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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 […]

News Roundup: CAISO Calls for Conservation, PG&E Reaches 10M Securities Settlement

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 In a reversal of high heat and demand causing rolling blackouts in California, Texas suffered far larger and longer blackouts this week because of unusually icy conditions. More than 4 million customers lost power because thermal power plants were unable to operate. Wind turbines also froze. “Extreme weather conditions caused many generating […]

JUICE: Solar + Storage Is Rising

16 Feb

Making energy from the sun a more versatile resource by pairing it with storage technologies is gaining momentum as the grid evolves and prices fall. Storage is “at the same point in the growth curve that PV was at circa 10 years ago,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, California Solar and Storage Association executive director, said. Of […]

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 […]

Utility Fire and Climate Costs Keep Soaring

9 Feb

The new updates to the three investor-owned utilities’ fire mitigation plans submitted to California regulators add more than $15 billion in expenses through 2022. That is in addition to the nearly $7 billion spent to reduce fire danger last year. Most of the 2021 and 2022 investments go to advanced technologies to improve fire awareness […]

The Buzz

4 Feb

State regulatory staff propose further crimping demand response, much to the dismay of advocates of these behind-the-meter resources. Making matters worse for them is the disparity in treatment between DR and fossil power plants. The City of San Diego plans to issue a second request for bids for electricity and gas services because the long-time […]

News Roundup: CA is #1 in EVs, PG&E Sells Wireless Access to Towers for $1B

3 Feb

Updated Feb. 3 California has done more than any other state to advance vehicle electrification, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “It is the only state to set deadlines for electrifying transit buses, heavy-duty trucks, and commercial vehicles, and to adopt statewide building codes for wiring most types of new buildings […]

SF Sues Energy Officials Over Connection Denials

2 Feb

The City and County of San Francisco filed suit against federal regulators for not stopping Pacific Gas & Electric from denying its requests to install lower voltage distribution connections to serve customers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “failed to prevent unlawful discrimination against San Francisco,” the lawsuit says. It claims PG&E provides such connections to […]

SoCal Edison Takes Heat Over Power Shutoffs

27 Jan

State officials excoriated Southern California Edison Tuesday over its extensive power shutoffs last year, including over Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday, awarding it the Hall of Shame prize for 2020. It was previously reserved for Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E was raked over the coals by regulators and politicians for the harm and disruption caused […]

Shorts

26 Jan

The big storm that began Jan. 27 that sent high winds, snow, and heavy rain across Northern California knocked out power to about 575,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers and 50,000 Sacramento Municipal Utilities District customers. As of late Tuesday afternoon, PG&E restored power to about 434,000 customers. “Hazardous conditions exist in many locations within […]

Roundup: Power Shutoffs in Winter, San Diego Community Energy to Launch Soon

19 Jan

Updated Jan. 21 Highly unusual winds for this time of year prompted preventive power shutoffs and warnings to more than 300,000 utility customers early this week, nearly all in Southern California Edison territory. About 78,546 SCE customers across six counties had their power cut by Tuesday afternoon. Most were in Los Angeles, Riverside and Ventura […]

The Buzz

14 Jan

One of the avenues for helping secure power supplies during safety shutoffs and heat waves is a proceeding on clean microgrids. But a new California Public Utilities Commission decision makes little headway on advancing the microgrid market because of concerns about ratepayer costs and safety. Those concerns do little to appease low-income advocates who object […]

Final Blackout Study Calls for More Reserves, Warns of Diablo & Pacific Line Risk

14 Jan

Details on the key causes of the mid-August blackouts are out, and consistent with an earlier analysis. They highlight market and planning flaws and a system thin on the cushion of extra power, or resource adequacy, the grid requires. The final analysis also points to an acute concern over two scenarios: a sudden loss of […]

News Roundup: SDG&E’s Power Costs Okayed, LA Power Cited for Methane Leak

13 Jan

Updated Jan. 14 The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved San Diego Gas & Electric recovering from ratepayers $1.16 million for its 2021 projected power procurement costs, including for utility-owned generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Presiding Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves rejected SDG&E’s proposed accounting change that would have put off a sizable amount of the […]

CPUC Orders Utilities to Line Up More Resources for Peak Summer Demand

11 Jan

To avoid rolling outages due to electricity supply shortages, state officials direct the three investor-owned utilities to line up additional resources by mid-February. The aim is to ensure peak demand and demand as the sun sets, known as net peak, are met this summer.   Under a Jan. 8 proposed decision by an administrative law […]

The Buzz

7 Jan

Three is not a charm for Pacific Gas & Electric. Its problematic 1,150 MW Unit 2 at its Diablo nuclear plant is down for a third time because of a new issue. The soonest it will be back online is the end of May. A quintet of community energy agencies receive solid credit ratings, which […]

New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan

Correction made Jan. 21 Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it’s not expected to be back in continuous service for several more weeks. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2. Both of the unit’s two unplanned outages earlier last […]

More Community Aggregators Come of Age, Get Rated

7 Jan

Community energy organizations in California continue to do well on their early investment credit ratings, with five of the entities now rated. Two Bay Area community energy organizations, which supply energy to former private utility ratepayers, are the most recent to receive solid grades. Silicon Valley Clean Energy received an “A” from S&P Global Ratings […]

JUICE: Top 2021 Energy Issues

5 Jan

Looking ahead at key energy concerns this year, Current predicts soaring utility bills in an economy battered by Covid-19 will be a major issue. Others will include the fate of the vast majority of San Diego Gas & Electric’s customer base and expected devastation and outages in the upcoming fire season. Also, center stage in […]

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