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PG&E Reports Loss in 2020, Smaller than 2019

25 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. reported continued losses for last year, at $1.3 billion, or $1.05 per share. That is far smaller than the utility loss of $7.7 billion, or $14.50/share, in 2019. Fourth quarter earnings for the utility’s parent company were in the black at $200 million, or 9 cents/share, contrasted with a loss […]

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 […]

Budget Committee Eyeing Governor’s EV Charging Spending

24 Feb

A Senate Budget Subcommittee is scrutinizing the governor’s nearly $1.5 billion proposal to fund largely electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations. It includes $1 billion of continuous appropriations over many years, raising eyebrows. Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), subcommittee chair, objected to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal of recurring annual appropriations for electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle stations […]

SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb

Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws. […]

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 […]

CEC Funds Plug-in Load Curbs, Alt Batteries and Better Forecasting, Waives PV Mandate

10 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved $6 million in grants this week for projects reducing commercial and residential load from computers, cell phones and other plug-in devices, innovative battery technologies, and for improved distributed energy resource forecasting. At its Feb. 10 meeting, the commissioners also unanimously agreed to exempt two cities from state requirements that photovoltaics […]

Jobs Pitted Against Environmental Justice in House Climate Hearing

9 Feb

The loss of fossil fuel industry jobs was Republican members’ rallying cry at a climate hearing in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee. Environmental and Climate Subcommittee Chair Paul Tonko (D-NY) held the Feb. 9 hearing to propel President Joe Biden’s executive orders to decarbonize the economy by 2050 and create millions of new jobs. […]

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 […]

Northern and Central Calif CCAs Team Up to Buy Power

8 Feb

Eight community energy organizations have joined forces to purchase clean power in an effort to lower costs through economies of scale. Realized savings would in turn be viewed favorably by credit rating agencies, potentially further improving community aggregators’ bottom lines. Several northern and central coast aggregators representing 6.6 million people and 32,600 GW hours of […]

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 […]

Shorts

2 Feb

updated Feb. 4 A federal judge handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s probation called the utility “criminally reckless” for failing to take out a tree that may have caused last fall’s Zoff fire, which killed four people, the Courthouse News Service reported Feb. 3. Judge Alsup, who is overseeing the utility’s probation following the 2010 San […]

Energy Commission Hesitates on Large Diesel Array; Okays More Bans on Nat Gas

26 Jan

In a sign of possible increasing scrutiny of new diesel backup generators, the California Energy Commission postponed a vote on whether the Sequoia Data Center project in Santa Clara should be allowed to install 54 diesel-fired units without a state license. The postponement of the exemption for the 99 MW diesel backup project comes just […]

Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan

A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators. The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects […]

Bill Provides Backing for Microgrids in Struggling Communities

19 Jan

A proposed bill in the state Senate would address the growing gap in who is able to set up microgrids in California by providing support to communities seeking energy resilience. SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) creates a statewide grant and technical assistance program to help local governments increase installations of clean community microgrids […]

Five Fed Energy Regulators at the Helm

19 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s first meeting of 2021 was the first time in many months that it operated with a full five-member board. The last time there was a full commission was August 2018. “A little bit of normality is creeping back in,” James Danley, FERC chair, said at the start of the Jan. […]

Shorts

19 Jan

The federal D.C Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 19 struck down the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosened greenhouse gas limits on power plants. “For four years, the Trump administration has propagated the outright lie that the Clean Power Plan relied on regulatory techniques never used before, and the EPA constructed an unsupportable […]

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 […]

Community Microgrid Advocates Left Waiting by CPUC

14 Jan

California is committed on paper to advancing private and public microgrids to protect communities from wildfire shutoffs, but a key step just taken by regulators favors projects advanced by the investor-owned utilities. A California Public Utilities Commission decision approved 4-0 on Jan. 14 makes way for the installation of 30 microgrids to power critical facilities—from […]

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 […]

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