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Lawmakers Okay Smattering of Energy Bills

8 Sep

Updated Sept. 11 Fewer energy bills passed in the 2020 California legislative session than in any in the last two decades plus. The pandemic, shelter at home, and resulting focus on budget difficulties largely are responsible for the dramatic fall in energy measures making it to the governor’s desk. “It was pretty much a bust,” […]

CPUC Formally Fires Its Director

1 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Aug. 31 to formally oust the agency’s executive director Alice Stebbins.  “You took a series of actions over the course of several years that calls into question your integrity,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer told Stebbins during a remotely-held public meeting. She added that Stebbins neither took responsibility nor […]

The Buzz

27 Aug

State utility regulators sign off on funding the country’s biggest green public interest energy program and utility electric vehicle charging plan. The California Public Utilities Commission approves Southern California Edison’s $436 million program to install 38,000 electric car ports, focused on renters in and outside of struggling communities. The CPUC also extends for a decade […]

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 […]

News Roundup: CPUC Rejects Director’s Whistleblower Claim

27 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission is refuting claims by its embattled executive director that she has been illegally forced out. Alice Stebbins dismissal is be discussed at an Aug. 31 public Commission hearing. She was placed on indefinite leave Aug. 4. The attorney representing the state agency claims in a letter that Stebbins “engaged in […]

Withered Demand Response Blamed for Rolling Outages

26 Aug

The grid operator, state energy regulators and utilities largely abandoned demand response that would have provided enough electricity to avert outages during the recent heat wave, advocates of the policy say. And the numbers back them up. Rather than strengthen demand response, in which energy users cut back to leave more electricity on the grid […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

The Buzz

20 Aug

After 400,000 Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers had their power cut late last week because extreme heat spiked energy demand, Gov. Newsom tells energy officials to analyze the screw up. The grid operator, and heads of the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission also must […]

Speedy Analysis of Rolling Blackouts Ordered

20 Aug

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission, Independent System Operator and California Energy Commission to immediately determine why they failed to anticipate the mid-August squeeze on electricity resources and the cause of the rolling outages. In a letter sent early this week, the governor also demanded to know how the […]

CA Gets It that the Power System Must Manage EV Charging

18 Aug

California’s heat wave-induced blackouts came during evening peak demand spikes. If California fails to manage electric vehicle charging it could make those spikes a lot more common, according to new research. California leads the U.S. with nearly 750,000  of the estimated 1.5 million U.S. light duty EVs. Electric vehicle sales rose over 60% in 2019.  […]

Shorts

18 Aug

A public hearing on whether to oust the California Public Utilities Commission executive director was postponed. The five commissioners planned to vote Aug. 17 on whether to fire Alice Stebbins, who was accused of non-kosher hiring because of filling six posts with former colleagues. Earlier this month, she was put on indefinite leave, which she […]

CA Grid Operator: “We are scouring every corner of our world.”

17 Aug

More than 3 million California homes could have their power cut off by the three investor-owned utilities starting late afternoon on Monday, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said. “It is a perfect storm,” he warned during an Aug. 17 early afternoon press call. Demand is expected to be higher […]

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 […]

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 […]

CPUC Director, Agency Charged with Shoddy Hiring

11 Aug

The executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, Alice Stebbins, who was placed on indefinite leave last week, stands accused of nepotism in hiring. A new State Personnel Department report takes issue with six upper management positions that went to Stebbins’ former colleagues.  It also faulted the commission for lacking an anti-nepotism policy. Stebbins’ […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Conflict Grows Between SoCal Gas and Ratepayer Advocate

27 Jul

California’s ratepayer advocate asked state regulators to fine SoCal Gas $4.5 million for ignoring a subpoena for financial records showing how much ratepayer money it spent on bogus grassroots efforts to undermine building electrification and other moves to phase out natural gas use. The amount of money the gas utility directed to outside lobbyists could […]

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 […]

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