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JUICE: Covid Wreaks Havoc on Legislative Hearings for a Second Year

1 Apr

It used to be, pre-pandemic, that spring was the time that numerous bills were vetted and voted on during weekly legislative policy committee hearings. Energy legislation was debated for hours, extending into the night from time to time. Rarely did they match for length of the brutal Eternal Peace hearings when California’s 1996 deregulation law […]

Commission Proposal Okays PG&E $7.5B Ratepayer Bonds

31 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission is on the verge of green lighting Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to issue an unprecedented $7.5 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds to cover part of its 2017 wildfire liability. Rejecting multiple intervenors’ warnings about possible ratepayer harm, the Commission proposal specifically would allow PG&E to refinance its $6 billion short-term […]

CPUC Summer Demand Side Decision Cuts Back on Fossil Power

25 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission March 25 unanimously approved a revised emergency resource plan for the private utilities for the next two summers. Unlike the initial proposal, this new decision prohibits using increased gas generation from plants with existing contracts and from revived plants to meet high demand. Many clean air advocates were pleased by […]

The Buzz

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch. After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for […]

PG&E to Launch Community Microgrid Program, CPUC Will Vote on New Load Shedding

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead March 18 for Pacific Gas & Electric to activate the community microgrid resiliency program approved last June. PG&E will start providing early input to communities on their proposed microgrids, advising on the best locations. The utility also will spend up to $3 million upgrading distribution lines, grid […]

Energy Commission Okays Big Grant for Zero Emission Truck Fueling Stations

18 Mar

The California Energy Commission March 17 approved $83 million in grants to promote low and zero emission projects and reduce data centers’ energy use. The largest grant was $50 million awarded to CalStart for truck charging refueling and charging stations. The funding aims to speed up station installations especially in disadvantaged, low income, and tribal […]

Shorts

17 Mar

SoCalGas’ 2020 energy efficiency programs helped save more energy than any other natural gas utility in the U.S, the utility claimed March 17. “By using less energy, SoCalGas customers saved more than $44 million in energy costs last year alone and reduced greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change by more than 211,000 metric tons–equal […]

100% Clean Energy Requires Mega Capacity Stretch

16 Mar

Achieving 100% clean electricity in California by 2045 will require a three-fold increase in current installed capacity. It is estimated to cost 6% more than a 60% renewable portfolio standard. That is according to a joint report by the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board. The report estimates an annual […]

Energy Commission Code Update Proposes More Electric Appliances in New Buildings

16 Mar

The latest edition of the California Energy Commission’s influential energy efficiency code does not include a mandate for all-electric new buildings. That is despite a new joint agency report on the path to a 100% clean energy concluding that decarbonizing energy use in new and existing buildings “is a key climate-fighting strategy.” The 2022 Title […]

Unpaid Utility Bills Soar, as Does Need to Protect Black and other Vulnerable Ratepayers

11 Mar

Private and public utilities across the country are grappling with the pandemic-driven surge in unpaid utility bills. In California alone, arrearages from last February through December exceeded $1 billion for the private utilities, more than double pre-pandemic levels. “Clearly the energy crisis was already staring us down before the pandemic,” Gabriella Sandoval, The Utility Reform […]

Capital Roundup: Gov. Touts Climate Action, CPUC Rebuked for Aliso Canyon

10 Mar

In his State of the State, Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed to climate driven wildfires and the necessity of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from the transportation sector. It is the largest source of state emissions. During his evening March 9 address, Newsom highlighted his executive order banning the sale of gasoline powered cars and passenger […]

CPUC Pledges Fast Decision on Unpaid Energy Bills

9 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission plans to expeditiously handle some $600 million in energy utility bill arrearages that have accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic. The full commission would make a decision on how to address the late payments by June 24. That would be just days before a moratorium on service shutoffs is […]

CPUC and Stakeholders Strive to Stop Spiking Rates

9 Mar

Editor’s note: Another take on the late February hearing to control soaring rates to protect equity and clean energy. California will not let its skyrocketing electricity rates threaten reliability or its policy goals, California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told stakeholders during a Feb. 24 full commission hearing. The costs of California’s policy mandates […]

Shorts

9 Mar

More than 35% of the electricity Pacific Gas & Electric delivered to its customers last year was from eligible renewable resources, the company reported March 8. That level is slightly above California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard that requires energy providers supply 33% renewable energy by the end of 2020. “As we pass this major mile-marker of […]

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 […]

Roundup: East Bay to Offset Peak Load w/ Negawatts Reaped Elsewhere

4 Mar

East Bay Community Energy signed a deal with home energy management company OhmConnect to apply 25 MW in aggregated energy reductions to EBCE’s peak load during evening hours as solar power diminishes. It’s a novel demand response arrangement. The transaction does not sign up EBCE customer into the ‘negawatt’ program but instead taps into the […]

JUICE: Does Hawaii’s Decoupling of Utility Profit from Investments Offer Lessons for California?

2 Mar

Last week a joint legislative hearing was held on strategies to stem the tide of continually rising utility bills in California. A range of proposals were pitched, from new income-based taxes to covering rising ratepayer costs with the state’s general fund. The hearing was held because there is general agreement that escalating rates threaten equity […]

Poor Carbon Accounting at CARB

1 Mar

The California Air Resources Board has failed to adequately measure whether its programs to reduce transportation emissions in disadvantaged communities are working, the State Auditor warned last week. The pollution agency overstated greenhouse gas emissions benefits from a program that gives people incentives to purchase clean cars. The Air Resources Board also has been slow […]

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 […]

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