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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 & […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

SDG&E Faces No Competition for San Diego Franchise

5 May

San Diego Gas & Electric remains the sole bidder in the City of San Diego’s solicitation for exclusive electric and gas services. “We do not feel it is appropriate to characterize where we are in the negotiation process,” Jeffery Martin, CEO of parent company Sempra Energy, told financial analysts May 5. The city, the eighth […]

California Prepares for Worsening Wildfires

13 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law April 13 a legislative package providing $536 million in emergency funding for wildfire prevention and response. “California is taking bold, early action to protect our high-risk communities from the upcoming wildfire season before it starts,” Newsom said. Proceeds from the state’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade program and its General Fund provided […]

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, […]

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 […]

San Diego Tries Again for a New Power Utility

4 Feb

After failing to attract more than one bid to provide electricity and gas service, the City of San Diego has extended its franchise with San Diego Gas & Electric to June 1. The city will open a second round of bidding this March with proposals due in April, the City Council’s Environment Committee was told […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Strong Santa Anas May Cause Long Outages

1 Dec

Updated Dec. 3 San Diego Gas & Electric shut off power to 73,000 customers starting Dec. 1 because of multi-day powerful Santa Ana winds.  The winds are impacting a huge swath of Southern California, from Los Angeles to San Diego. A number of wildfires broke out mid-week. Brian D’Agostino, SDG&E’s director of fire science and […]

CPUC Suspends Questionable Shareholder Bonuses

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to halt paying shareholders each year $30-$75 million from ratepayer pockets for unearned energy efficiency savings.  Cal Advocates, the ratepayer advocate at the CPUC, successfully argued there was no evidence that the energy efficiency bonus program has caused the private utilities to prioritize efficiency beyond what is required.  […]

State Regulators Face Solar Dilemma

3 Nov

Monday’s kickoff of California’s long-awaited proceeding to update net energy metering highlighted regulators’ dilemma of how to grow solar resources without shifting system costs to customers who don’t own solar energy projects. Nationally, hopes are high that California’s proceeding will offer breakthrough solutions to the troublesome successor tariff complexities that have emerged in other states […]

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