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Juice: Brass Knuckles

12 May

Metal fighting devices placed on a person’s knuckles “concentrate a punch’s force by directing it toward a harder and smaller contact area,” increasing the harm to the intended target, according to Wikipedia. The Trump Administration has popularized the use of the functional equivalent of these thuggish fighting tools. They also appear back in fashion at […]

Utility General Rate Cases & Memorandum Accounts for Dummies

7 Apr

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a new Current series explaining the fundamentals of impenetrable energy terms. With it, we hope to pull back the curtain on terms of art used in California utility regulation that often come with considerable price tags for consumers. Investor–owned utilities use their general rate cases to cover big […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]

State Budget to Dedicate $2B to Climate Protection

13 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 state spending plan released Jan. 10 would spend $1.7 billion to reduce the impacts of climate change. The proposal includes investments in low carbon emission projects, wildfire mitigation, environmental equity, and alternative energy jobs in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. “The state’s goals are clear. Californians must have […]

The Buzz

9 Jan

The start of the New Year brings bold federal and state clean energy and equity measures. It also brings closer a looming deadline for Pacific Gas & Electric. There is a huge push to get PG&E out of bankruptcy by the end of June. Meeting that deadline will allow it to access the multi-billion dollar […]

CPUC Okays Utilities 2020 Ratemaking

19 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 19 unanimously authorized the four investor-owned utilities’ long-term debt and preferred and common equity percentages as part of the test year 2020 ratemaking capital structures. Regulators approved only some of the requested rate of return increases. “The financial stability of the utilities is vital,” said CPUC Chair Marybel Batjer. […]

Most Californians Want PG&E Restructured

10 Dec

There is substantial support among California voters for changing Pacific Gas & Electric’s ownership structure, according to poll results released Dec. 10. “A large majority of California registered voters favor changing the way the state’s largest public utility, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, operates,” said Mark DiCamillo, University of California at Berkeley Institute for […]

LADWP Faces Federal Complaint Over 2017 Wildfire

9 Dec

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power last week denied that its equipment started the destructive Creek Fire, which ignited in the Angeles National Forest on Dec. 5, 2017. The muni issued the denial after the federal government filed a court complaint against the muni seeking to recover $40 million in firefighting costs. The […]

PG&E Says It’s Settled All Fire Claims

9 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric late last week resolved the last of the major wildfire claims against it, potentially clearing the way for it to finalize a bankruptcy reorganization plan. PG&E on Dec. 6 agreed to a $13.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims. Under the deal with the Official Committee of Tort Claimants and firms representing […]

LADWP Faces Fire Safety Task Backlog, Audit Finds

25 Nov

The nation’s largest municipal utility is behind on maintenance tasks needed to prevent its power lines from sparking wildfires, an audit by Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin concluded on Nov. 20. “Given the increased frequency and severity of wildfires,” said Galperin, “the utility must do more to detect and inspect potential fire safety issues, address […]

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 […]

Shorts

13 Nov

Updated Nov. 14. Marin Clean Energy’s latest climate action update shows that 22 of the 34 cities in its territory have opted for 100 percent renewable energy for their public facilities. The report also shows that Marin County now has more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations. Local Bay Area energy agencies are soliciting […]

Investigators Tag LADWP Power Line in Getty Fire

30 Oct

The Los Angeles Fire Department made a preliminary finding Oct. 29 that the destructive Getty Fire ignited when a tree branch broke and blew into a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power electrical line. The incident occurred  at 1:34 a.m. on Oct. 28. Speaking late on Oct. 29, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called […]

Juice: Out of the Ash a Green New Deal Must Rise

29 Oct

California’s energy and environmental goals took the one two punch this month. Only a Green New Deal may be able to repair the damage. First, it was another round of widespread public safety power shutoffs and devastating wildfires in Northern and Southern California. Left in their wake is rotten food, lost business sales, lost paychecks […]

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 […]

Newsom Pledges CPUC Action on PG&E Reimbursements

28 Oct

With more public safety power shutoffs in the offing, Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 28 doubled down on Pacific Gas & Electric. He pledged “forceful” action by the California Public Utilities Commission to get the utility to reimburse customers for losses due to shutoffs. He further reiterated that his office will work with bidders toward a […]

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 […]

CPUC Approves Ratepayers Paying $10.5 B into Wildfire Fund

24 Oct

A wind-driven blaze that grew from 300 to 10,000 acres overnight in Sonoma County was the background for the California Public Utilities Commission’s Oct. 24 meeting. During the meeting held in Redding, regulators unanimously approved collecting $10.5 billion from utility ratepayers for a $21 billion utility wildfire fund. Southern California also was experiencing weather driven […]

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 […]