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The Buzz

22 Jul

Pacific Gas & Electric is going to underground a whopping 10,000 miles of power lines in risky fire territory. It made the announcement several days after informing state regulators it may have ignited the Dixie Wildfire in Butte and Plumas counties, which continues to spread. The price tag will be hefty but putting underground lines […]

Studies: Distributed Energy and Efficiency Drive Down Clean Grid Costs

22 Jul

Going gang busters on clean, distributed energy will go a long way towards lowering utility bills as California works towards a decarbonized grid. In addition, energy efficiency further increases the savings in and outside the state. Those are findings in two studies released July 22. Adding rooftop and community solar and solar-plus-storage over the next […]

Controversial CPUC Vote Approves $80M to Each Utility to Increase EV Chargers

15 Jul

On a rare split vote, state utility regulators narrowly approved expediting the three investor-owned utilities ability to spend more ratepayer money on electric transportation infrastructure, this time a total $240 million to ensure there are enough chargers to alleviate the concerns of would-be EV drivers. The state is falling well short of its 2030 goal […]

CPUC Greenlights Klamath Dam Removal and Energy Commission Clean Energy Funding

15 Jul

Western utility company PacifiCorp’s extrication from its ownership of four hydropower dams on the Klamath River is nearly final with an okay by the California Public Utilities Commission to transfer title to a non-profit that will handle the long-planned demolition. Source: Karuk Tribe Commission approval marks its final involvement in the transfer of ownership, allowing […]

CPUC Avoided Cost Calculator for Solar Fails to Avoid Controversy

5 Jul

California’s success at building utility-scale solar has lowered the value of local rooftop solar to the system, threatening its present economics. The California Public Utilities Commission’s 2021 avoided cost calculator update quantifies the costs avoided by using distributed energy resources. The avoided cost for local solar is the lowest it has been in a decade, […]

Shorts

5 Jul

A flex alert was called for the afternoon of July 9 in the face of another round of intense heat. “As a result of higher load, and supply forecasted to be tighter than expected on Friday, consumers are asked to voluntarily conserve electricity from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” the California Independent System Operator announced […]

PG&E Seeks 30% Rate Hike

1 Jul

Pacific Gas & Electric, which charges some of the nation’s highest rates for electricity and gas, is seeking to raise those rates 30%. Much of the increase would be for $7.4  billion in new investments the company proposes in its 2023-26  general rate case, filed with the California Public Utilities Commission Wednesday afternoon. Half of […]

SCE Wants Another $1B in Ratepayer-Backed Bonds

29 Jun

Southern California Edison filed its second application to issue ratepayer-recovery bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital spending as well as losses from utility bills that went unpaid during the pandemic. SCE’s $1 billion bond request filed June 23 is the first utility application that includes recovery of arrearages from unpaid bills because of […]

The Buzz

24 Jun

State utility regulators work through a packed agenda, with approval of Pacific Gas & Electric’s $1.2 billion ratepayer-funded bond to cover wildfire costs getting a silent okay, being folded into the California Public Utilities Commission’s consent agenda. Getting public attention at this week’s CPUC meeting are its unanimous approval of an unprecedented mandate for 11,5000 […]

Regulators Okay PG&E’s $1.2 B Ratepayer-Backed Bond, Extend Power Disconnect Freeze

24 Jun

Without discussion, the California Public Utilities Commission approved Pacific Gas & Electric’s issuance of $1.2 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds to cover part of its wildfire mitigation expenses. This follows the CPUC’s earlier approval of PG&E’s $7.5 billion ratepayer-funded bond to cover part of the claims from its wildfire victims approved in the bankruptcy court last […]

CPUC Mandates 11.5 GW of New Clean Electricity

24 Jun

State regulators stripped natural gas power plants from a new mandate that 11,500 MW of new resources be online by mid-decade, to the delight of clean energy advocates. Two earlier competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would have included fossil resources, with one calling for 1,500 MW and the other 500 MW to be squeezed […]

CPUC Takes a Beating for Ignoring Legislative Mandates

17 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission leadership was taken to task by a key Assembly energy committee for not implementing legislative mandates­ on a series of issues–-from energy efficiency to direct access. The berating came during a June 16 hearing. Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said the legislature passes bills with “clear […]

CPUC Pitches Independent State Monitor for PG&E

15 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission plans to replace the outgoing federal monitor, who is keeping tabs on Pacific Gas & Electric compliance with safety and reliability laws, regulations, and protocols, with a state monitor next year. In light of the utility’s numerous violations over the last several years, an ongoing safety monitor was required as […]

Proposal Would Make Clean Microgrids More Affordable

15 Jun

The costs of small and large non-fossil microgrids would drop under a proposed California Public Utilities Commission decision released last week. It would lower a key part of the standby charge paid by system owners to investor-owned utilities. These charges are typically levied by IOUs to avoid shifting costs onto regular grid-connected customers. But the […]

CPUC Okays $11 Billion for Rate Assistance

3 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission this week approved the four private utilities spending $11 billion over the next five years to support low-income energy assistance programs. There are three programs, which provide rate discounts, weatherization assistance and workforce training in disadvantaged communities. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that for the first time the equity of all […]

Regulators Set Stricter Rules for Utility Shutoffs

3 Jun

State regulators voted unanimously June 3 to require improvements in the utilities’ execution and transparency of their safety power shutoffs in the upcoming fire season. “This remains an extremely challenging and pressing issue for us as we enter another season of wildfires,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. The decision includes corrective actions […]

CPUC Eases Path for Utilities to Put in More Chargers

3 Jun

State utility regulators want to help fill an anticipated 2025 shortage of electric vehicle chargers in California by loosening up the rules on installations carried out by utility companies. The California Public Utilities Commission proposal also would accelerate installations of ports and associated infrastructure by allowing utilities to install more of them. At least half […]

PG&E Faces $20M Fine for Leaving Customers in the Dark During Shutoffs

1 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric is facing a $20 million penalty payable by shareholders for communication screwups during massive so-called public safety outages in 2019. That includes the company failing to notify more than 50,000 customers–including people dependent on electric medical devices–that they were going to lose power. The California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge’s […]

The Buzz

27 May

Clean local microgrid bills keep moving forward in the Legislature. Also continuing to advance is hotly contested legislation that would add significant costs to net metered solar rooftops. But measures to decarbonize state buildings and promote more renewables fizzle. Find out more in the latest legislative roundup. A big gust is propelling offshore wind energy […]

Energy Bill Winners & Losers

27 May

Among the bills moving ahead in the Legislature are ones backing installations of clean microgrids in fire-prone communities and adding fees to net metered small solar rooftops. The key local community microgrid measure is SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). It would create a grant and technical assistance program at the California Energy Commission […]

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