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PG&E’s Proposal to Break Green Deals Raises Costs

19 Mar

If Pacific Gas & Electric is allowed to abrogate its long-term renewable contracts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, bankers will increase the risk premiums on clean energy project loans. That will drive up the price of renewable resources in California, attorneys warned at a legal seminar held March 18 by the Environmental Law Institute […]

Edison Started Thomas Fire in 2017, Investigators Find

13 Mar

Fire investigators March 13 found that two Southern California Edison power lines slapped together in Anlauf Canyon in Ventura County during a wind storm and started the devastating Thomas Fire in 2017. The utility had already admitted that it played some role in igniting the fire. However, in a statement issued late on Wednesday it […]

Picker Says the CPUC Lacks Wildfire Safety Expertise

13 Mar

A state Senate panel dug into the California Public Utilities Commission’s capabilities to develop and enforce wildfire safety standards for electric utilities on March 12. It learned that SB 901 is unlikely to prove a panacea. In addition, the commission president told lawmakers that the agency charged with carrying out the law is “struggling” with […]

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. […]

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 […]

The Buzz

21 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s and Southern California Edison’s $7 billion in energy purchase forecasts. But the approved decision also requires that annual projected power expenses—from renewables to fossil—be compared to the actual tab. State energy regulators unanimously agree to a three-year resource adequacy requirement and to later create a […]

EPIC Program Aims to Get Ahead of Epic Changes

20 Feb

Key focuses of the state program dispensing $162 million a year are advancing innovative clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities and communities with high fire danger. Another top priority of the Electric Program Investment Charge is diversifying energy storage in California to help meet climate protection and renewable targets in a changing environment, said speakers […]

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 […]

CPUC Must Decide on $3B/Year of Utility Fire Protection Work

14 Feb

The staggering scope and cost of utility plans to prevent electric lines from sparking wildfires came into focus for regulators Feb. 13 during an all-day meeting. This year alone the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities plan to spend about $3 billion to minimize wildfire risks in areas with elevated threats. That’s projected to increase to […]

The Buzz

7 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago. Bankrupt PG&E’s plan stands out. That includes […]

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 […]

PG&E Files Wildfire Safety Plan, Warns Bankruptcy Could Interfere

7 Feb

The private utilities Feb. 6 filed their mandated plans for reducing wildfire threats from electric equipment. The plans filed by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric at the California Public Utilities Commission are required under last year’s wildfire risk reduction legislation, SB 901. Much of the focus is […]

PG&E Equipment Did Not Start the Tubbs Fire, Cal Fire Finds

24 Jan

Cal Fire investigators determined Jan. 24 that a private electrical system adjacent to a residential structure caused the destructive Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa in 2017, not Pacific Gas & Electric equipment. The Tubbs Fire in October of that year killed 23 people and destroyed 5,636 structures as it quickly burned through 36,807 acres of […]

Opinionated: The Climate Conundrum & the Vulnerable Utility Pocketbook

22 Jan

By Dan Delurey Few among us have not been subject to a power outage in our home or place of business. The electric utility industry as it grew and expanded over the decades, did so almost entirely above ground via wires and poles. Not surprisingly, this type of system, or grid, has been subject to […]

The Buzz

10 Jan

State energy regulators unanimously move to begin developing a framework for determining how much of private utilities’ fire liability costs should be paid by ratepayers. The vote comes amidst ongoing protests by those outraged by the death and destruction caused by wildfires both sparked and possibly sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric. The California Public […]

CPUC Votes 4-0 for Controversial Wildfire Liability Rulemaking

10 Jan

After a long line of outraged protesters objected to a perceived bailout of Pacific Gas & Electric for recent devastating wildfires, energy regulators unanimously approved setting ground rules to allow private utilities to recover costs arising from wildfires their equipment sparked in 2017. The rulemaking pursuant to legislation enacted beginning of this year, SB 901, […]

CPUC Launches Rulemaking to Protect Grid & Backs Edison Cost Recovery

10 Jan

The state energy commissioners this week adopted a new rulemaking to reduce physical risks to utility equipment, including the shooting up utility transmission towers and other acts of human sabotage to infrastructure. It directs the utilities to identify at-risk facilities. It also orders them to implement a six-step mitigation plan developed by the North America […]

CPUC Looks at De-energization Fault Lines

9 Jan

To reduce the impacts of shutting off power lines because of wildfire threats, utility and county and state safety and enforcement officials discussed the weak links in the current de-energization process during a California Public Utilities Commission workshop in Calabasas on Jan. 9. The biggest problems cited were inadequate utility notifications and problematic communications with […]