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The Buzz

10 Jun

The road to essential carbon neutrality is laden with challenges, requiring more than electrification of vehicles and buildings. Renewable fuels, rates that get EV drivers to charge when the grid is flush, and flexible demand also are key, agency staff say during the first cut of the Air Resources Board’s scoping plan update. It also […]

Microgrid Near Yosemite Provides Power 24/7, Eliminates Line-Sparked Fire Risks

8 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric has launched a new microgrid system powered by a solar array paired with batteries to provide continuous power to a tiny community in a high fire threat area close to Yosemite National Park. The standalone system, which also includes backup propane tanks, is in place of new power lines across mountainous […]

Remote Meeting on Diablo Canyon Limits Public Comment

7 Jun

In place of the usual annual public meeting in San Luis Obispo for updates on the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a remote meeting May 14. But the agency opted to discuss it along with 9 other nuclear power plants in region 10, limiting public input on the Central Coast […]

The Buzz

3 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission tightens utility safety protocols to limit the number and reach of shutoffs this year. Regulators hope to avoid a repeat of the widespread problematic shutoffs in 2019. The commissioners also direct the three private utilities to submit annual shutoff reports. The CPUC proposes an additional fine on Pacific Gas & […]

CPUC Okays $11 Billion for Rate Assistance

3 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission this week approved the four private utilities spending $11 billion over the next five years to support low-income energy assistance programs. There are three programs, which provide rate discounts, weatherization assistance and workforce training in disadvantaged communities. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that for the first time the equity of all […]

Regulators Set Stricter Rules for Utility Shutoffs

3 Jun

State regulators voted unanimously June 3 to require improvements in the utilities’ execution and transparency of their safety power shutoffs in the upcoming fire season. “This remains an extremely challenging and pressing issue for us as we enter another season of wildfires,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. The decision includes corrective actions […]

CPUC Eases Path for Utilities to Put in More Chargers

3 Jun

State utility regulators want to help fill an anticipated 2025 shortage of electric vehicle chargers in California by loosening up the rules on installations carried out by utility companies. The California Public Utilities Commission proposal also would accelerate installations of ports and associated infrastructure by allowing utilities to install more of them. At least half […]

PG&E Faces $20M Fine for Leaving Customers in the Dark During Shutoffs

1 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric is facing a $20 million penalty payable by shareholders for communication screwups during massive so-called public safety outages in 2019. That includes the company failing to notify more than 50,000 customers–including people dependent on electric medical devices–that they were going to lose power. The California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge’s […]

The Buzz

27 May

Clean local microgrid bills keep moving forward in the Legislature. Also continuing to advance is hotly contested legislation that would add significant costs to net metered solar rooftops. But measures to decarbonize state buildings and promote more renewables fizzle. Find out more in the latest legislative roundup. A big gust is propelling offshore wind energy […]

Shorts

27 May

Pacific Gas & Electric reached a $43 million settlement with Sonoma and Shasta counties and other agencies and impacted cities to resolve wildfire civil claims arising from the 2019 Kincaid Fire near Geyserville and last year’s Zogg fire in Shasta County. “We look forward to continuing to partner with these local entities as we work […]

State Utility Regulators Call For 11.5 GW of New Resources by 2026

25 May

Two competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would require utilities, community energy and other provider investments in a combined 11,500 megawatts to come online between 2023 and 2026 to ensure a solid and far less polluting grid. About one tenth would come from fossil-fueled power. One proposal, by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch, would okay […]

PG&E Sells Headquarters for $18M, Exec Compensation Soars

25 May

Pacific Gas & Electric announced May 24 it found a buyer for its long-time headquarters in downtown San Francisco. It will sell its buildings on Beale and Market streets near the San Francisco Bay for $800 million to Hines Atlas US LP, a Delaware limited partnership. After 115 years in the City by the Bay, […]

CPUC Only Okays Utilities Selling RPS Resources to Community Energy

20 May

Private utilities that purchased renewable resources on behalf of customers that have now switched to community energy must offer that generation to community aggregators and other providers, the California Public Utilities Commission decided May 20. It deferred action on related contentious issues such as how the three investor-owned utilities will sell resources offered for sale […]

Newsom Proposes $2B for Ratepayer Bill Relief

11 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced May 10 that $2 billion in relief will be distributed among Californians having difficulty paying their electricity, gas, and water bills–an estimated 800,000 customers. A moratorium on utility disconnections for failure to pay is set to expire next month, but many residents continue to struggle financially largely because of the pandemic. […]

The Buzz

7 May

Pacific Gas & Electric’s $7.5 billion bond issuance gets final approval. Regulators sign off on its financing order, which includes oversight by a finance team tasked with protecting customers. Ratepayer advocates welcome the oversight on condition it is robust, but object to the legal basis of the approved ratepayer-backed securitization. San Diego Gas & Electric […]

Unprecedented PG&E Ratepayer Bond Gets Final Okay

6 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the financing order setting parameters for Pacific Gas & Electric’s unprecedented 30-year, $7.5 billion ratepayer financed securitization. It is the largest and lengthiest utility bond securitization in U.S. history, according to Joseph Fichera, Saber Partners CEO. On May 6, the CPUC approved the order detailing the financial terms […]

RPS Costs Increased Last Year, CPUC Says

5 May

The average cost of non-fossil resources bought by private utilities, community energy and other providers pursuant to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard rose last year compared to 2019. But they still remain low. That’s according to a new California Public Utilities Commission report. It attributes the cost increase to an expansion of renewable purchases beyond solar […]

PG&E Tells CPUC to Reject Challenges to $7.5B Bond Approval

4 May

Pacific Gas & Electric is defending the California Public Utilities Commission’s finding that it may proceed with its $7.5 billion mortgage-like ratepayer-backed bond issuance against objections from ratepayer advocates and others. Regulators unanimously approved April 23 Administrative Law Judge Robert Haga’s proposed decision finding the utility met the legal requirements for securitization. PG&E says it […]

SCE’s and SDG&E’s Earnings Rise, PG&E’s Fall

4 May

Updated May 5 Pacific Gas & Electric Corp: the parent company of the utility, reported a considerable drop in first quarter earnings, $120 million, or 6 cents a share. That contrasts to $371 million, or 57 cents a share, for the first quarter of 2020. On the utility side, PG&E’s first quarter earnings were $174 […]

The Buzz

29 Apr

State regulators agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric that issuance of $7.5 billion in ratepayer bonds will improve its ratings will be put to the test again. Intervenors will seek rehearing of the controversial California Public Utilities Commission decision. A major rating agency is non plussed because the big utility securitization will not affect its […]

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