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Shorts

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 5. The Balancing Authority of Northern California and Western Area Power Administration Sierra Nevada Region signed agreements Sept. 5 to join the California Independent System Operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market. The two expect to begin participating in the market in April of 2021. This market focuses on short-term transfers of power to optimize the […]

Shorts

19 Aug

San Diego Gas & Electric is folding an independent marketing arm set up to lobby against community choice aggregation in its service territory. Accordingly, the utility asked the California Public Utilities Commission late last month to revoke its plan for complying with a state policy that prevents utilities from using ratepayer funding to lobby regarding […]

Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

California IOU Earnings in the Black

5 Aug

California investor-owned utilities showed profits during the second quarter this year, as PG&E announced ahead of its quarterly earnings statement it hopes to deliver shareholder returns even while it’s in bankruptcy. California energy companies credited Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers for creating a new wildfire liability insurance fund for state utilities earlier this summer, […]

Shorts

5 Aug

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded San Diego Gas & Electric from a negative to a positive outlook July 31 based on improved fire safety programs at the utility and enactment of AB 1054, which sets up a new utility wildfire insurance fund. In a statement, the utility said it “has invested about $1.5 billion in 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 […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Approved With Some Caveats

30 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 30 approved investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risk under SB 901, as expected. “Approval of these plans is just a first step,” said Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen at the CPUC’s meeting this week. “We are learning as we go along,” added Commission President Mike Picker. The plans, said […]

CPUC Rejiggers Utility Cost Recovery Te$t

28 May

A California Public Utilities Commission decision proposes a new cost recovery reasonableness yardstick to determine the extent of ratepayer-funded cushioning of private utilities facing huge wildfire liabilities to keep them financially healthy and operating safely. Or in the alternative, the financial stress test is to evaluate the impact of requiring utility customers to pay for […]

State Faces Tighter Power Supplies, CPUC Warns

23 May

California is becoming increasingly dependent on out-of-state power to meet peak needs. At the same time, concerns about the state’s increasing vulnerability to the  exercise of “market power,” which could spike prices, is rising, according to a California Public Utilities Commission official. “There’s a general tightening of resource adequacy supply,” Simon Baker, Energy Division deputy […]

Sempra Earnings Improve

7 May

Sempra Energy earned $441 million in the first quarter of 2019, up from $347 million during the same period in 2018, according to the San Diego-based company’s latest financial statement. On a per share basis, earnings during the first three months of 2019 were $1.59, up from $1.33 during the first quarter of 2018. “Sempra […]

Shorts

9 Apr

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District last week became a fully operational member of the grid operator’s energy imbalance market. SMUD is the first municipal utility to join the short-term market, which the California Independent System Operator created in 2014 to better integrate renewable power into the grid and to lower the overall cost of power. […]

Assembly Panel Okays Bills on Power Shutoff Rules & Unions

3 Apr

Legislation tweaking energy rules and policies, including setting deenergization protocols and prohibiting utilities from using ratepayer funds to deter workers from unionizing, passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 3. AB 868 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Placerville) requires that private and public utilities develop criteria specifying when and how they will stop […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

CPUC Forced to Correct Resource Adequacy Waiver Claims

19 Mar

During a third Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee hearing on the changing electricity industry landscape, the California Public Utilities Commission president was taken to task for incorrectly stating at previous hearings that 11 community aggregators were exempted from buying local reliability resources. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) wanted to know the correct number of […]

Undercurrents: Newsom Eyes New CPUC President

12 Mar

Updated March 14. Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning to shake up the California Public Utilities Commission, including appointing a new president of the commission, the Wall St. Journal reported March 11. A plan could be issued by the governor’s office in a matter of weeks, Newsom reportedly told legislators and analysts from S&P Global Ratings. […]

Losses for Two Utilities Mount Due to Wildfire Liabilities

28 Feb

California’s investor-owned utilities and their parents, with the exception of Sempra Energy, got clobbered in 2018 by wildfire liabilities. Two of the utilities together had total losses of almost $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Moreover, the financial reports showed that more losses may lie ahead. Edison International: It lost $1.4 billion, or […]

San Diego Moves Closer to Community Energy

26 Feb

San Diego’s City Council Feb. 25 voted to move forward with forming a community choice energy program in the state’s second largest city. The program will seek to hit a 100 percent renewable electricity target by 2035. “The best way to make us the greenest city in the nation is to give San Diegans a […]

The Buzz

21 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s and Southern California Edison’s $7 billion in energy purchase forecasts. But the approved decision also requires that annual projected power expenses—from renewables to fossil—be compared to the actual tab. State energy regulators unanimously agree to a three-year resource adequacy requirement and to later create a […]

Changes to RA Approved; SDG&E Deal Okayed

21 Feb

State energy regulators unanimously agreed Feb. 21 to a three-year resource adequacy requirement beginning in 2020. As part of that decision they also agreed to move towards a central procurement authority. The California Public Utilities Commission also approved San Diego Gas & Electric’s resource adequacy agreement with the Otay Mesa plant. The approved decision making […]