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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, […]

Utility Annual Earnings & 4th Quarter Go North and South

25 Feb

Edison International’s earnings for 2020 fell, but its fourth quarter net income was higher than in 2019. For Sempra Energy, the reverse was true. Edison International–Annual earnings for Southern California Edison’s parent company dropped to $700 million in 2020, or $1.98 per share. That compares to $1.3 billion in 2019, or $3.78 per share. Fourth […]

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 […]

Will Controversial Aliso Canyon Gas Field Get a New Lease on Life?

24 Feb

Despite the state’s legal commitment to decarbonize the energy sector, staff at the California Public Utilities Commission have concluded the large Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Los Angeles needs to remain open. There has been a forceful effort to close the field since a months-long eruption of methane gas from a failed well […]

The Buzz

18 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a “humanitarian crisis.” FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power. Soaring demand in Texas, frozen power plants, and massive […]

FERC Chair: Texas Outages a “Humanitarian Crisis,” Agency Opens Door to Enviro Justice

18 Feb

The massive days-long power outage caused by frigid weather across Texas and the Midwest, resulting in numerous deaths, is a “humanitarian crisis,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick declared. He and his fellow commissioner urged against pointing fingers at any one energy resource causing the power shortages, whether gas plants or wind turbines, at […]

Bills to Ban Fracking, Create Offshore Wind Industry Introduced

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 Legislation that would ban the practice of fracking to extract natural gas and oil from many wells was announced Feb. 17 by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara). The ban would affect new wells and those up for renewal starting Jan. 1, 2022. SB 467 also would […]

News Roundup: CAISO Calls for Conservation, PG&E Reaches 10M Securities Settlement

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 In a reversal of high heat and demand causing rolling blackouts in California, Texas suffered far larger and longer blackouts this week because of unusually icy conditions. More than 4 million customers lost power because thermal power plants were unable to operate. Wind turbines also froze. “Extreme weather conditions caused many generating […]

More Fossil Power to Meet Summer 2021 Peak Demand Expected

11 Feb

In anticipation of high summer demand, including when the sun sets, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered investor-owned utilities to line up more supply resources, expected largely to be gas-fired power. That runs counter to the state mandate to ramp down fossil-fueled electricity to zero. “Customers deserve a reliable grid,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said […]

CPUC is Heading Backwards on Demand Response Forward on Gas Plants

4 Feb

Instead of increasing demand response to help avoid blackouts during intense heat, a California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal would continue restricting its use on grounds some resources failed to show up during the August outages. At the same time, the fleet of gas plants are getting increased financial support in order to play a […]

San Diego Tries Again for a New Power Utility

4 Feb

After failing to attract more than one bid to provide electricity and gas service, the City of San Diego has extended its franchise with San Diego Gas & Electric to June 1. The city will open a second round of bidding this March with proposals due in April, the City Council’s Environment Committee was told […]

New Bill Expands Climate Emissions Reporting

28 Jan

Legislation introduced by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would require large companies that do business in California to publicly disclose their onsite and offsite greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2024. It would apply to companies that make $1 billion or more in revenue, The reporting requirement has no emissions threshold and includes businesses not covered […]

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 […]

The Buzz

22 Jan

Slashing emissions from dirty diesel backup systems, the use of which is growing, is the focus of energy and air quality regulators. Diesel generation is widely used because it is cheap, accessible, and established. Panelists at a joint agency workshop tout alternative technologies fueled by gas, more so when supplied with renewable gas or green […]

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. […]

News Roundup: SDG&E’s Power Costs Okayed, LA Power Cited for Methane Leak

13 Jan

Updated Jan. 14 The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved San Diego Gas & Electric recovering from ratepayers $1.16 million for its 2021 projected power procurement costs, including for utility-owned generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Presiding Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves rejected SDG&E’s proposed accounting change that would have put off a sizable amount of the […]

Shorts

12 Jan

The Public Advocates Office announced it saved California ratepayers more than $3 billion in utility rates last year. “The impacts of COVID-19 and the increasing frequency of wildfires have made our advocacy that much more important for Californians,” Elizabeth Echols, Director of CalAdvocates, said Jan. 11. She stressed the need for affordable safe utility services–from […]

JUICE: Top 2021 Energy Issues

5 Jan

Looking ahead at key energy concerns this year, Current predicts soaring utility bills in an economy battered by Covid-19 will be a major issue. Others will include the fate of the vast majority of San Diego Gas & Electric’s customer base and expected devastation and outages in the upcoming fire season. Also, center stage in […]

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