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The Buzz

8 Apr

A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to […]

Bioenergy and Efficiency Rebate Bills Pass Key Committee

8 Apr

The California Assembly seems increasingly interested in electricity made from different forms of so-called biowaste. Legislation to promote the use of bioenergy as an alternative to the open burning of crop and forestry waste passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 7. The bill also would fund the reduction of methane releases from dairies […]

Shorts

6 Apr

updated April 8 Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators agreed on a $536 million “early action” fire prevention package. The package will fund the thinning of forests, fuel breaks around vulnerable communities and community hardening infrastructure to mitigate wildfire damage. “This year, we are budgeting more than $1 billion, with more than $500 million in early […]

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 […]

The Buzz

25 Mar

State utility regulators scale back increases in gas fired power in their new decision seeking emergency supply and load reduction resources the next two summers. The private utilities are ordered to add at least 1,000 MW to meet demand during extreme heat, preferably with storage. But the California Public Utilities Commission’s second emergency plan okays […]

Court: No Expedited Path for Power Plant Siting Challenges

23 Mar

In a decision closely watched by groups that scrutinize power plant siting, the California Supreme Court affirmed that challenges to California Energy Commission power project decisions must go through the usual judicial review. They cannot be made directly to the state high court, pursuant to a March 19 ruling upholding a lower court decision. On […]

Bills to Promote Green Hydrogen and Large Customer Demand Response Advance

16 Mar

A handful of measures passed out of the key Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 15. One expands the definition of green hydrogen; one adds statutory protections to a demand response program that pays commercial and industrial customers to shed load, and the third seeks to increase poor communities’ access to distributed resources. SB […]

The Buzz

11 Mar

Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing. The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California. Utility regulators across the country seek to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

25 Feb

The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy’s reported income goes the opposite direction. While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, […]

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 […]

SoCal Edison Takes Heat Over Power Shutoffs

27 Jan

State officials excoriated Southern California Edison Tuesday over its extensive power shutoffs last year, including over Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday, awarding it the Hall of Shame prize for 2020. It was previously reserved for Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E was raked over the coals by regulators and politicians for the harm and disruption caused […]

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 […]

Notable New Appointments by Biden Administration, Including New FERC Chair

21 Jan

On his second day in office, President Joe Biden named Rich Glick chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “I am honored that President Biden has shown the confidence in me to lead the agency at this critical moment in time,” Chair Glick said Jan. 21. Until mid-December, Glick was the sole Democrat member on […]

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. […]

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 […]

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