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The Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

Home Excess Energy Use Charge Tamped Down

7 May

To help decrease bills for residents spending all day in their homes, energy regulators voted to lower the financial penalty for excess energy use typically charged by the investor-owned utilities. The reduction is to “make sure residential bills remain manageable during this crisis,” California Public Utilities Commission member Genevieve Shiroma said May 7. The move […]

News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

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 […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved a Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s community solar program. The Feb. 20 approval was based on the Energy Commission’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which allow community solar in place of PV roof tops on new single family homes. “We expected that the marketplace and stakeholders would find solutions appropriate for […]

The Buzz

14 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric offers its nuclear energy to community choice. But it is a hot potato, particularly for East Bay Clean Energy. Local green energy advocates give it a lot of heat for considering the matter. Bets are that extracting lithium from the steamy brine of geothermal plants in the mineral-rich Salton Sea will […]

Spotlight on Cost of San Diego Gas Pipe Replacement

6 Feb

State energy regulators voted 4-0 to allow interested parties to litigate SoCal Gas’ and San Diego Gas’ & Electric’s proposed $677 million price tag for a 50-mile natural gas pipeline replacement project. The California Public Utilities Commission decision cast Feb 6 requires that the cost of the line’s replacement and testing be scrutinized in a […]

CPUC Warns of Rising Electric Rates

22 Jan

San Diego Gas & Electric’s rates increased 50 percent over the last decade. The utility bills of ratepayers of the other two investor-owned utilities will soon follow suit. That is what California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee during its Jan. 22 annual CPUC review. Batjer said continuing […]

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 […]

More Shutoffs Expected, PG&E Reports Tower Trouble in Fire Zone

24 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric began shutting off power to about 180,000 customers mid-week before hot, dry winds began blowing in parts of 17 counties in Northern and Central California. Strong gusts that started in the early hours of Oct. 24 caused a small fire in Geyserville in Sonoma County to grow to more than 10,000 […]

High Court Won’t Hear SDG&E’s Strict Liability Challenge

7 Oct

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear San Diego Gas & Electric’s argument that California regulators’ refusal to have ratepayers pay $379 million of the utility’s 2007 wildfire costs violated the Constitutional ban on unlawful takings. The utility said Oct. 7 it was “disappointed” that the High Court rejected its petition regarding its Wildfire Expense […]

Group Seeks to Halt SONGS Decommissioning

30 Sep

Public Watchdogs filed suit Sept. 26 asking a federal judge to halt the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station decommissioning process. It wants the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California to issue a temporary restraining order, appoint an independent monitor and declare that the decommissioning plan “constitutes a public nuisance.” It also wants […]

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 […]