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SMUD Plans to Beat State Net Zero Carbon Goal by 15 Years

14 Jul

California has mandated its state power providers reach 60% renewables by 2030, but the Sacramento Municipal Utility District plans to supply 100% clean energy by the start of the next decade. That puts it ahead of virtually all other utilities, according to SMUD’s March 2021 Zero Carbon report. Its plan for net zero power supply emissions […]

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

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 […]


2 Mar

The Department of Water Resources’ March 2 snow survey found that California’s snowpack was below average. Overall, it’s 61% of the average for this time of year, and 86% of the average at Phillips Station in South Lake Tahoe. At the latter station, a snow depth of 56 inches was measured with a snow water […]

SCE $337M Ratepayer-Funded Bond Approved

5 Nov

With no discussion, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to allow Southern California Edison to issue $337 million in bonds fully backed by ratepayers early next year. They are to cover the first round of the utility’s recent grid hardening costs. Intervenors who opposed SCE’s initial bond proposal, led by The Wild Tree Foundation, […]

The Buzz

24 Jan

FERC member Bernard McNamee bids adieu to the agency. Whether to allow coastal power plants that use huge quantities of water to cool down is still at issue. Center stage are proposed extensions of the legal deadlines, set in 2010, for four plants along the Southern California coast. Under an agreement between Pacific Gas & […]

The Buzz

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s handling of its unprecedented power shutoffs to more than 700,000 has customers and regulators up in arms. PG&E also doesn’t get a warm reception in bankruptcy court. The judge rejects its effort to again have him ignore a competing plan to reorganize PG&E’s massive debts. Over at the California Public Utilities […]

The Buzz

13 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission votes to increase PG&E’s gas transmission and storage revenue this year to $1.3 billion, with even bigger raises the next couple of years. State energy regulators direct $100 million in unspent clean energy incentives to low-income ratepayers and critical services providers for energy storage installations in areas with high wildfire […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Ratepayer Advocates Fail to Get Official Status

28 May

Updated May 29 The federal bankruptcy court judge handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy case rejected creating a formal ratepayer committee. If  approved, it would have required the utility to pay the committee’s legal tab. “Wall Street bankers will be calling the shots, demanding a ratepayer bailout to keep PG&E profitable,” Mark Toney, The Utility […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]


13 Feb

Updated Feb. 15. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is purchasing biomass power from the American Renewable Power-Loyalton Biomass project in Sierra County. LADWP will get 8.9 MW of biomass energy from American Renewable for five years under the deal at a cost of $97.50 per MWh. The deal helps satisfy an obligation […]

Finding the Right Balance in Commercial Rates

12 Dec

How to achieve an optimal rate design for non-residential electricity customers that combines important but conflicting state goals, including efficient energy prices and fairness, was debated at a two-day California Public Utilities Commission forum this week. “There is a tradeoff between efficiency and equity, and a tradeoff between efficiency and simplicity,” Bob Levin, CPUC senior […]

SMUD Clears Way for 5G Transceivers on Power Poles

20 Nov

In response to efforts by telecommunications companies to expand their 4G networks and build new 5G networks, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Nov. 16 set fees for mounting small cell communications equipment on power poles. The move could be a precursor of bigger things to come for power utilities across the board. The fee will […]


10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

Safety Requires Massive PG&E Gas Transmission & Storage Rate Hike

12 May

The California Public Utilities Commission is proposing a retroactive rate hike for Pacific Gas & Electric gas transmission and storage services of up to 32.1 percent for 2015. If the proposal ultimately is approved, rates for the services would continue to climb through 2017. (more…)

JUICE: UnBalanced Sheets

23 Jul

Listening to private utilities gripe about their costs during debates over a higher alternative energy standard while seeking increased ratepayer revenue elsewhere brings to mind loved ones, and not so loved ones, who freely take, but balk at giving. (more…)

Utilities Plan Massive Upgrades to Expand Distributed Resources

2 Jul

California’s investor-owned utilities July 1 proposed ambitious plans for incorporating potentially tens of thousands of megawatts of distributed energy resources into their systems by 2025—from more rooftop solar to residential energy storage batteries and electric cars. (more…)

CPUC Exclusive Meetings Produce Skewed Results, Report Says

25 Jun

Closed-door meetings between regulators, utility representatives and other stakeholders bias the decision-making process in the regulated utility’s favor, finds a June 23 report commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission. (more…)

Another Shot at San Onofre Nuke Settlement

25 Jun

Consumer advocates urged the California Public Utilities Commission June 24 to re-open its San Onofre settlement. (more…)


4 Dec



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