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The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

No Enforcement Yet Against Solar Swindlers

22 Oct

A proposed penalty program aimed at predatory solar contractors and shoddy solar installations, particularly in poor communities with members who have no or little ability to communicate in English, was nearly shot down on a 3-2 vote by the California Public Utilities Commission. Commissioner Guzman Aceves who proposed the punishments was visibly upset by the […]

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 […]

Shoddy Solar Contracting Spurs Fund

22 Sep

Substandard rooftop solar work has become a significant enough problem in some communities that the California Public Utilities Commission may create a fund to address claims from aggrieved residential ratepayers. Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposes adding $12 to each new solar interconnection to fund a $1.6 million net energy metering recovery fund annually. The investor-owned […]

California Builds Out EV Charging for Renters

27 Aug

California regulators unanimously approved the largest utility electric car charging infrastructure program in the country. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to allow Southern California Edison to charge its ratepayer $436 million over the next four years to install 38,000 light duty vehicle chargers. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen recognized concerns about the program’s cost. He […]

Officials Demand PG&E Limit Shutoffs, Protect the Vulnerable

14 Aug

After Pacific Gas & Electric’s damaging shutoffs last fall, state officials demanded Aug. 13 that it immediately work with county health officials to ensure the most physically vulnerable residents have essential power. State officials applied a much heavier hand to PG&E than to the two private southern California utilities. Earlier this week, representatives from Southern […]

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, […]

Officials Grill So. CA Utility Execs Over Wildfire Preparation

11 Aug

California investor-owned utilities pledged to reduce the extent and duration of their power shutoffs this year. They also assured regulators this week that they’ve taken steps to thwart the spread of Covid-19 at community centers during fires and outages, and to protect medically vulnerable customers. Utility regulators and fire and emergency response agencies grilled utility […]

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 […]

Fracking Protection Bill Sputters

6 Aug

Legislation to require setbacks between natural gas and oil wells and playgrounds, schools, hospitals, and homes to protect the health of predominantly communities of color failed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Aug. 5. But it was revived by a 5-3 vote to reconsider it in the future. AB 345 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi […]

The Bill for Energy Shifts from the Office to Home

4 Aug

The increased hours people are spending at home have driven up residential power demand in California, and with it, utility bills. Late summer with its higher temperatures only makes the situation worse. The highest increase in home energy use reported among the major private and public utilities was 15%, in the southern part of the […]

Bills on Lithium Extraction, EV Charging, Biomethane Advance

4 Aug

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee met this week and passed four energy bills. The committee had halted reconvening mid-July after one lawmaker and some staff were found to be infected with Covid-19. The quartet of measures approved Aug. 3 promote electric vehicle chargers and school efficiency, lithium recovery in the Imperial Valley, turning […]

Shorts

4 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Bernard McNamee will depart the agency Sept. 4. McNamee, whose term formally expired at the end of June, announced Aug. 5 his final day on the commission. He thanked President Trump for nominating him, adding “I will have more to say before I leave.”  Last week, Trump announced […]

Bay Area Aggregators Launch Big Home Battery Backup Plan

30 Jul

Three Bay Area community choice energy organizations announced a deal with Sunrun for 20 MW of new behind-the-meter solar plus battery backup in their territories to keep electricity flowing during shutoffs.  Under this novel agreement announced July 30, East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy will promote the Sunrun residential […]

The Buzz

16 Jul

PG&E sparked last fall’s Kincaid wildfire, CalFire reveals. State regulators launch a cutting edge framework for figuring how big a hit combined utility bills are for low income ratepayers. The scrutinized tab will include electricity, gas, telecommunication and water bills. More than two years after the near-devastating crumbling of the Oroville dam spillway, federal energy […]

Closer Scrutiny for Rising Utility Bills

16 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission July 16 adopted a groundbreaking blueprint for judging the affordability of all essential utility services, from power to water, for struggling ratepayers. No California agency has ever evaluated the reasonableness of combined utility costs for low income customers, who have been hit hard by shelter-at-home rules and resulting unemployment.   […]

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 […]

The Buzz

10 Jul

As wildfires spread, the governor increases the state budget to add more than 850 firefighters. Given the double whammy of fire threats and the pandemic, firefighters are directed to take necessary safety steps, including wearing masks and social distancing.  The same rules will apply to those evacuated by the state. How to ensure the financing […]

Building Electrification Gets Broad Support

9 Jul

Struggling Californians make up 40% of the population and suffer a disproportionate share of indoor pollution, principally from gas-fueled appliances. A new report, Towards an Accessible Financing Solution, offers a blueprint for financing strategies to drive the electrification of the homes of low-income people. Currently, home clean energy retrofits are principally reaped by Californians who […]

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