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PG&E Found Liable for 2018 Camp Fire

15 May

After the stock market closed May 15, CalFire quietly announced that Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for the state’s most destructive fire: the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County. “After a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CalFire has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific […]

Undercurrents: Utilities Warn of Power Shutoffs

6 May

The state’s three big investor-owned power utilities are launching an advertising campaign to let Californians know they’ll be routinely shutting off electrical service in fire-prone areas during wind storms. As part of their public information campaign, the utilities are urging the state’s 11 million residents who live in elevated fire risk areas to prepare emergency […]

The Buzz

2 May

PG&E’s first quarter earnings this year are far from rosy, but not as grim as expected. Earnings take an expected hit from wildfire, bankruptcy and safety expenses, which PG&E hopes to more than recoup from energy regulators and ultimately ratepayers. Southern California Edison’s parent earnings rise but that doesn’t stop its CEO from whining that […]

PG&E Earnings Fall

2 May

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s latest earnings show income that is one-third of what it reported a year earlier, falling to $136 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019, or 25 cents per share. That compares to $442 million in net income reaped a year earlier, or 86 cents a share. The […]

Undercurrents

1 May

Updated May 2 The California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal outlining the criteria and methodology for utilities to recovery wildfire expenses under SB 901 is being challenged by a group of stakeholders. Specifically being contested is staff’s restricted definition of “customer harm.” It fails to include “harm involved in the form of funds paid out […]

Utility Wildfire Risk Reduction Plans Set for Approval

30 Apr

Proposed decisions released Monday by state energy regulators find that the private utilities’ 2019 wildfire mitigation plans meet the legislative mandates of SB 901. But, Pacific Gas & Electric, which appears to have the priciest plan of the three, is directed to track and prove the effectiveness of its various proposed measures to make sure […]

CPUC Decouples Wildfire Plan Approval & Cost Recovery

30 Apr

Three California Public Utilities Commission proposed decisions largely approve the private utilities’ wildfire mitigation plans, but their multi-billion dollar price tags don’t get the green light. CPUC Administrative Law Judges Sarah Thomas and Peter Allen proposed guidance for the trio of utilities’ mitigation plans under SB 901 states that cost recovery “is a separate matter,” […]

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. […]

CPUC Calls for 12,000 MW of Renewables

25 Apr

State utility regulators April 25 acted on the first integrated resource plans from 48 power providers in California under their jurisdiction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved plans from 20 load serving entities. It also exempted nine from the planning requirement, and determined that another 19 submitted inadequate plans. Overall, according to Commissioner Liane Randolph, […]

Newsom Calls for Wildfire Liability Reform

12 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom April 12 called on lawmakers to pass a legislative reform package to deal with the growing threat of wildfires, calling measures adopted to date “inadequate.” “We all have a burden and responsibility to meet the costs,” said Newsom. “We’re all in this together.” In a long and at times rambling press conference, […]

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 […]

Central Resource Adequacy Procurement Bill Advances

27 Mar

A state Senate committee backed a bill to create a central procurement authority in California to purchase power needed for resource adequacy on the grid. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee on March 27 backed the measure, SB 350 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). “Investor-owned utilities are having a harder time determining what […]

Gov. Declares Wildfire Emergency, Eases Enviro Rules

26 Mar

To reduce the threat of wildfires in high risk zones in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom waived environmental regulations to accelerate 35 projects to remove dead and dying trees over the next 12 months. The waiver, covering 90,000 acres, was part of the governor’s March 22 declaration of a state of emergency across California. “The increasing […]

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 […]