The Buzz

2 Mar 2018

Tin ears are prevalent this week.

During the U.S. EPA’s public “listening session” in San Francisco mid-week on the agency’s plan to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board head, questions agency officials’ hearing ability. The decibels in the room increase with the long line of speakers blasting the proposed repeal for harming the planet and human health.

Also hard of hearing appears to be the new and expanding LA community choice aggregator, which was poised to ram through a pricey and non-competitive deal for data management with the Texas-based Calpine. After getting blasted from a local data management company, a vote was postponed. A rushed addendum to allow program expansion, however, was okayed for filing with the California Public Utilities Commission just before the deadline.

The state’s investor-owned utilities’ latest earnings take a big hit. Net income falls largely because of wildfire liability and the new federal tax law.

Earnings deterioration among utilities and their parent companies lead state legislators to wring their hands about possible utility bankruptcies. The CPUC also takes a licking for not allowing full recovery of wildfire costs when utilities fail at being prudent managers of their systems.

Pacific Gas & Electric’s tin ear was on display the same day. It, like the other two investor-owned utilities, faces significant liability for the recent wildfires, so much so that it halted dividends. But that didn’t stop PG&E’s board from approving $8 million in stock awards to its big wigs.

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approves 10 social justice appointees to the newly created Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group.

Our guest editorial writer in this week’s Opinionated, gives the thumbs up to green energy, but a big thumbs down to the job loss created by the shrinking of traditional generating plants.

California and Quebec’s first joint carbon emissions rights auction sees the sale of more than 100 million allowances at $14.61 apiece. That’s up from earlier auction prices.

—The Editors


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