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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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

8 Jul

The push to building electrification to slash greenhouse gas emissions is raising concerns that the shrinking base of gas customers will be unfairly burdened with higher utility bills. The issue is the focus of a new U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business paper. Some question why gas utilities aren’t treated like telecom companies, many of […]

Will the Shrinking Ratepayer Base be Protected from Gas Utilities’ Sunk Costs?

7 Jul

The move to decarbonize buildings is prompting questions about how gas utilities and their customers will fare in an increasingly electric landscape. Turns out, their fates may diverge. U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor Lucas Davis and Associate Professor Catherine Hausman from the University of Michigan found that when the customer base of a […]

The Buzz

1 Jul

Senate energy bills pass a key Assembly policy committee this week. That includes ones supporting building and vehicle electrification and beefing up the thin ranks of utility fire prevention workforces with Conservation Corps workers who’ve been fighting fires, including those formerly incarcerated. PG&E proposes a massive rate hike, partly to fund ongoing safety work of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Latest Carbon-Cutting Blueprint Hashed Out at Public Workshop

10 Jun

Electrifying buildings and transportation won’t get the state to carbon neutrality by 2045, staff from energy and air pollution control agencies said over two days of California Air Resources Board workshops this week. The focus was ARB’s significant update to its long-term plan to avert worsening climate change. There also was general consensus that the […]

Microgrid Near Yosemite Provides Power 24/7, Eliminates Line-Sparked Fire Risks

8 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric has launched a new microgrid system powered by a solar array paired with batteries to provide continuous power to a tiny community in a high fire threat area close to Yosemite National Park. The standalone system, which also includes backup propane tanks, is in place of new power lines across mountainous […]

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 […]

New Energy Commission Report Addresses Emissions from Buildings

1 Jun

Homes and commercial buildings are responsible for one quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of the carbon is released by appliances, either because they burn gas or are powered by electricity. The rest is from offsite generation to run lights in buildings, and for heating and cooling. Decarbonizing buildings is key to […]

San Diego Stays Married to SDG&E

1 Jun

After failing to find any competitors for the city’s electric and gas services, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to continue the city franchises with San Diego Gas & Electric for another 20 years. The right-of-way agreements include an option that allows the city to cancel after a decade for any reason, including to […]

The Buzz

13 May

Additional resources give the California Independent System Operator more confidence in this summer’s grid. More than half will come online as the sun sets and air conditioners fire up. The grid operator also points to other resources in the event of intense peak demand if there is another whopper heat wave across the West. The […]

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

7 May

Pacific Gas & Electric’s $7.5 billion bond issuance gets final approval. Regulators sign off on its financing order, which includes oversight by a finance team tasked with protecting customers. Ratepayer advocates welcome the oversight on condition it is robust, but object to the legal basis of the approved ratepayer-backed securitization. San Diego Gas & Electric […]

RPS Costs Increased Last Year, CPUC Says

5 May

The average cost of non-fossil resources bought by private utilities, community energy and other providers pursuant to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard rose last year compared to 2019. But they still remain low. That’s according to a new California Public Utilities Commission report. It attributes the cost increase to an expansion of renewable purchases beyond solar […]

SDG&E Faces No Competition for San Diego Franchise

5 May

San Diego Gas & Electric remains the sole bidder in the City of San Diego’s solicitation for exclusive electric and gas services. “We do not feel it is appropriate to characterize where we are in the negotiation process,” Jeffery Martin, CEO of parent company Sempra Energy, told financial analysts May 5. The city, the eighth […]

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