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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 […]

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 […]

Official Says CPUC is Ill-Prepared on Wildfire Safety

22 May

The California Public Utilities Commission will act blindly when it approves massive wildfire mitigation plans filed by power utilities that were called for by state lawmakers, the commission’s top safety official said this week. “There is no standard or framework for the CPUC to evaluate these plans,” Elizaveta Malashenko, CPUC executive director for safety and […]

JUICE: Muddy Waters & Rates

30 Apr

While passing through a corner of Nevada along Highway 395 during a drive to the Eastern side of the Sierra I was struck by the differences in the price of gasoline in the Golden and Silver states. Filling up in Nevada April 19, I paid $3.30 a gallon, saving well over a dollar per gallon. […]

Public & Safety Advocates Vet Utility Wildfire Plans

9 Apr

Numerous organizations are urging utility regulators to carefully scrutinize the effectiveness of utility wildfire risk mitigation plans filed earlier this year. They also want them to clarify that any approval of the plans will not equate to okaying utility expenditures to carry them out. The Public Advocates Office stated in comments filed with the commission […]

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 […]

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 […]

Cost of Wildfire Plans Ignites Calls for Reasonableness Reviews

27 Feb

Questions are mounting about the price tag and effectiveness of utility wildfire mitigation plans filed with the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this month. The plans filed by the state’s three major investor-owned utilities call for spending $3 billion or more a year of ratepayer money with the goal of preventing power lines from sparking […]

CPUC Okays PG&E’s & SCE’s $7B in Projected Energy Costs

21 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 to approve nearly $7 billion of cost forecasts for energy purchases for the coming year for two investor-owned utilities at its Feb. 21 meeting. The decision alloted nearly $3 billion for Pacific Gas & Electric and $4 billion for Southern California Edison for their 2019 spending projections. The […]

Juice: Clear Cutting for Fire Safety?

19 Feb

Oaks and other trees in California beware. The state’s investor-owned utilities have declared open season on trees in the name of fire safety. In doing so, utilities are set to cut down 400,000 trees this year alone, largely along their distribution lines where Californians live and work. Indiscriminate tree cutting and topping has the potential […]

So Cal Utilities File Wildfire Risk Reduction Plans

7 Feb

Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric submitted new proposals for beefing up safety measures to the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 6. Pacific Gas & Electric also filed its wildfire safety plan the same afternoon. The measures in the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Plans range from significantly increasing inspections of lines and other […]

CPUC Prohibits SoCal Gas from Keeping $1B+ in Cap-Trade Money

31 Jan

At its end of the month business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission forbade Southern California Gas from redirecting $1.21 billion generated by greenhouse gas cap-and trade revenue away from its natural gas ratepayers to cover utility administrative costs. The five commissioners, including the newest member, Genevieve Shiroma, directed the gas utility Jan. 31 to […]

CPUC Approves $50 Million Energy Efficiency Program Renewal

10 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission Jan. 10 voted 4-0 for a $52 million extension of the contract with the company that implements the utilities’ marketing and outreach portion of Energy Upgrade California. The program provides small businesses and homeowners with information tools and contacts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and offices. It […]

IOUs Detail Equipments Possible Role in Fires, Including Bullet Holes

7 Dec

Updated Dec. 11. Both Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison filed follow-up reports with the California Public Utilities Commission on the possible role of their equipment in last month’s fires in Northern and Southern California. PG&E said it found bullet holes at the break point of the pole and on the equipment at […]

State Energy Buyer Bill Introduced; One to Thwart Utility Bankruptcies is a No Show

4 Dec

A key state lawmaker Dec. 3 held off on introducing legislation to keep California’s investor-owned utilities from being driven into bankruptcy by billions of dollars in potential wildfire liability claims. Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said he had planned to introduce the measure on Monday when new lawmakers were sworn in. Holden, who chairs the Assembly […]

JUICE: The Long Shadow of the Energy Crisis

27 Nov

Massive utility liability from the recent devastating wildfires potentially sparked by electric lines puts the companies, politicians, regulators and ratepayers between a rock and a hard place. California regulators and lawmakers are working to keep Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison from being financially overwhelmed by claims resulting from the tragic toll on […]

Fires Threaten Utility Finances & Lead to CPUC Rulemakings

13 Nov

Updated Nov. 15. Given utility infrastructure may have ignited two massive wildfires that started last week, the importance of a yet-formed committee tasked with assessing wildfire risks and making recommendations on costs and liability under a 2018 bill is growing exponentially. Pacific Gas & Electric stock fell as low as $17.26 per share on Nov. […]

Demand Response Rises, But Not in CA, Says FERC

13 Nov

Demand response in wholesale power markets across the U.S. grew 3 percent, or by 27,541 MW, between 2016 and 2017, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s annual update on demand response and advanced meters released last week. However, when breaking down the amount of demand response by the regional markets the picture was mixed. […]