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CPUC Launches Probe of Public Safety Power Shutoffs

13 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Nov. 13 to formally open an investigation of whether California’s investor-owned utilities prioritized safety and complied with legal requirements when employing Public Safety Power Shutoffs this fall. “This is an important step,” said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, who highlighted that rural areas particularly were affected. Commission President Marybel Batjer […]

PG&E’s in Critical Condition, Earnings Report Warns

7 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric Nov. 7 reported a whopping and unprecedented loss of $1.62 billion. Its third quarter earnings report, released without the standard accompaniment of a call with financial analysts, also stated that the company’s financial situation is in dire straits and that it faces a very uncertain future. PG&E Corp. and the utility […]

JUICE: Is Three the Charm for CA Energy Czar?

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom had to address the public outrage over Pacific Gas & Electric twice cutting off power to unprecedented numbers of people in the face of high fire danger, sparking wildfires and seeking protection in bankruptcy court in the face of massive fire liability. But if history is any indication, his recent appointment of […]

Newsom Pledges CPUC Action on PG&E Reimbursements

28 Oct

With more public safety power shutoffs in the offing, Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 28 doubled down on Pacific Gas & Electric. He pledged “forceful” action by the California Public Utilities Commission to get the utility to reimburse customers for losses due to shutoffs. He further reiterated that his office will work with bidders toward a […]

The Buzz

24 Oct

Shutoffs and more shutoffs more shutoffs this week because of dangerous winds and fires. Pacific Gas & Electric reports a transmission tower with broken jumper near the latest Sonoma fire. In the midst of blazes, major fire risks and public outrage over outages, regulators approve collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a legislatively mandated wildfire […]

CPUC Approves Ratepayers Paying $10.5 B into Wildfire Fund

24 Oct

A wind-driven blaze that grew from 300 to 10,000 acres overnight in Sonoma County was the background for the California Public Utilities Commission’s Oct. 24 meeting. During the meeting held in Redding, regulators unanimously approved collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a $21 billion utility wildfire fund. Southern California also was experiencing weather driven […]

Comparing PG&E & SCE Safety Outages

22 Oct

The state’s two largest investor-owned utilities warned about potential power shutoffs in the face of dry and windy conditions due mid-week. Who ends up getting their power shutoff in Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison territory is a moving target. It is largely driven by variable weather conditions, but also by the nature […]

PG&E on Hot Seat over Massive Shutoff’s Costs

21 Oct

During an emergency meeting, state energy regulators and others did not mince words when criticizing Pacific Gas & Electric for the safety, health and financial impacts of its unprecedented Northern California power shutoff in the face of wildfire risks. “You guys failed on so many levels,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, told PG&E […]

SCE Warns of Power Cutoffs

17 Oct

Southern California Edison has alerted more than 33,000 of its customers that it may shut off power to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires. The warning came as the National Weather Service predicted wind storms throughout much of the utility’s territory in the days ahead, particularly in the high desert areas and mountains north and […]

Newsom Acts on Last Round of Energy Bills

14 Oct

California may soon have smart appliances that can be automatically turned off and on by energy companies to match their electricity use with power availability and price under a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. “SB 49 will help bring California’s electrical grid into the 21st century and allow us to use our […]

The Buzz

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s handling of its unprecedented power shutoffs to more than 700,000 has customers and regulators up in arms. PG&E also doesn’t get a warm reception in bankruptcy court. The judge rejects its effort to again have him ignore a competing plan to reorganize PG&E’s massive debts. Over at the California Public Utilities […]

PG&E Blasted for Historic Power Shutoffs

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s largest precautionary power outage in California in response to wildfire threats has outraged policy makers and customers. PG&E’s response “has been absolutely unacceptable” to communities, “to individual people, to the commerce of our state and the safety of our people,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said Oct. 10. “This […]

Proposed $65M Fine for PG&E’s Bogus Records Gets Slammed

7 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to pay a $65 million fine for falsifying records on the locations of its underground gas and electric pipelines, impacting the safety of excavators in and outside the company. The penalty also is for risks the utility caused by hiding its late responses to excavators’ requests. The Utility Reform Network […]

Newsom Inks Various Utility-Related Bills

2 Oct

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several energy-related bills into law Oct. 2 that he said aim to mitigate climate change through clean energy policies. The governor approved SB 520 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). Hertzberg’s measure establishes requirements for an energy provider of last resort given the increasing number of customers receiving power from entities […]

Governor Signs Wildfire Bills Affecting Utilities

1 Oct

Updated Oct. 2. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed energy bills Oct. 2 related to utility power shutoffs to prevent wildfires, as well as two other wildfire-related measures setting new requirements for utilities. Meanwhile, several other energy measures await action by Newsom  before the Oct. 13 deadline. He must either sign the bills into law, veto them, […]

CPUC Opens Examination of PG&E Reorganization Plan

30 Sep

California utility regulators late last week opened an investigation into the rate and public safety impacts of Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy reorganization plan. The California Public Utilities Commission is set to begin its formal review at a public meeting slated for Oct. 23. “As we move through this reorganization,” said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves, […]

CPUC OKs 27% & 17% Revenue Rise for Sempra Utilities

26 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 26 unanimously adopted a 13.78 percent increase in SoCal Gas’ 2019 test year revenue requirement over last year’s rates to reach nearly $2.8 billion. The hike was made as part of the Sempra utility’s 2019-21 general rate case. The five commissioners also signed off on a higher revenue requirement […]

PG&E Folds New Deal into its Reorganization Plan

23 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric Sept. 23 finalized a $14 billion settlement that includes the $11 billion agreement reached last week with insurance firms for damage claims from the PG&E equipment-sparked 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. The final $14 billion agreement also includes a $1 billion deal reached with 18 local public entities […]

Shorts

23 Sep

Updated Sept. 26 The electric grid faces growing cybersecurity risks, particularly to industrial control systems that support grid operations, the General Accountability Office warned Sept. 25. “The increasing adoption of high-wattage consumer Internet of Things devices—“smart” devices connected to the internet—and the use of the global positioning system to synchronize grid operations are also vulnerabilities,” […]

Private Utilities Face Wildfire Mitigation Plan Hurdles

18 Sep

California’s three large investor-owned utilities reported progress implementing their mandated SB 901 wildfire mitigation plans, but the shortage of tree trimmers and composite poles are among the challenges hampering their efforts. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Jonathan Woldemariam, director of wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, said Sept. 17 that the work has been “a humbling […]