CPUC Reconsiders Proposed Decisions Post-Lobbying

By Published On: September 9, 2011

A couple notable items were pulled from the California Public Utilities Commission meeting to allow for more review. One was a proposed CPUC ruling that denies Pacific Gas & Electric’s request to use $33 million of ratepayer funds to study developing a pumped storage facility.  The funding request for the project was rejected as premature because PG&E failed to show the need for the project to support renewable energy growth by 2020, according to the proposed decision. PG&E lobbied to get the funding reconsidered. “[The] application is not premature given the extensive lead time for pumped hydro,” according to a presentation PG&E made Sept. 2 to CPUC president Mike Peevey’s staff in an effort to preserve the funding. The utility also noted that a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy is pending. The proposed ruling stated PG&E’s projections of size, costs, and benefits of the project make it “speculative.” PG&E’s tentative plan is to connect two existing reservoirs in the El Dorado National Forest, creating up to 1,200 MW of hydro storage. The potential cost is pegged at $2.5 billion.  Another decision held for more consideration is to disallow Edison $1.4 million associated with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s 2008 outage. The proposed decision includes another disallowance for $1 million for an outage associated with its hydroelectric facilities. Otherwise, the proposed decision finds $24 million in various tracking accounts and determines its contract administration and costs associated with the California Independent System Operator’s wholesale market software are reasonable.

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