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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 […]

CPUC Launches Probe of Public Safety Power Shutoffs

13 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Nov. 13 to formally open an investigation of whether California’s investor-owned utilities prioritized safety and complied with legal requirements when employing Public Safety Power Shutoffs this fall. “This is an important step,” said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, who highlighted that rural areas particularly were affected. Commission President Marybel Batjer […]

JUICE: Is Three the Charm for CA Energy Czar?

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom had to address the public outrage over Pacific Gas & Electric twice cutting off power to unprecedented numbers of people in the face of high fire danger, sparking wildfires and seeking protection in bankruptcy court in the face of massive fire liability. But if history is any indication, his recent appointment of […]

Democrats Object to FERC Appointee Hearing

5 Nov

In spite of no action by the White House on the unfilled Democratic seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee Nov. 5 vetted Republican FERC nominee James Danly. Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said it was acceptable to hold the hearing because President Donald Trump had […]

Newsom Names Energy Czar

5 Nov

Gov. Gavin Newsom Nov. 1 appointed California’s third energy czar in the 21st century to address the current energy crisis driven by utility wildfire liability and threats. The appointee is Newsom’s Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos. She also served under the Brown and Schwarzenegger gubernatorial administrations. Czarina Matosantos is specifically tasked with ensuring Pacific Gas & […]

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 […]

The Buzz

24 Oct

Shutoffs and more shutoffs more shutoffs this week because of dangerous winds and fires. Pacific Gas & Electric reports a transmission tower with broken jumper near the latest Sonoma fire. In the midst of blazes, major fire risks and public outrage over outages, regulators approve collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a legislatively mandated wildfire […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

PG&E Blasted for Historic Power Shutoffs

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s largest precautionary power outage in California in response to wildfire threats has outraged policy makers and customers. PG&E’s response “has been absolutely unacceptable” to communities, “to individual people, to the commerce of our state and the safety of our people,” Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said Oct. 10. “This […]

CA’s Carbon Goal Requires Steeper Emissions Cuts, Report Finds

8 Oct

In spite of significant greenhouse gas cuts from California’s electricity sector, the state is expected to fall well short of its 2030 climate protection target. Rising emissions from the transportation and commercial sectors are largely to blame, according to Next 10’s eleventh annual California Green Innovation Index. This updated Index “serves as a wake-up call,” […]

The Buzz

26 Sep

So. Cal Gas and SDG&E get whopping increases in their 2019-21 general rate cases. State energy regulators say the hefty revenue hikes are needed to fully fund the gas and electric companies’ safety programs. It is a long shot but bondholders try again to inject their plan for paying off PG&E’s massive debts at the […]

PG&E Folds New Deal into its Reorganization Plan

23 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric Sept. 23 finalized a $14 billion settlement that includes the $11 billion agreement reached last week with insurance firms for damage claims from the PG&E equipment-sparked 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. The final $14 billion agreement also includes a $1 billion deal reached with 18 local public entities […]

Shorts

23 Sep

Updated Sept. 26 The electric grid faces growing cybersecurity risks, particularly to industrial control systems that support grid operations, the General Accountability Office warned Sept. 25. “The increasing adoption of high-wattage consumer Internet of Things devices—“smart” devices connected to the internet—and the use of the global positioning system to synchronize grid operations are also vulnerabilities,” […]

Private Utilities Face Wildfire Mitigation Plan Hurdles

18 Sep

California’s three large investor-owned utilities reported progress implementing their mandated SB 901 wildfire mitigation plans, but the shortage of tree trimmers and composite poles are among the challenges hampering their efforts. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Jonathan Woldemariam, director of wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, said Sept. 17 that the work has been “a humbling […]

PG&E & Insurance Firms Make $11B Deal

16 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric reached a tentative $11 billion settlement with dozens of insurance companies Sept. 13. The agreement filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Northern California is with the Ad Hoc Subrogation Group, which represents insurance firms and their claims for damage caused by wildfires sparked by PG&E equipment. It covers nearly half […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

3 Jul

Expected legislation incorporating the Governor’s wish list for a catastrophic wildfire recovery fund to bail out private utilities facing big liabilities is to get its first airing July 5. The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approves bills shifting the cost of supply shortages to energy providers that fall short  and increasing the efficiency of […]