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Energy Conservation Campaign in LA to Continue Under CPUC Order

11 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission authorized SoCal Gas to spend $5 million this summer on a media campaign to urge residents and businesses in the Los Angeles area to conserve energy in light of ongoing constraints on natural gas supplies in the region. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen said the summer campaign needs to be continued because […]

CPUC to Investigate SoCal Gas Safety

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 27 launched an investigation into the safety cultures of SoCal Gas and its parent company following large and small gas pipeline explosions and leaks since 2015. “There are significant questions about SoCal Gas’ safety practices and priorities,” said Commissioner Liane Randolph. She pointed to a report released mid-May on […]

Undercurrents: Trump Pulls Plug on Clean Power Plan

19 Jun

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule on June 19 to repeal the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. “Americans want reliable energy that they can afford,” said Wheeler at a news conference to announce the action. It will take effect as soon as the rule is published in the Federal Register. […]

Shorts

17 Jun

Updated June 20. The California Public Utilities Commission June 20 discussed its progress in modeling how Southern California might be able to meet its energy needs without the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. Commission staff noted that multi-state gas demand models will be needed to fully answer the question, since California imports […]

Wildfire Panel Calls for Redoing Utility Legal & Financial Rules

30 May

The legal standard for finding utilities at fault for sparking wildfires, as well as for determining how much of their wildfire expenses can be recovered from ratepayers, are in serious need of overhaul, according to a draft report by the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost & Recovery. The executive summary of the report, released May […]

Shorts

29 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 30 approved lifting the direct access cap in investor-owned utility territories by 4,000 GWh. There is a long list of large energy users seeking to receive power from direct access providers since it was capped after the 2000-01 energy crisis.  CPUC President Mike Picker said the additional direct access […]

Undercurrents: Corrosion Named Culprit in Aliso Canyon Leak

21 May

An investigation into the root cause of the massive 2015-16 methane leak at the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility found the direct cause was a rupture of the outer 7-inch well casing due to microbial corrosion from the outside because of contact with groundwater. The report, released May 17 by the California […]

CPUC Changes Biomethane & DER Cost Effectiveness Rules

16 May

During state energy regulators’ business meeting, held in Oxnard this week, they adopted changes to safety standards for biomethane put into utility pipelines. The changes are in accordance with recommendations made by the California Council on Science & Technology. The changes, approved May 16 by the California Public Utilities Commission include: Lowering the heating value […]

Juice: Organic Waste & Renewable Natural Gas

7 May

California’s energy sector could be significantly impacted by a pending regulatory proposal by the state’s solid waste agency. At issue is CalRecycle’s proposal calling for reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under a law enacted in 2016. CalRecycle’s regulations are aimed at cutting fugitive methane emissions from landfills in California caused when yard and food […]

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

6 May

Updated May 9. Renewable energy continued to grow as a source of electricity in California and its price continued to fall in 2018, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission released May 8. Among the state’s large investor-owned utilities, the level of renewable power increased from 36 percent to 40 percent from […]

Electrification v. Renewable Gas

9 Apr

As state energy officials begin to develop a strategy to decarbonize buildings, they face sharply competing interests. Some favor renewable powered electrification, while others advocate filling existing gas pipelines with renewable natural gas and hydrogen to get the job done. State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Thousand Oaks) acknowledged the “tension,” but stressed that ultimately affordability will […]

Coalition Fights Phase Down of Natural Gas

27 Mar

As California energy policymakers look to eliminate use of natural gas in buildings and phase out gas power plants, the natural gas industry signaled this week it won’t go down quietly. A recently formed coalition—which includes SoCal Gas, homebuilders, businesses, farmers, ministers, and others—on March 25 called on state agencies and leaders to “adopt balanced […]

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 […]

Shorts

25 Mar

Updated March 28. State utility regulators this week turned down a bid by Pacific Gas & Electric to sell its Narrows Hydroelectric Project to the Yuba County Water Agency. The utility sought approval of the sale for $3.8 million through an advice letter. However, the California Public Utilities Commission decided that due to the complexity […]

Shorts

18 Mar

A Nevada Senator is proposing to increase the state’s renewable portfolio mandate to 50 percent by 2030. Sen. Chris Brooks’ SB 358 is in response to Silver State voters overwhelmingly supporting a 50 percent RPS in last November’s election. “Clean energy jobs are growing faster per capita in Nevada than anywhere else in the country,” […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]

Shorts

6 Mar

SoCalGas announced it would replace 20 percent of its natural gas supply with renewable gas by 2030. “Our vision is to become the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to our customers,” said Bret Lane, SoCal Gas chief executive officer, March 6. Natural gas produced from food waste, […]

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 […]

Court Okays Aliso Canyon Settlement

26 Feb

A state court approved a $119.5 million agreement between the California Air Resources Board, SoCal Gas, and other parties requiring full mitigation of the massive methane leak that occurred in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. “This agreement will mitigate the methane leak itself, and will have a positive impact across […]