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Newsom Proposes $2B for Ratepayer Bill Relief

11 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced May 10 that $2 billion in relief will be distributed among Californians having difficulty paying their electricity, gas, and water bills–an estimated 800,000 customers. A moratorium on utility disconnections for failure to pay is set to expire next month, but many residents continue to struggle financially largely because of the pandemic. […]

The Buzz

29 Apr

State regulators agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric that issuance of $7.5 billion in ratepayer bonds will improve its ratings will be put to the test again. Intervenors will seek rehearing of the controversial California Public Utilities Commission decision. A major rating agency is non plussed because the big utility securitization will not affect its […]

Shaky Claims About PG&E Bond Rating Impact Raise Challenges

29 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric argued repeatedly that it should be allowed to use bonds payable by customers to cover billions of dollars of its wildfire liability because it will help boost its credit rating. That in turn will lower borrowing costs, which then benefits those same customers. The California Public Utilities Commission bought its argument […]

Community Energy Helps Cover Legacy Costs. It Now Could Get Something in Return

27 Apr

Changes continue to ripple in California from the rise of community aggregators. A bill passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee April 26 that would allow community energy and direct access providers to count the attributes of the power in private utility legacy resources toward their renewable energy and supply cushion requirements. […]

Bill to Automate Home Solar Permits Passes

27 Apr

Legislation automating building permits for rooftop solar installations and systems paired with energy storage passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee April 26.   Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) said the aim of his SB 617 is to dramatically increase the number of homes in California with rooftop solar, which currently stands […]

News Roundup: SoCalGas Used Ratepayer Money to Lobby Against Energy Efficiency

27 Apr

Southern California Gas subverted an effort designating ratepayer funds for energy efficiency to do the opposite: oppose local, state, and federal energy efficiency efforts. But there will be no penalty. That is according to a California Public Utilities Commission proposed decision. The proposal confirms the findings of the CPUC’s Public Advocates’ Office that for seven […]

PG&E’s Groundbreaking $7.5B PG&E Ratepayer-Backed Bond Set to Go

22 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric ratepayers are now presumed to be on the hook for more than $11 billion over the next 30 years for a $7.5 billion bond, plus about $4 billion in interest. The unprecedented ratepayer-backed bond is to refinance PG&E’s $6 billion in short-term bankruptcy debt taken on to compensate fire victims last […]

Bills Pass that Back Offshore Wind and Home Batteries for Grid Support

22 Apr

This week, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved legislation to launch California’s offshore wind industry and allow home battery projects to help balance the grid during times of spiking temperatures. Passed on an 11-0 vote April 21, AB 525 by Assembly members David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) requires the […]

The Push and Pull Over the Costs and Benefits of Rooftop Solar Exports

20 Apr

by Fereidoon Sioshansi The U.S. solar industry had another record year in 2020 installing 19.2 GW of capacity, 43% above 2019. That is according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2020 Year in Review, released in mid-March by the Solar Energy Industry Association, and Wood Mackenzie. California, Texas, and Florida were the top three states […]

SDG&E Gets Okay to Cover Its $43 Million EV Program Costs

15 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission approved San Diego Gas & Electric collecting $43.5 million from ratepayers to recover the costs of building electric charging stations at low-income apartments and dwellings, and at workplaces. The April 15 unanimous vote was in spite of the fact that SDG&E overspent during its pilot on which this expansion is […]

JUICE: Vehicle-to-Grid and Home So Close and Yet So Far

13 Apr

Hundreds of billions of dollars of public money may soon infuse the electric vehicle market. President Joe Biden plans to invest $174 billion over 10 years, and Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes spending $1.5 billion in his 2021-22 state budget. In addition, the California Energy Commission detailed April 13 a $50 million project to accelerate the […]

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 […]

The Buzz

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch. After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for […]

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 […]

Capital Roundup: Gov. Touts Climate Action, CPUC Rebuked for Aliso Canyon

10 Mar

In his State of the State, Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed to climate driven wildfires and the necessity of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from the transportation sector. It is the largest source of state emissions. During his evening March 9 address, Newsom highlighted his executive order banning the sale of gasoline powered cars and passenger […]

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 […]

The Buzz

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye. East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect […]

JUICE: Does Hawaii’s Decoupling of Utility Profit from Investments Offer Lessons for California?

2 Mar

Last week a joint legislative hearing was held on strategies to stem the tide of continually rising utility bills in California. A range of proposals were pitched, from new income-based taxes to covering rising ratepayer costs with the state’s general fund. The hearing was held because there is general agreement that escalating rates threaten equity […]

SCE Seeks to Curb Shutoffs this Summer

2 Mar

Southern California Edison believes its latest summer grid hardening plan will avoid a repeat of last year’s 16 public safety shutoffs, utility representatives told the California Public Utilities Commission March 1. SCE was required to submit a corrective action plan last month to the CPUC after getting raked over the coals during a Jan. 26 […]

PG&E Reports Loss in 2020, Smaller than 2019

25 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. reported continued losses for last year, at $1.3 billion, or $1.05 per share. That is far smaller than the utility loss of $7.7 billion, or $14.50/share, in 2019. Fourth quarter earnings for the utility’s parent company were in the black at $200 million, or 9 cents/share, contrasted with a loss […]

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