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100% Clean Energy Requires Mega Capacity Stretch

16 Mar

Achieving 100% clean electricity in California by 2045 will require a three-fold increase in current installed capacity. It is estimated to cost 6% more than a 60% renewable portfolio standard. That is according to a joint report by the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board. The report estimates an annual […]

Bills to Promote Green Hydrogen and Large Customer Demand Response Advance

16 Mar

A handful of measures passed out of the key Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 15. One expands the definition of green hydrogen; one adds statutory protections to a demand response program that pays commercial and industrial customers to shed load, and the third seeks to increase poor communities’ access to distributed resources. SB […]

The Buzz

11 Mar

Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing. The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California. Utility regulators across the country seek to […]

Unpaid Utility Bills Soar, as Does Need to Protect Black and other Vulnerable Ratepayers

11 Mar

Private and public utilities across the country are grappling with the pandemic-driven surge in unpaid utility bills. In California alone, arrearages from last February through December exceeded $1 billion for the private utilities, more than double pre-pandemic levels. “Clearly the energy crisis was already staring us down before the pandemic,” Gabriella Sandoval, The Utility Reform […]

Capital Roundup: Gov. Touts Climate Action, CPUC Rebuked for Aliso Canyon

10 Mar

In his State of the State, Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed to climate driven wildfires and the necessity of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from the transportation sector. It is the largest source of state emissions. During his evening March 9 address, Newsom highlighted his executive order banning the sale of gasoline powered cars and passenger […]

CPUC Pledges Fast Decision on Unpaid Energy Bills

9 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission plans to expeditiously handle some $600 million in energy utility bill arrearages that have accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic. The full commission would make a decision on how to address the late payments by June 24. That would be just days before a moratorium on service shutoffs is […]

CPUC and Stakeholders Strive to Stop Spiking Rates

9 Mar

Editor’s note: Another take on the late February hearing to control soaring rates to protect equity and clean energy. California will not let its skyrocketing electricity rates threaten reliability or its policy goals, California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told stakeholders during a Feb. 24 full commission hearing. The costs of California’s policy mandates […]

The Buzz

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye. East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect […]

CPUC Pitches Additional 7,500 MW Mid-Decade

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal calls for 7,500 MW of new power in California, with less than one-third of that carbon free. The recalculation of needed resources covering 2024-26 is intended to address demand for electricity on the hottest days.  The proposal by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch seeks to address a resource gap […]

JUICE: Does Hawaii’s Decoupling of Utility Profit from Investments Offer Lessons for California?

2 Mar

Last week a joint legislative hearing was held on strategies to stem the tide of continually rising utility bills in California. A range of proposals were pitched, from new income-based taxes to covering rising ratepayer costs with the state’s general fund. The hearing was held because there is general agreement that escalating rates threaten equity […]

SCE Seeks to Curb Shutoffs this Summer

2 Mar

Southern California Edison believes its latest summer grid hardening plan will avoid a repeat of last year’s 16 public safety shutoffs, utility representatives told the California Public Utilities Commission March 1. SCE was required to submit a corrective action plan last month to the CPUC after getting raked over the coals during a Jan. 26 […]

The Buzz

25 Feb

The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy’s reported income goes the opposite direction. While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, […]

PG&E Reports Loss in 2020, Smaller than 2019

25 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. reported continued losses for last year, at $1.3 billion, or $1.05 per share. That is far smaller than the utility loss of $7.7 billion, or $14.50/share, in 2019. Fourth quarter earnings for the utility’s parent company were in the black at $200 million, or 9 cents/share, contrasted with a loss […]

Rising Rates Drown Equity and Decarbonization

25 Feb

The burden of continually rising utility bills will derail California’s decarbonization work if left unaddressed, regulators, economists and ratepayer advocates warn. The rising costs are bearing down on struggling customers who’ve been hit hard by pandemic-driven job losses and sheltering at home. Higher bills undermine California’s equity policy goals and jeopardize the state’s clean energy […]

Will Controversial Aliso Canyon Gas Field Get a New Lease on Life?

24 Feb

Despite the state’s legal commitment to decarbonize the energy sector, staff at the California Public Utilities Commission have concluded the large Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Los Angeles needs to remain open. There has been a forceful effort to close the field since a months-long eruption of methane gas from a failed well […]

SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb

Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws. […]

The Buzz

11 Feb

The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options. Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities […]

Utility Regulators Grapple with $1B+ in Unpaid Energy Bills

11 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission is exploring options for paying off the more than $1.15 billion in unpaid utility bills that has accumulated during the pandemic. “The numbers are pretty horrendous,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said Feb. 11 of the arrearages for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and […]

More Fossil Power to Meet Summer 2021 Peak Demand Expected

11 Feb

In anticipation of high summer demand, including when the sun sets, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered investor-owned utilities to line up more supply resources, expected largely to be gas-fired power. That runs counter to the state mandate to ramp down fossil-fueled electricity to zero. “Customers deserve a reliable grid,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said […]

Energy Commission Attorney Named to CPUC

9 Feb

Darcie Houck, the California Energy Commission’s chief counsel since 2019, was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Feb. 9. She fills the vacancy left by Liane Randolph, who became the California Air Resources Board’s new chief at the beginning of this year. Prior to serving as the Energy Commission head […]

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