate Case

16 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved increasing Southern California Edison’s 2018 revenue requirement from the commission’s initially proposed $5.102 billion to $5.117 billion. As part of the triennial general rate case belatedly approved by the commission May 16, Edison’s revenue requirement for 2018 is below that of 2017. But, the CPUC gave Edison 92 […]

Undercurrents: Lawmakers Examine CPUC Safety Office

14 May

Updated May 15 Whether the California Public Utilities Commission’s fairly young Office of Safety Advocates is increasing safety at the CPUC and utilities was the focus of a May 14 hearing by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Subcommittee on Gas, Electric & Transportation Safety. A key challenge remains insufficient resources for the safety office. […]

Fog City Explores Take Over of PG&E Wires

14 May

If San Francisco replaced bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric’s power delivery services and assets with its public utility, the city could reap considerable benefits. That is according to an explorative study by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff released May 13. “While any sort of acquisition of PG&E property would be a lengthy process, […]

Lawmakers Confront Looming Utility Liability

9 May

State legislators face tough decisions in the coming months as they grapple with the state’s energy utilities’ growing wildfire costs. At issue is more than utility liability for the recent fires. The bigger problem, according to state officials and experts, is the cost of future fires. It is estimated that a risk liability pool funded […]

The Buzz

2 May

PG&E’s first quarter earnings this year are far from rosy, but not as grim as expected. Earnings take an expected hit from wildfire, bankruptcy and safety expenses, which PG&E hopes to more than recoup from energy regulators and ultimately ratepayers. Southern California Edison’s parent earnings rise but that doesn’t stop its CEO from whining that […]

JUICE: Muddy Waters & Rates

30 Apr

While passing through a corner of Nevada along Highway 395 during a drive to the Eastern side of the Sierra I was struck by the differences in the price of gasoline in the Golden and Silver states. Filling up in Nevada April 19, I paid $3.30 a gallon, saving well over a dollar per gallon. […]

PG&E Wants a 50%-plus Hike on its ROE

24 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking an unprecedented increase in its rate of return that would raise its revenue requirement by $1.2 billion next year. In a filing to the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E asked for a 56 percent boost in its return on equity, from the current 10. 25 percent rate to 16 […]

Edison Seeks Higher Rates Due to Wildfire Risk

23 Apr

Southern California Edison asked the California Public Utilities Commission April 22 to grant it a rate boost that would increase the average residential power bill by $12.20 cents a month to help cover wildfire risk. The move comes after the company posted losses at the end of last year in the face of wildfire liability […]

Newsom Calls for Wildfire Liability Reform

12 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom April 12 called on lawmakers to pass a legislative reform package to deal with the growing threat of wildfires, calling measures adopted to date “inadequate.” “We all have a burden and responsibility to meet the costs,” said Newsom. “We’re all in this together.” In a long and at times rambling press conference, […]

Edison Seeks Big Rise on its Return On Equity from FERC

11 Apr

Southern California Edison asked federal energy regulators April 11 for more than a 50 percent increase on its return on equity to help ameliorate the cost of its “extraordinary” wildfire liability. Edison seeks to raise its revenue requirement on federally regulated transmission lines from $1.038 billion to $1.328 billion annually, a 28 percent increase. That […]

Assembly Committee Okays Energy Info Bills

11 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved several measures aimed at providing more public information on energy prices April 10. Bills approved by the panel included: AB 1799 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), to require the California Energy Commission to form a task force to delve into recent natural gas price volatility, which boosted the […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

The Buzz

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

FERC Democrats Challenge Agency’s Scant Climate Analyses

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators March 21 criticized their agency’s shortcomings in considering upfront the greenhouse gas impacts of commission-approved projects. “We are creating litigation risks by putting our heads in the sand,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. She highlighted a March 20 federal D.C. District Court ruling that blocks oil and gas drilling […]

PG&E’s Proposal to Break Green Deals Raises Costs

19 Mar

If Pacific Gas & Electric is allowed to abrogate its long-term renewable contracts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, bankers will increase the risk premiums on clean energy project loans. That will drive up the price of renewable resources in California, attorneys warned at a legal seminar held March 18 by the Environmental Law Institute […]