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Inside the Beltway: Committees Advance Energy Bills

17 Jul

The full House Energy & Commerce Committee approved 10 energy-related bills July 17 aimed at advancing energy efficiency and energy sector employment and also making energy infrastructure more impervious to cyberattacks. “These bills tackle the climate crisis head-on by ensuring our homes, schools and buildings emit less carbon pollution, and by investing in our state […]

Assembly Panel Approvals Keep Energy Bills Alive

12 Jul

As legislators hustled last week to move bills through final policy committees up against a July 12 deadline, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on July 10 advanced numerous energy bills assuring they’ll be further considered after the summer recess. The panel advanced three measures by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) aimed at improving the […]

Juice: Staving Off Chaos

9 Jul

Lawmakers are rolling the dice in Sacramento this week, betting that legislation to set up a state-run wildfire insurance fund for California’s financially beleaguered investor-owned electric utilities will resolve damages stemming from past utility-sparked fires plus stave off major conflagrations in the decade ahead. The measure, AB 1054, will establish a state insurance fund for […]

Senate Backs Newsom’s Wildfire Proposal

8 Jul

Updated July 9, 2019. The state Senate late on July 8 passed a  bill to set up a $40 billion wildfire fund to stabilize the state’s investor-owned utilities and to bankroll payouts to victims of past utility-sparked fires. Passage came after earlier in the afternoon the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee approved the measure, […]

Bill Proposes Utility Wildfire Recovery Fund

3 Jul

New amendments to AB 1054 this week would create a multi-billion dollar wildfire liability fund backed principally by ratepayer money, as pushed by the governor. The measure by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) proposes a $10.5 billion revolving liquidity fund to cover private utility liabilities stemming from fires their equipment may […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

CPUC Weighs Penalizing PG&E for 2017 Wildfires

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announced the evening of June 27 that it initiated a proceeding to consider fining Pacific Gas & Electric for 15 of the 17 devastating blazes its equipment sparked in October 2017. “PG&E’s violations during the 2017 fire siege are extensive and disturbing, and go to basic requirements, such as the […]

CPUC to Investigate SoCal Gas Safety

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 27 launched an investigation into the safety cultures of SoCal Gas and its parent company following large and small gas pipeline explosions and leaks since 2015. “There are significant questions about SoCal Gas’ safety practices and priorities,” said Commissioner Liane Randolph. She pointed to a report released mid-May on […]

Shorts

27 Jun

Updated June 27 The California Air Resources Board adopted certification regulations for heavy duty electric and fuel cell vehicle powertrains. They aim to increase transparency, reliability and reparability of the vehicles. The powertrain rules, approved June 27, also seek to protect the state’s investment in heavy duty alternative vehicle technologies and consumers. That state has […]

PG&E Finds More than 260,000 Line Safety Issues

19 Jun

Recently completed safety inspections of Pacific Gas & Electric transmission and distribution lines in high fire-risk areas turned up 263,000 problems, the utility stated June 19. “The unmistakable message of the inspection results is that we as a company must do a much better job of making sure that we maintain our assets in a […]

House Democrats Push Pipeline Safety

19 Jun

A House panel is aiming to place new requirements on oil and gas pipeline operators and toughen federal enforcement standards as part of an upcoming reauthorization of the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for fiscal years 2020-23. Toward that end, the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee held a hearing on two bills circulated […]

The Buzz

14 Jun

A House Energy panel zeros in on federal legislation and tactics to resolve the troubling issue of long-term storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. Lawmakers also grapple with how to consolidate onsite spent fuel in 121 communities, including in Southern California and Sacramento. The day before, another House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tells […]

U.S. Senate Energy Committee Aims to Curb Wildfires

14 Jun

To coincide with the start of this year’s wildfire season, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) held a June 13 hearing to assess wildfire threats, including from grasslands and excess fuels in forests in Alaska, California and across the U.S. Murkowski, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee chair, warned of the “proliferation of disease and insect […]

House Debates Nuclear Waste Bills

13 Jun

A House Energy & Commerce subcommittee June 13 debated how to restart the stalled effort to remove and consolidate stranded high-level radioactive waste kept onsite at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Rancho Seco in Sacramento and at 119 other sites across the nation. Three federal bills aiming to consolidate waste from nuclear plants were […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

Undercurrents

11 Jun

With temperatures set to soar last weekend, Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to 21,000 customers in Butte and Yuba counties for safety reasons at about 9:00 p.m. on June 8. In addition to safety shutoffs in the Sierra Foothills, PG&E turned off power to about 1,700 customers in Napa, Solano and Yolo Counties […]

S&P Pressures Sen. Wildfire Panel on Strict Liability

11 Jun

The Senate Select Committee on the Governor’s 2019 Report: Wildfires & Climate Change was warned that the credit rating agencies would further downgrade the investor-owned utilities if the state’s strict liability standard applied to utility equipment-sparked wildfires remained on the books. Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) waived a letter from Standard & Poor’s during a […]

The Buzz

30 May

This week is all about measures to reduce the impacts of utility-sparked wildfires in California. In the midst of all the smoke, CPUC president Mike Picker says he’ll soon retire. Earlier, he and other state energy regulators approve the investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risks from their equipment. But, the CPUC notes, this is […]

Official Says CPUC is Ill-Prepared on Wildfire Safety

22 May

The California Public Utilities Commission will act blindly when it approves massive wildfire mitigation plans filed by power utilities that were called for by state lawmakers, the commission’s top safety official said this week. “There is no standard or framework for the CPUC to evaluate these plans,” Elizaveta Malashenko, CPUC executive director for safety and […]

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 […]