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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 […]

CPUC Orders Utilities to Line Up More Resources for Peak Summer Demand

11 Jan

To avoid rolling outages due to electricity supply shortages, state officials direct the three investor-owned utilities to line up additional resources by mid-February. The aim is to ensure peak demand and demand as the sun sets, known as net peak, are met this summer.   Under a Jan. 8 proposed decision by an administrative law […]

The Buzz

7 Jan

Three is not a charm for Pacific Gas & Electric. Its problematic 1,150 MW Unit 2 at its Diablo nuclear plant is down for a third time because of a new issue. The soonest it will be back online is the end of May. A quintet of community energy agencies receive solid credit ratings, which […]

New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan

Updated Jan. 8 at 2:30 PM Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it’s not expected to be back in service before Memorial Day. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2. Both of the unit’s two unplanned outages earlier last […]

More Community Aggregators Come of Age, Get Rated

7 Jan

Community energy organizations in California continue to do well on their early investment credit ratings, with five of the entities now rated. Two Bay Area community energy organizations, which supply energy to former private utility ratepayers, are the most recent to receive solid grades. Silicon Valley Clean Energy received an “A” from S&P Global Ratings […]

News Roundup: New CPUC Executive Director

6 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission named a new executive director to replace the former chief Alice Stebbins, who was fired in August. Rachel Peterson, who has been the Acting Executive Director, became the new director Jan. 5. “It is a great move for the CPUC,” Arthur O’Donnell, energy analyst and journalist, and former CPUC staffer, […]

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 […]

Edison Reimagines California’s Distribution System

5 Jan

Distributed energy’s explosive growth makes integrating it in a way that supports the power system critical, according to a new white paper from Southern California Edison. The paper forecasts significant growth of distributed energy resources (DER) in California and “we want to have the system technologies to see and manage their impacts,” SCE VP of Asset […]

The Buzz

17 Dec

Federal energy regulators shoot down a proposed order requiring the grid operator to prove the August outages were not caused by its unreasonable tariff. Two of the three voting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members reject interfering with the California Independent System Operator’s work with state energy agencies to fill grid reliability gaps. The California Public […]

PG&E & SCE Customers Will Soon See Double Digit Bill Increases

17 Dec

After numerous speakers objected to the California Public Utilities Commission increasing electricity and gas rates because of the shelter in place orders, higher winter utility bills and loss of jobs, a rough estimate of the big increases in the investor-owned utility bills starting next year was presented Dec. 17.  Rate hikes are driven largely by […]

The Buzz

3 Dec

The Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 shuts down just two days after it goes back online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know the cause, who is on the hook for the repair and whether there will […]

PG&E Rates Climb and Climb Again

3 Dec

As Californians pay higher electric bills because work and other activities are confined to home, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to increase its revenue this year by $9.1 billion, a nearly 7% increase over last year. In 2021, there will be an additional $316 million rise […]

Diablo Canyon Unit Down Again

3 Dec

One of two main units at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is down for the third time. Soon after Unit 2 was restarted over the Thanksgiving weekend after a month-and-a-half long outage, Pacific Gas & Electric again had to take it offline. The problem continues to be with an electric generator component that was […]

CAISO’s Energy Imbalance Market Has Taken Big Steps but Faces Competition

2 Dec

California’s energy imbalance market had a good 2020. It passed $1 billion in total benefits, added two powerhouse participants, and filed its first plan for expanding into day-ahead trading. But the question of how California can share decision-making with other states continues to block that expansion and potential participants are looking at alternatives. The voluntary EIM […]

PG&E Touts Biggest Ratepayer Bond in U.S. History

24 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric argues that its proposal before utility regulators to issue $7.5 billion in 30-year bonds to be repaid by ratepayers is a good deal for its customers. This low-cost refinancing of shareholder debt to cover utility wildfire costs “will enable PG&E to promptly move $6 billion in debt off its balance sheet,” […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

PG&E’s $7.5B Ratepayer Bond Would Assume Shareholder Debt

10 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking regulatory permission to shift $7.5 billion of its 2017 wildfire costs from shareholders to ratepayers. Ratepayer advocate groups, both large and small, strenuously object on grounds it places an inordinate financial risk on utility customers while providing them little or no benefit. “It is morally reprehensible,” April Rose Maurath […]

CAISO Executive Redo Launched

10 Nov

The new chief of the California Independent System Operator, Elliot Mainzer, announced an executive reorganization Nov. 6. It switches around managers in market policy, operations, planning and technology departments with the aim of broadening their understanding of how the grid works as it moves towards decarbonization.  “Internal mobility brings new thinking, new blood and new […]

The Buzz

6 Nov

Neil Chatterjee, who has served as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair for more than two years, is suddenly replaced. President Trump late Thursday names James Danly the new FERC chief. In blue California, state utility regulators approve Southern California Edison’s plan to issue $337 million in ratepayer-backed bonds to recover the costs of making […]

CPUC Suspends Questionable Shareholder Bonuses

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to halt paying shareholders each year $30-$75 million from ratepayer pockets for unearned energy efficiency savings.  Cal Advocates, the ratepayer advocate at the CPUC, successfully argued there was no evidence that the energy efficiency bonus program has caused the private utilities to prioritize efficiency beyond what is required.  […]

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