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The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

News Roundup: SCE Reaches $2B Deal with Fire Insurers

25 Sep

Southern California Edison agreed to a nearly $2 billion settlement to cover all claims by insurance companies for payouts they made to businesses and homeowners harmed by the utility-sparked 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, and the 2018 Montecito mudslides. The agreement announced Sept. 23 pays $1.6 billion to insurance firms for third party fire claims […]

CPUC Formally Fires Its Director

1 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Aug. 31 to formally oust the agency’s executive director Alice Stebbins.  “You took a series of actions over the course of several years that calls into question your integrity,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer told Stebbins during a remotely-held public meeting. She added that Stebbins neither took responsibility nor […]

News Roundup: CPUC Rejects Director’s Whistleblower Claim

27 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission is refuting claims by its embattled executive director that she has been illegally forced out. Alice Stebbins dismissal is be discussed at an Aug. 31 public Commission hearing. She was placed on indefinite leave Aug. 4. The attorney representing the state agency claims in a letter that Stebbins “engaged in […]

Shorts

18 Aug

A public hearing on whether to oust the California Public Utilities Commission executive director was postponed. The five commissioners planned to vote Aug. 17 on whether to fire Alice Stebbins, who was accused of non-kosher hiring because of filling six posts with former colleagues. Earlier this month, she was put on indefinite leave, which she […]

Pressure Grows on CEC to Mandate Construction Electrification

12 Aug

Advocates of building electrification cheered two city measures to cut emissions from new buildings approved by the California Energy Commission Aug. 12. They urged the commission to go much further and adopt a state-wide construction electrification mandate as part of the 2022 building code revision. The city building codes of Davis and San Luis Obispo, […]

CPUC Director, Agency Charged with Shoddy Hiring

11 Aug

The executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, Alice Stebbins, who was placed on indefinite leave last week, stands accused of nepotism in hiring. A new State Personnel Department report takes issue with six upper management positions that went to Stebbins’ former colleagues.  It also faulted the commission for lacking an anti-nepotism policy. Stebbins’ […]

The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

Sudden Change at Helm of Utilities Commission

6 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission executive director says she is being pushed out for pressuring the agency to collect $200 million owed to it by utility companies, mostly ones that provide water, but also energy and telecommunications. CPUC President Marybel Batjer notified staff the evening of Aug. 4 that Alice Stebbins, who has been executive […]

Sempra Earnings Soar, Ups Fight to Protect Turf in CA

5 Aug

Sempra Energy, the parent company of both San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas, saw sharply increased earnings of $2.305 billion in the second quarter, or $7.64 per share. That compares to $435 million last year, or $1.29 per share. Much of the increase was attributed to the multi-billion dollar sale of its South […]

SoCal Gas Sues CEC for Illegally Sidelining Natural Gas

5 Aug

The battle to preserve natural gas in California is heating up. Southern California Gas sued the California Energy Commission July 31, claiming it shirked its duty to adequately report the role natural gas will play in the state’s energy future. The lawsuit brought in the State Superior Court in Orange County was joined by SoCal […]

Edison’s Earnings Drop, PG&E’s Losses Less Grim

30 Jul

Two of California’s three investor-owned utilities reported second quarter earnings this week. Edison International’s earnings were not as rosy as the same quarter last year, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s were not as bad. Sempra reports earnings next week. Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, reported a drop in second quarter earnings […]

Calif.-Quebec Cap & Trading Upheld by Federal Court

20 Jul

A federal district court in California again rejected the Trump Administration claim that the Golden State’s carbon cap-and-trade program with Quebec interfered with federal authority over foreign affairs. “Overall, the United States has failed to identify a clear and express foreign policy that directly conflicts with California’s cap-and-trade program,” the U.S. District Court for the […]

FERC to Tighten Dam Safety Rules Post Oroville Collapse, Okays Klamath Dam Removal

16 Jul

Federal regulators proposed updating dam safety requirements in response to the 2017 failure of the spillway at the Oroville Dam and two recent collapses in Michigan. The partial crumbling of Oroville’s spillway, the nation’s highest dam, forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. The California Department of Water Resources is responsible for the spillway. The Federal […]

Breakthroughs for Storage at State, Federal Levels

14 Jul

It is proving to be an important time for storage. The California grid operator announced July 13 it has connected the nation’s largest battery array to the grid and that many more megawatts of storage will follow. At the federal level, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals July 10 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s […]

Shorts

14 Jul

More than one third of California’s electricity last year was fueled by solar, wind and other qualifying renewables under the state’s clean energy mandate. According to the California Energy Commission, 36% of retail electric sales were supplied by renewable resources, exceeding the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard’s 2020 mandate. “As we move to 100% clean electricity […]

Shorts

6 Jul

July 8 update Neither the Assembly nor Senate will return to Sacramento next week as planned. The California Senate made the announcement in a July 8 letter, the day after the Assembly cancelled reconvening July 13 because five who work at the Capitol tested positive for Covid-19, including at least one lawmaker, the San Francisco […]

PG&E Has $17B on Hand for Fire Victims & Cities

1 Jul

Updated July 2 Pacific Gas & Electric announced July 1 it funded much of the cash portion of its $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires from 2015-18, as well as the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. PG&E funded the victim trust with $5.4 billion in cash. It will receive a further $650 million cash […]

Court Slams FERC Roadblocks to Pipeline Permit Challenges

30 Jun

Federal energy regulators’ habit of postponing landowners’ challenges to permits for natural gas pipelines that run across their property was soundly rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals June 30. The issue before the court boiled down to the legitimacy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s issuance of so called “tolling orders,” which delay […]

Court Approves PG&E $60B Financing Scheme, Company Issues More Debt

23 Jun

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion reorganization to resolve massive claims—from wildfire victims and other creditors—10 days ahead of a legislative June 30 deadline. That is the final date for accessing the $21 billion utility ratepayer and shareholder funded fire trust, which PG&E and the court have kept their eyes […]

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