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The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

More PG&E Safety Shutoffs

22 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric cut off power to about 32,500 customers in nine counties Wednesday evening because of powerful winds. To avoid the potential for its equipment to start wildfires, it initially projected temporarily blacking out 54,000 customers in 19 counties but changing weather conditions reduced the numbers of homes and businesses impacted. PG&E said […]

News Roundup: PG&E Seeks $2B more for Past Fire Costs

1 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for authority to charge ratepayers another $2 billion for costs of the 2017 wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. It also wants approval to sell its century-old headquarters in San Francisco. The utility seeks “$1.18 billion in expense and $801 million in capital expenditures, which […]

FERC Investigates California August Outages

17 Sep

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee announced Thursday that his agency is looking into what caused a shortage of electricity that led to rolling outages in California on Aug. 14 and 15. He said he is concerned about heat related events and wildfires. “Climate change is increasing the ferocity and number of weather events,” […]

Northern San Diego County Residents Oppose New Overhead Line

10 Sep

Members of the public expressed strong concern about a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric to modernize and extend a 12-mile 69 kV line through northern San Diego County, leading state regulators to delay a vote for construction that seemed sure to be approved. Several locals, many emotional, said the proposed overhead line running […]

Shorts

4 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Bernard McNamee will depart the agency Sept. 4. McNamee, whose term formally expired at the end of June, announced Aug. 5 his final day on the commission. He thanked President Trump for nominating him, adding “I will have more to say before I leave.”  Last week, Trump announced […]

Bay Area Aggregators Launch Big Home Battery Backup Plan

30 Jul

Three Bay Area community choice energy organizations announced a deal with Sunrun for 20 MW of new behind-the-meter solar plus battery backup in their territories to keep electricity flowing during shutoffs.  Under this novel agreement announced July 30, East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy will promote the Sunrun residential […]

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 […]

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