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Lawmakers Told Grid Imbalances Can Be Solved by Next Summer

13 Oct

The California Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Vice Chair Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) castigated the state’s three energy agencies at a Monday hearing, saying their joint report on rolling outages in August was essentially finger pointing and excuses. The heads of those agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, grid operator and California Energy Commission, continued to […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

The Buzz

9 Oct

The release of the much anticipated first analysis of the major causes of the mid-August blackouts highlights warnings previously raised. That includes agency resource forecasting and planning missing the mark on climate and a cleaner grid. Major stakeholders—from utilities to community energy—insist that clean reliable resources are needed now more than ever. The California Public […]

CPUC Speeds Up Effort to Bring More Power Online

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission vowed Oct. 8 to accelerate its usual process in order to make more energy resources available by next summer. It also promised to modernize planning to reflect extreme heat, particularly as solar and wind supplies decrease with the setting sun.  The commitment was made two days after the California Independent […]

CPUC: Small Renewables Can Contract Again with IOUs

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved reopening the utility procurement door to small renewable energy developers. At the same Oct. 8 meeting, regulators agreed to increase ratepayer protections in the event that a community energy organization fails, requiring their customers to go back to the utility. The five commissioners voted to revive a part of […]

Failure to Grasp Climate and Grid Changes Led to Outages

7 Oct

Utilities underestimated the energy they would need. Forecasts by state agencies were out of date. The heat was extreme. Natural gas and renewable resources were offline, and imports were constrained. All five of these are to blame for California’s mid-August blackouts, according to the first formal investigation into its cause. The preliminary assessment by the […]

The Buzz

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric seeks a couple of billion dollars more from ratepayer pocketbooks for utility-sparked wildfires in 2017 and 2018. It also asks state regulators for the green light to put its long-time headquarters in San Francisco up for sale. It says it will give the gain to customers. In other news, the grid […]

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 […]

CPUC, not SCE, Calls Shots on Ratepayer Bonds, Lawmaker Says

1 Oct

Southern California Edison is threatening to use pricier financing to recoup $337 million in wildfire costs if the California Public Utilities Commission doesn’t okay its controversial plan to issue bonds fully secured by ratepayers. SCE says it will recover the costs “through traditional utility financing, which will cost customers more,” in an opening brief filed […]

Resurrected Ratepayer-Funded Bonds Lining Up

30 Sep

Updated Oct. 1 Pay attention to Southern California Edison’s request to quickly shift wildfire costs to customers. It plans to do this through a financing mechanism it hasn’t used in 23 years: issuance of less costly bonds paid back fully by ratepayers. Pay attention because a lot more requests for approval of bonds like these […]

FERC Opening Markets to Distributed Resources Not Cause for Celebration in California Yet

29 Sep

Distributed resources advocates across the country celebrated the 2-1 vote approving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 2222 for opening capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets to aggregated distributed energy. They applauded FERC’s pomise to “usher in the electric grid of the future and promote competition in electric markets.” The celebration may have been premature, especially […]

The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

North San Diego SDG&E Line to Go Forward Over Opposition

25 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 24 unanimously approved a 12-mile line by San Diego Gas & Electric running from its San Marcos substation to the one in Escondido, passing through the town of Vista, over the protests of northern San Diego County residents. The project includes both upgrades and a new line. Many of […]

New Bonds Put Ratepayers 100% on the Hook, and the Tab?

23 Sep

Consumer advocates are warning that a test case before the California Public Utilities Commission will set a grave precedent for Californians if regulators give it the okay. At issue is how much private utilities get to charge ratepayers for bonds they issue to cover their wildfire costs, including protecting against blazes. Southern California Edison plans […]

Net Present Value for Dummies

23 Sep

The new law created by AB 1054 seeks to tamp down rising utility bills by mandating that when the companies issue bonds paid back by ratepayers they use the lowest rate possible to save customers the most money. That is to be accomplished by applying a net present value analysis. This analysis reflects that a […]

Shoddy Solar Contracting Spurs Fund

22 Sep

Substandard rooftop solar work has become a significant enough problem in some communities that the California Public Utilities Commission may create a fund to address claims from aggrieved residential ratepayers. Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposes adding $12 to each new solar interconnection to fund a $1.6 million net energy metering recovery fund annually. The investor-owned […]

The Buzz

18 Sep

Groundbreaking action by federal regulators requires grid operators to open their doors to aggregated power from energy storage, solar rooftops, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. CAISO is ahead of the regional transmission operator pack, but the new rule is expected to ease the way for more clean distributed resources into its grid. The Federal Energy […]

Why Did Two California Power Plants Go Offline When Needed?

15 Sep

Anticipation surrounds a multi-agency analysis of which power plants unexpectedly went offline and what failures may have precipitated the call for rolling power outages in California mid-August. Now the release of that analysis is delayed until October rather than later this month.  The California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, […]

Juice: Scrutiny of Demand Response Failures Needed

15 Sep

The analysis of the rolling blackouts is in the works but there was advanced warning of some serious systematic problems, making some mistakes avoidable. The joint agency root cause report of the mid-August blackouts may be underway, but some problems were just waiting to happen. California was clearly and inexcusably on a path to rely […]

Rooftop Solar Compensation Under Review, Again

15 Sep

How much owners of rooftop solar reap for excess energy produced and the conditions attached have been battled in and outside California for several years. The Golden State has inconsistent solar policies, from providing $3 billion in subsidies under the decade-long Million Solar Roofs program that ended in 2017, to adding hefty charges to net […]

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