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Bankruptcy May be the Excuse for Expedited Rate Recovery of PG&E’s 2019 Fire Costs

2 Apr

The pandemic and the fast approaching wildfire season increases the urgency of getting Pacific Gas & Electric out of bankruptcy by June 30, California Public Utilities Commission Marybel Batjer said. “We want to clear the regulatory landscape for PG&E’s exit from Chapter 11” to allow it to access the legislatively created $20 billion wildfire fund. […]

PG&E Won’t Use Victim Fund to Pay Criminal Penalty

31 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric did an about face in response to outrage from the fire victims committee that it planned to dip into the $13.5 billion wildfire victim fund to pay its $4 million penalty for 85 criminal charges arising from igniting the 2018 Camp Fire. The company pled guilty March 17 to felony charges, […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

State and Federal Meeting Updates during Covid-19 Pandemic

16 Mar

Updated Friday. Changes in italics. The following are the latest changes to previously scheduled meetings, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order limiting the number of people at gatherings, and local agency dictates. The California Public Utilities Commission cancelled all its public hearings on increasing electric rates pursuant to Phase One of Southern California […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Agencies Get More Serious About COVID-19

12 Mar

What a difference a few days makes. Regulatory agencies are now aligned in their concern over the coronavirus, a week after the state grid operator announced it was discontinuing its in-person meetings and interactions to minimize the spread of the  disease. The California Public Utilities Commission held its March 12 business meeting as usual but […]

Open Energy Meetings & COVID-19

10 Mar

State and federal agencies and organizations do not see eye to eye on the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Most cautious so far is the grid operator. Last week, the California Independent System Operator announced it was switching all of its in-person gatherings, including Board of Governors, Western Energy Imbalance Market and Market Surveillance […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]

Smaller Nukes will Cut Carbon Pollution, House Panel Finds

3 Mar

Smaller, more advanced nuclear power plants were touted as part of the nation’s clean energy solution during a March 3 House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing. These not-yet commercial smaller modules are projected to produce less radioactive waste, be more flexible and include enhanced safety features. They compare favorably to today’s large nuclear power plants, […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]

PG&E Faces Unprecedented $2.14B Penalty for Fires

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric was slapped with the largest financial penalty in California Public Utilities Commission history as punishment for the utility’s role in the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 in Northern California. The CPUC Feb. 27 announced its Administrative Law Judge decision that imposes $2.137 billion in penalties against the investor-owned utility. Previously, […]

PG&E Suffers Big Loss in 2019

24 Feb

PG&E Corp. suffered a larger loss in net income last year than in the previous year. However, its 4th quarter loss for 2019 was about half the size of its 2018 fourth quarter hit. In its latest earnings report, the parent company reported a loss of $7.7 billion, at minus $14.50 a share, for 2019. […]

The Buzz

20 Feb

The West Coast’s first LNG export project looks like its headed for federal approval. This week, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission votes 2-1 to tentatively disapprove the Coos Bay project because of Oregon’s recent permit rejection. A majority of the federal energy regulators also reject the New York grid operator’s capacity market revisions, undermining […]

SDG&E’s Fire Prevention to Cost up to $1.5B over 3 Years

19 Feb

San Diego Gas & Electric’s new wildfire mitigation plan filed with state energy regulators comes with a price tag that’s about one third the cost of those of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric.  The San Diego utility estimates that it will spend $1 billion to $1.5 billion from 2020 through 2022 to […]

CPUC Pitches PG&E Reorganization Framework

19 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 18 opened an investigation into the impacts of Pacific Gas & Electric’s exit from federal bankruptcy court. It issued a broad appeal for public input on the utility plan to emerge from Chapter 11 protections. “It is essential we hear from all parties, including ratepayers, consumer advocates, local governments, […]

Edison Asks for More Money for Wildfire Mitigation

18 Feb

A new plan to address wildfires submitted by Southern California Edison asks state authorities for an additional $322 million to prevent utility line sparked fires over what it requested just three months ago in its general rate case. The total is $3.823 billion to mitigate blazes over three years. Edison submitted its 2020-2022 wildfire management […]

PG&E’s New Wildfire Plan Continues Big Investments

11 Feb

In its 2020 fire protection plan, Pacific Gas & Electric proposes continuing to fund utility infrastructure wildfire resistance measures, vegetation clearance, inspections of thousands of miles of lines, and automation installations. The nearly 500-page plan submitted to state energy regulators Feb. 7 aims to reduce both the risk of utility-sparked fires and the impact of […]

PG&E-Bondholder Deal Gets Judge’s Vote

4 Feb

The federal judge in the PG&E bankruptcy proceeding approved the settlement proposed by the utility, after listening to arguments from the sole opponent, a wildfire victim. Before announcing his decision Feb. 4, Judge Dennis Montali asked William Abrams the ramifications to fire victims, creditors and others if he were to reject PG&E’s nearly $60 billion […]