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SCE May Have Sparked Orange County Blaze

27 Oct

Updated Oct. 28 During the most dangerous fire conditions to hit much of the state this year, Southern California Edison has revealed its equipment could have started the Silverado Fire in Orange County early Monday morning. The fire spread to more than 13,500 acres by early Wednesday, Oct. 28. The utility’s Oct. 26 incident report […]

Energy Commission Funds Push for Clean Backup Generation

27 Oct

Repeated wildfires and power shutoffs are driving sales of backup generators at homes, businesses, hospitals, and community centers across northern California. Diesel generators are flying off the shelves. But the desperation also is strengthening the push for clean systems that can island from the grid, also store power, and potentially hasten the commercialization of more […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

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 […]

CPUC Lets PG&E Recover $447M From Ratepayers for Wildfires

22 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to pass on $447 million of its various wildfire mitigation costs to ratepayers without undergoing a reasonableness review. PG&E will raise residential rates over 17 months, starting this December, by an average $48. CPUC President Marybel Batjer insisted the approval “will […]

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 […]

Recurring Problem Forced Diablo Canyon Nuke Unit Offline

20 Oct

The untimely Oct. 15 shut down of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s Unit 2 is the second malfunction in a critical component of its electric generator, which was just rebuilt. In July, the same Pacific Gas & Electric unit was forced offline because then, as now, the cooling system that lowers the extreme heat inside […]

CPUC Judge Adds Ratepayer Protections to $337M SCE Bond

20 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission pushes back against a controversial proposal by Southern California Edison to put its ratepayers on the hook for $337 million in new debt. The utility plans to raise the money from bondholders to cover its costs of hardening power equipment against fire threats, which will be fully repaid by SCE […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

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 […]

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 […]

PG&E Preventive Shutoffs Continue in Sonoma, Napa & Shasta

29 Sep

Hot strong winds forecast for this past Sunday and Monday drove Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power to 65,000 customers in parts of 15 counties.  As of mid-day on Sept. 28, 37,000 customers remained without power. The number fell to 24,000 customers by end of the day on Monday. Power remained shut off […]

Shorts

17 Sep

PG&E Corp. Chief Financial Officer Jason Wells is leaving the company Sept. 25, according to a Sept. 17 PG&E Securities & Exchange Commission filing. He is heading to another utility, and not because of disagreements over PG&E operations or practices, according to the company. Wells will become CFO of Houston-based Center Point Energy, the Houston […]

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 […]

The Buzz

11 Sep

Northern San Diegans vigorously protest San Diego’s plan to upgrade and extend a big power line from San Marcos to Escondido. After listening to concerns about fire and financial dangers, as well as visual blight, the California Public Utilities Commission pulls the item from this week’s business meeting. In other news, the utility regulators learn […]

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 […]

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