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The Buzz

3 Dec

Two days after the Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 goes back online over the Thanksgiving weekend, it shuts down. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know what caused the coolant in the stator to leak, who is on the hook for the […]

PG&E Touts Biggest Ratepayer Bond in U.S. History

24 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric argues that its proposal before utility regulators to issue $7.5 billion in 30-year bonds to be repaid by ratepayers is a good deal for its customers. This low-cost refinancing of shareholder debt to cover utility wildfire costs “will enable PG&E to promptly move $6 billion in debt off its balance sheet,” […]

Klamath Dams Closer to Demolition

17 Nov

Four years after a historic agreement was reached to remove dams on the Klamath River to revive the once surging salmon runs, a new revision was announced Nov. 17. It is expected to satisfy a controversial condition added by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last July. “According to many FERC nerds, this is going to […]

Shorts

17 Nov

East Bay Community Energy pulled from its Nov. 18 board agenda the issue of a whether to use the nuclear power from Diablo Canyon. “The item was pulled due to lack of interest among the largest Brilliant 100 customer base and it won’t be reconsidered in 2020,” Melissa Brandt, EBCE spokesperson, said. Local power activists have objected […]

Grid Operator’s Budget Inches Downward

16 Nov

The California Independent System Operator’s draft 2021 budget—ranging from salary and contractor costs to market income—is its lowest since 2006, April Gordon, CAISO financial planning director, said during a Nov. 16 presentation. The grid operator’s spending plan for next year is a proposed $181.6 million, 3% below this year’s $187 million revenue requirement. The budget […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

PG&E’s $7.5B Ratepayer Bond Would Assume Shareholder Debt

10 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking regulatory permission to shift $7.5 billion of its 2017 wildfire costs from shareholders to ratepayers. Ratepayer advocate groups, both large and small, strenuously object on grounds it places an inordinate financial risk on utility customers while providing them little or no benefit. “It is morally reprehensible,” April Rose Maurath […]

Consumer Advocates Push for $255M SoCalGas Penalty

10 Nov

The official advocate for California utility ratepayers says the state should punish Southern California Gas by fining it $255.3 million for illegally using ratepayer money to thwart energy efficiency building codes and appliance standards. “Since at least 2014, SoCalGas has engaged in a concerted effort to undermine the state’s energy efficiency goals related to new […]

The Buzz

6 Nov

Neil Chatterjee, who has served as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair for more than two years, is suddenly replaced. President Trump late Thursday names James Danly the new FERC chief. In blue California, state utility regulators approve Southern California Edison’s plan to issue $337 million in ratepayer-backed bonds to recover the costs of making […]

PG&E Admits Flaws in Wildfire Reduction Program

3 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is acknowledging serious deficiencies in a program aimed at removing trees and limbs near utility equipment in high fire threat areas. Responding to criticisms raised last month, the utility agreed with the federal Court Monitor Mark Filip that its operational decisions “must give greater weight to working the riskiest areas first […]

Feinstein and Barragan Take Aim at SoCal Gas for Astroturfing

29 Oct

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) are demanding answers from Southern California Gas about its ongoing attempts to undermine California policy aimed at phasing out natural gas use. They specifically cite the company’s attacks against construction electrification ordinances and truck electrification. In an Oct. 29 letter to the head of the gas […]

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 […]

Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

26 Oct

In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries. There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate […]

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 […]

Energy Commission Approves $400M to Slash Vehicle Emissions

14 Oct

The California Energy Commission unanimously approved $384 million in funding for zero emissions vehicles over the next three years, significantly boosting its commitment to charging infrastructure. Much of the work will be carried out in struggling polluted communities. “This is a really an important moment for the state,” Commissioner Patty Monahan said during the agency’s […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

The Buzz

9 Oct

The release of the much anticipated first analysis of the major causes of the mid-August blackouts highlights warnings previously raised. That includes agency resource forecasting and planning missing the mark on climate and a cleaner grid. Major stakeholders—from utilities to community energy—insist that clean reliable resources are needed now more than ever. The California Public […]

CPUC: Small Renewables Can Contract Again with IOUs

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved reopening the utility procurement door to small renewable energy developers. At the same Oct. 8 meeting, regulators agreed to increase ratepayer protections in the event that a community energy organization fails, requiring their customers to go back to the utility. The five commissioners voted to revive a part of […]

Report: Salton Sea ‘Lithium Valley’ Could Supply 33% of Global Demand

6 Oct

Just one week after a law was signed in California creating a special committee to explore the potential of the Salton Sea to yield significant amounts of lithium, a report concludes it could result in a multi-billion dollar windfall for the state and its electric vehicles. The report by the non-profit New Energy Nexus says […]

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 […]

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