Archive | safety RSS feed for this section

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 […]

PG&E Found Liable for 2018 Camp Fire

15 May

After the stock market closed May 15, CalFire quietly announced that Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for the state’s most destructive fire: the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County. “After a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CalFire has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific […]

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. […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: Utilities Warn of Power Shutoffs

6 May

The state’s three big investor-owned power utilities are launching an advertising campaign to let Californians know they’ll be routinely shutting off electrical service in fire-prone areas during wind storms. As part of their public information campaign, the utilities are urging the state’s 11 million residents who live in elevated fire risk areas to prepare emergency […]

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 […]

Pipeline Safety Hamstrung by Cost-Benefit Rule

1 May

The head of the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration was grilled over recent and past deadly natural gas and petroleum pipeline accidents during a May 1 hearing by the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Among the incidents were pipe blowouts in Santa Barbara in 2015 and San Bruno in 2010. “We have a […]

Utility Wildfire Risk Reduction Plans Set for Approval

30 Apr

Proposed decisions released Monday by state energy regulators find that the private utilities’ 2019 wildfire mitigation plans meet the legislative mandates of SB 901. But, Pacific Gas & Electric, which appears to have the priciest plan of the three, is directed to track and prove the effectiveness of its various proposed measures to make sure […]

PG&E Safety Gaps Highlighted

16 Apr

In spite of ongoing safety issues and problems at Pacific Gas & Electric, the company lacks a “comprehensive safety strategy,” the California Public Utilities Commission was told April 15. PG&E does not have “a coordinated safety strategy that takes a look at the whole,” said Angela Anderson, project manager for Northstar Consulting. The company has […]

Public & Safety Advocates Vet Utility Wildfire Plans

9 Apr

Numerous organizations are urging utility regulators to carefully scrutinize the effectiveness of utility wildfire risk mitigation plans filed earlier this year. They also want them to clarify that any approval of the plans will not equate to okaying utility expenditures to carry them out. The Public Advocates Office stated in comments filed with the commission […]

PG&E Proposes New CEO & Board

4 Apr

In response to significant pressure to overhaul its board after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Pacific Gas & Electric announced a new slate of directors April 3. It would put the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority, William Johnson, at the head.  As part of its board “refreshment process,” PG&E […]

Central Resource Adequacy Procurement Bill Advances

27 Mar

A state Senate committee backed a bill to create a central procurement authority in California to purchase power needed for resource adequacy on the grid. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee on March 27 backed the measure, SB 350 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). “Investor-owned utilities are having a harder time determining what […]

Gov. Declares Wildfire Emergency, Eases Enviro Rules

26 Mar

To reduce the threat of wildfires in high risk zones in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom waived environmental regulations to accelerate 35 projects to remove dead and dying trees over the next 12 months. The waiver, covering 90,000 acres, was part of the governor’s March 22 declaration of a state of emergency across California. “The increasing […]

CPUC Weighs PG&E’s Future as Utility Reports 450 Safety Violations

13 Mar

As the California Public Utilities Commission considers how to potentially alter how Pacific Gas & Electric is structured and governed in a bid to improve public safety, energy industry players have put forth numerous suggestions, according to CPUC President Mike Picker. Testifying to the state Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee March 12, Picker said […]

Bills Would Create Utility-Funded Wildfire Loss Funds

28 Feb

Bills introduced in the Assembly last week would set up new state insurance funds. One measure seeks to get utilities to pay into a wildfire victims’ compensation fund and the other to require utilities to pay into a fund that would insure them against excess wildfire-related costs. AB 740 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Marina Del […]

Cost of Wildfire Plans Ignites Calls for Reasonableness Reviews

27 Feb

Questions are mounting about the price tag and effectiveness of utility wildfire mitigation plans filed with the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this month. The plans filed by the state’s three major investor-owned utilities call for spending $3 billion or more a year of ratepayer money with the goal of preventing power lines from sparking […]

Utility Plans Will Prevent Few Wildfires, Fire Safety Experts Tell Lawmakers

27 Feb

As the California Public Utilities Commission begins reviewing electric utility wildfire mitigation plans questions are rising about how effective they’ll be at preventing wildfires. The CPUC continued its review this week, but in Sacramento fire safety experts told state lawmakers that utility power lines spark just 5 percent of the state’s wildfires. Ninety-five percent of […]

Bills Aim to Give Lawmakers Say in PG&E’s Bankruptcy

26 Feb

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced three bills Feb. 22, one of which would require legislative approval of any rate increases for Pacific Gas & Electric, which filed for Chapter 11 protection at the end of January. The other two measures are aimed at increasing the safety of the utility’s facilities to protect against wildfires. […]

CPUC Must Decide on $3B/Year of Utility Fire Protection Work

14 Feb

The staggering scope and cost of utility plans to prevent electric lines from sparking wildfires came into focus for regulators Feb. 13 during an all-day meeting. This year alone the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities plan to spend about $3 billion to minimize wildfire risks in areas with elevated threats. That’s projected to increase to […]

The Buzz

7 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago. Bankrupt PG&E’s plan stands out. That includes […]