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CA Regulators Seek to Meld Gas Planning & Clean Energy Targets

16 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to initiate a rulemaking to update its natural gas reliability and long-term planning. The overall aim is to revamp its planning process to ensure gas systems are safe and reliable as California weans itself off of fossil fuels. “The gas system is going through profound changes,” Commissioner […]

Assembly Bills Focus on Wildfire Impacts and Resource Adequacy

14 Jan

Protecting utilities against wildfire liability and customers against the loss of power during safety shutoffs remain top legislative priorities. AB 235 by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) and two other legislators would allow PG&E to issue bonds to pay for wildfire victim recovery claims after Jan. 2019. This bill, which was carried over from the […]

Undercurrents

6 Jan

The snow depth and water content of the state’s snowpack is a bit below average, the Department of Water Resources reported Jan. 2. The average snow water equivalent at 130 stations across the state was 90 percent of the average for early January. The snowpack at Phillips Station in South Lake Tahoe was at 97 […]

CPUC Alleges Hundreds of Violations in Aliso Canyon Investigation

11 Dec

California utility regulators late last week detailed 335 alleged violations of health and safety standards by SoCal Gas that led up to the massive well blowout and methane leak in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field near Los Angeles. The alleged violations found by the California Public Utilities Commission dated back […]

PG&E Update: CPUC Division Finds Utility Equipment Inspections Shoddy

3 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission’s Safety & Enforcement Division found that a faulty hook on a Pacific Gas & Electric transmission tower, which initially sparked the 2018 Camp Fire, was a known hazard. The fire burned down the City of Paradise. The safety division also found the worn tower that started the Camp Fire was […]

LADWP Faces Fire Safety Task Backlog, Audit Finds

25 Nov

The nation’s largest municipal utility is behind on maintenance tasks needed to prevent its power lines from sparking wildfires, an audit by Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin concluded on Nov. 20. “Given the increased frequency and severity of wildfires,” said Galperin, “the utility must do more to detect and inspect potential fire safety issues, address […]

Senators Object to Utility Safety Outages

19 Nov

Shortly after Pacific Gas & Electric warned it may cut off power to about 800,000 people later this week in the face of a red flag wind advisory, lawmakers focused on ways to curb the number, duration and impact of utility power shutoffs. PG&E warned the morning of Nov. 18 that customers in some 22 […]

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 […]