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JUICE: Flying a Jet Plane?

12 Dec

California may create a central power purchasing agency to fill gaps in the state’s electricity supply to ensure the grid remains reliable, and possibly to act as the provider of last resort. The state essentially did the same some 17 years ago with less than stellar results, though the circumstances were different. Out of the […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: CPUC Okays $812 M for DWR Crisis Bond Charges

4 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission approved passing through to ratepayers the cost of Department of Water Resources’ bonds arising from the multi-billion dollar power contracts the state signed in the midst of the 2000-01 energy crisis. With no discussion late last week, the CPUC signed off on allocating DWR’s $812 million in 2019 bond service […]

Undercurrents: LADWP Aims for 55% Renewables

27 Nov

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board Nov. 27 approved forwarding the muni’s 2017 integrated resource plan to the California Energy Commission to satisfy the legislatively required 50 percent renewable standard by 2030. The plan, which is required to show how LADWP plans to meet SB 350’s 50 percent renewable energy mandate by […]

Juice: CA Climate Policy Refugees?

19 Nov

California’s master plan for cutting greenhouse gases could be jeopardized by a lawsuit by a civil rights group. The suit filed by a group calling themselves “The Two-Hundred” may soon be heard in a state court in Fresno. The legal challenge filed earlier this year contends the state’s climate policies are heightening inequity. The claim […]

Shorts

18 Nov

Strategies for reducing the number of investor-owned utility power shutoffs are expected to be released next month, said California Public Utilities Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. She headed a Nov. 19 workshop as part of the proceeding she is overseeing on how to reduce the number of disconnections and improve reconnections. Disconnections of residential ratepayers gas […]

Undercurrents: No High Use Charge with TOU Rates

13 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving to default time-of-use rates for residential electricity ratepayers. But one of the catches is that the new default rate to begin next year will eliminate surcharges on energy hogs, according to speakers at the CPUC’s residential rate hearing held Nov. 13. When you take away the high energy […]

California IOUs Show Handy Profits

6 Nov

Updated Nov. 7. California’s three major investor-owned utilities were profitable during the third quarter of this year. That includes Pacific Gas & Electric, which lost money last quarter and faces ongoing uncertainties over wildfire liability. Here’s a breakdown of the third quarter results. Edison International: Edison reported third quarter earnings this year of $513 million, […]

Revised PCIA Won’t Slow San Diego Community Choice

31 Oct

Higher exit fees payable to investor-owned utilities authorized last month by regulators are apparently no showstopper to community choice aggregation in San Diego. Neither the city, nor San Diego Gas & Electric take issue with the level of fee increases the California Public Utilities Commission is requiring community choice aggregators to pay to utilities. Initially, […]

Undercurrents: Imbalance Market Savings Top $0.5 Billion

29 Oct

The Western Energy Imbalance Market saved electricity consumers $100.6 million during the third quarter of 2018. That raises total savings since the market opened in November of 2014 to $502.3 million, according to the California Independent System Operator on Oct. 29. “This clearly illustrates the value of markets to the customers in California and the […]

CPUC Weighs Expanding its Reach Over Non-Utilities

24 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 23 mulls over the implications of growing customer choice in the retail electricity market in a document that hints at actions to regulate community choice aggregators and direct access providers like today’s private utilities. Likely actions and recommendations—from levying new fees on electricity customers that would go to utilities, […]

Undercurrents: Chatterjee Named New FERC Chair

23 Oct

Updated Oct. 25. Kevin McIntyre is unable to continue as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because of serious health issues related to brain cancer.  He announced Oct. 25 that  he was stepping down. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee will replace him as chair. “I thank Chairman McIntyre for his leadership at the agency, and pray […]

JUICE: The Direct Access Elephant

16 Oct

Energy regulators’ controversial vote last week to raise the fees on customers who’ve left investor-owned utilities for community energy programs is not expected to halt or significantly impede existing and emerging community aggregators up and down the state. The estimated 15 percent increase in community energy programs’ share of utility generation costs under the newly […]

Undercurrents

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 18. To meet California’s ambitious 100 percent clean energy mandate, natural gas-fired space and water heaters need to be phased out. The ideal replacement is efficient electric heat pump technology, according to a new report, Decarbonization of Heating Energy Use in California Buildings: Technology, Markets, Impacts, and Policy Solutions. “Switching to electric heat […]

CPUC Hits Community Choice with Higher Costs

11 Oct

Facing significant opposition in a shifting energy world, the California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 11 unanimously approved a decision that will raise the bills of community energy and direct access customers by shifting more private utility portfolio costs onto them. In voting this week, commissioners backed revisions to the controversial Power Charge Indifference Adjustment methodology […]

Newsom & Cox Clash on Energy & Climate Change

9 Oct

Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox squared off Oct. 8 in a debate on KQED, clashing over energy and climate policy. Cox, the Republican champion, emphasized the need to pursue “affordable” energy and climate change policies. Newsom endorsed the Gov. Jerry Brown’s current direction, which he said is creating new job opportunities and “green […]

Shorts

9 Oct

A 40 year-old law that requires utilities to buy power from renewable generators and co-generators should be waived in states with competitive solicitation requirements and other measures that ensure all technologies access to the power market. That’s the recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a new white paper from the National Association of […]

PG&E Seeks Another Transmission Rate Increase

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric asked federal energy regulators for a 9.5 percent increase in transmission fees, which would mark an increase from a projected $1.79 billion this year to a $1.96 transmission revenue requirement for 2019. The proposed increase to PG&E’s 2019 transmission rate case, made in an Oct. 1 filing to the Federal Energy […]

West Saw Record summer Power Prices, Says EIA

25 Sep

Power prices this past summer were the highest in the western U.S. since 2008, according to an Energy Information Administration report released Sept. 25. A separate EIA analysis showed that almost one-third of U.S. households regularly struggle to pay their energy bills. Power prices surged in the West this summer, particularly in California, due largely […]

Brown Signs SB 901 & Bills Impacting Energy Sector

24 Sep

A new state law allows utilities to borrow money through bonds to cover uninsured wildfire costs subject to California Public Utilities Commission review. The new law, SB 901, also authorizes spending $200 million a year from state carbon cap-and-trade revenue for the next five years to reduce wildfire fuel by thinning forests and conducting controlled […]