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Senators Object to Utility Safety Outages

19 Nov

Shortly after Pacific Gas & Electric warned it may cut off power to a 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 […]

Edison Settles with Public Agencies on Fires

13 Nov

Southern California Edison entered agreements in principle to settle claims by 23 public cities, counties and special districts for their expenses responding to the 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, the 2018 Montecito debris flows, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire. “We are pleased to reach agreements to resolve the claims brought by local government entities related […]

SCE Wants Ratepayers to Cover Rising Fire Insurance Cost

29 Oct

A California Public Utilities Commission Administrative law judge Oct. 29 opened a proceeding to determine if Southern California Edison can roll a $505 million increase into its rates stemming from the rising cost of utility wildfire insurance. Edison, according to its attorneys, needs the $505 million to cover “incremental wildfire insurance” for the period between […]

Shorts

29 Oct

Updated Oct. 31. Southern California Edison will take the heat Nov. 13 in Fontana over public power safety shutoffs at a community meeting being organized by the city of Fontana in San Bernardino County just below the Cajon Pass. “Fontana is the windiest city in California,” said Mayor Acquanetta Warren. “We cannot have power outages […]

Utility Wildfire Incident Reports Mount Despite Power Shutoffs

28 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric notified the California Public Utilities Commission in the early evening of Oct. 27 that one of its power poles with a transformer on top had fallen in Lafayette where a wildfire prompted an evacuation of nearby residents. PG&E reported to the CPUC that the Contra Costa Fire Department was “looking at […]

Comparing PG&E & SCE Safety Outages

22 Oct

The state’s two largest investor-owned utilities warned about potential power shutoffs in the face of dry and windy conditions due mid-week. Who ends up getting their power shutoff in Pacific Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison territory is a moving target. It is largely driven by variable weather conditions, but also by the nature […]

SCE Warns of Power Cutoffs

17 Oct

Southern California Edison has alerted more than 33,000 of its customers that it may shut off power to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires. The warning came as the National Weather Service predicted wind storms throughout much of the utility’s territory in the days ahead, particularly in the high desert areas and mountains north and […]

Edison Tower Eyed as Potential Origin of LA Blaze

14 Oct

As life returns to normal in the area where the Saddle Ridge Fire has swept through almost 8,000 acres along the northern rim of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Fire Department investigators are examining whether Southern California Edison power lines ignited the blaze. The fire began Oct. 10 on Saddle Ridge Road in Sylmar. […]

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 […]

PG&E Pitches $18B Reorganization Scheme

11 Sep

In order to exit bankruptcy court, Pacific Gas & Electric Sept. 9 proposed a $17.9 billion reorganization plan, which would limit wildfire claim payouts. The reorganization plan includes up to $8.4 billion for wildfire victims. Another $8.5 billion is included for insurance company claims. There’s also $1 billion for claims from cities and other public […]

Edison Seeks Whopping Rate Increase

4 Sep

Southern California Edison wants a 32 percent rate increase over a three-year period from 2021 through 2023. The utility outlined its request in its 2021 general rate case application filed with the California Public Utilities Commission Aug. 30. Under the request, Edison’s base revenue requirement would go from $6.44 billion to $7.60 billion in 2021, […]

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 […]

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

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 […]