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Undercurrents

17 Jul

The state’s investor-owned utilities will release their second quarter earnings statements later this month, and the results likely will be mixed. Pacific Gas & Electric announced that it expects to post a big loss. There is no indication, however, that the other two utility holding companies, Edison International and Sempra Energy, will do so. PG&E […]

CPUC Focuses on Power Shutoffs

12 Jul

State energy regulators July 12 unanimously approved opening a rulemaking to assess the cause of the growing rate of residential utility disconnections because of non-payment. The goal is to reduce shutoffs. The California Public Utilities Commission also voted  to enhance utilities’ ability to de-energize power lines during risky weather events, such as hot high winds. […]

Undercurrents

10 Jul

The harm to the marine environment from using ocean water to cool power plants is more widespread than thought, according to a new research report by the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team. The Council, a state agency, released the report July 9. It showed that ocean currents connect separate marine protection zones, essentially spreading […]

Wildfire Liability Bill Goes to Conference Committee

3 Jul

Details of Sen. Bill Dodd’s SB 901 are to be hammered out in a legislative conference committee. That includes terms of standards governing when utilities could be held liable for wildfire damages. The Napa Democrat’s measure would set standards requiring utilities to improve their efforts to prevent wildfires, including more effort to clear vegetation around […]

Proposal Cuts Ratepayer Tab for San Onfore’s Closure

28 Jun

A California Public Utilities Commission law judge blessed a settlement reached earlier this year that will limit what ratepayers have to pay for Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station closure costs. The settlement, approved late last week, would undo an earlier agreement approved by the commission in 2014 that would have stuck ratepayers […]

The Buzz

21 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric notifies investors and lenders that it is taking a $2.5 billion loss in the second quarter as a result of mounting wildfire liability, with the worst potentially yet ahead. Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Sacramento advances a bill that may ease utility liability for wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission sets […]

Undercurrents

19 Jun

Updated June 20. Colorado is signing on to California’s auto emissions standards, making it the fifteenth state or jurisdiction (including the District of Columbia) to do so. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order June 19 signaling the state’s intention to enforce the standards. Hickenlooper made the move just ahead of an expected proposal […]

Clean Tech: The Next Energy Efficiency Frontier: Labs

6 Jun

With the largest population and economy in the nation, California has more laboratories than any other state, boasting some 116 million square feet of energy-gobbling scientific space. Labs represent “the next major frontier in energy efficiency,” Allison Paradise of My Green Lab and Alison Farmer of kW Engineering told the California Energy Commission during a […]

Shorts

4 Jun

Updated June 7. Utility regulators held a two-day meeting this week on how to potentially redesign electricity rates to accommodate an increasing number of electric vehicles in the coming years. The meeting on June 7 and 8 also focused on how to address rate design to encourage production of hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles. […]

CPUC Backs Major Utility Spending on EV Charging

31 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 31 authorized the state’s investor-owned power utilities to spend $738 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on electric truck and bus charging. “The only way to get to a largely carbon-free California is by substantially electrifying the state’s vast transportation system,” said […]

Juice: Start Small on Electric Truck Charging

22 May

As the Springsteen song goes: “From small things, mama, one day big things come.” The California Public Utilities Commission should take note and resist pressure to significantly increase utility investments in heavy-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Despite calls to do so by clean air advocates and utility executives, it’s wise to take small steps towards […]

Proposed $640M San Diego Gas Transmission Line Shot Down

2 May

A  proposed California Public Utilities Commission decision rejects a bid by San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas for a permit to build a 47-mile long gas transmission line at a cost of $639 million. The tentative ruling issued May 2 finds no need for the project, which would increase gas capacity in the […]

FERC Drills Down on High Utility Transmission Costs

1 May

Federal regulators May 1 heard conflicting views about whether California’s investor-owned utilities have been unfairly skirting review requirements for major investments in their power transmission lines, which may be driving up electricity costs. “Ratepayers are paying significant amounts of money for expenditures with no review whatsoever,” Katharine Mapes, Northern California Power Agency attorney, complained to […]

Measure Requiring SDG&E to Provide San Diego 100% Renewables Sputters

12 Apr

A ballot measure that would mandate that San Diego Gas & Electric provide the City of San Diego 100 percent renewable energy, as part of a renewed franchise agreement, was sent back to the drawing board by the City Council’s Environmental Committee. The four-member committee April 12 asked the council’s Rules Committee, which initially forwarded […]

CPUC Proposes Cutting Utility Spending on Electric Truck Charging

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission March 30 proposed authorizing the state’s investor-owned electric utilities to spend more than $600 million of ratepayer money over the next five years to help build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Some two-thirds of the money would be focused on developing charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, […]

CA Energy Utilities Short Customers on Digital Experience

21 Mar

Energy utilities in general are lagging behind other business sectors in offering their customers effective digital interfaces on the internet, according to a ranking by J.D. Power released March 21. California utilities are near the bottom of the industry. “Consumers have grown accustomed to receiving up-to-the-minute alerts on the status of at-home deliveries and being […]

Gas Leak in San Diego Closes Freeway & Requires Evacations

7 Mar

Updated March 9. A  March 7 gas leak in the Mission Valley area of San Diego closed down a major freeway and the city’s largest shopping mall. In addition, it forced the evacuation of some 3,300 people. San Diego Gas & Electric issued a statement saying that the leak was caused when a “third-party contractor” […]

JUICE: The Scales of Politics

7 Mar

Last week, numerous cities and regions with formed and forming community energy programs protested the investor-owned utilities’ plea to the California Public Utilities Commission to let them use ratepayer funds to lobby against public power supply organizations. The Feb. 1 petition by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Ratepayer Tab for SONGS Closure Cut Under New Deal

31 Jan

A long-anticipated settlement would cut the amount ratepayers are saddled with for the early closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant by at least $775 million. Under the initial closure deal approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2014 ratepayers were on the hook for $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion closure tab partly […]