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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 […]

PG&E to Underground 10,000 miles of Power Lines

22 Jul

As the Dixie wildfire in Butte and Plumas counties linked to a tree falling on a remote Pacific Gas & Electric circuit continued to spread, PG&E announced it was taking the unprecedented step of undergrounding 10,000 miles of power lines in high fire danger areas. It estimates the cost at roughly $15-20 billion. It could […]

Growing Dixie Fire in Feather River Canyon Linked to PG&E Circuit

20 Jul

Pacific Gas & Electric told state regulators July 18 that its equipment may have sparked another massive wildfire, this time the ongoing Dixie Fire in the remote Feather River Canyon in Butte and Plumas counties. It started early last week, has burned 60,000 acres, and was only 15% contained as of Tuesday, according to CalFire. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Remote Meeting on Diablo Canyon Limits Public Comment

7 Jun

In place of the usual annual public meeting in San Luis Obispo for updates on the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a remote meeting May 14. But the agency opted to discuss it along with 9 other nuclear power plants in region 10, limiting public input on the Central Coast […]

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 […]

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 […]

One Clean Microgrid Bill Sails Ahead, Challenges Ahead for Another with Buried Cable

20 Apr

Local agencies would get needed guidance on the best places to site clean, stand-alone microgrids under a bill that’s gaining traction. Passing out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee on a 12-0 vote April 19, SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) also comes with money for the microgrids and emphasizes their siting […]

The Buzz

15 Apr

State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E’s certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of […]

Federal Regulators Take Steps to Lower Utility Incentives, Integrate State Carbon Pricing

15 Apr

Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree on the need for better transmission efficiency and a build out of high voltage lines. But the five commissioners strongly disagree on incentives for utilities that participate in independent and regional transmission organizations, which are responsible for grid modernizations. To protect ratepayers, FERC proposed April 15 on […]

California Prepares for Worsening Wildfires

13 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law April 13 a legislative package providing $536 million in emergency funding for wildfire prevention and response. “California is taking bold, early action to protect our high-risk communities from the upcoming wildfire season before it starts,” Newsom said. Proceeds from the state’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade program and its General Fund provided […]

The Buzz

8 Apr

A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to […]

News Roundup: LA City Council Pressures SoCalGas to Close Playa del Rey Field

8 Apr

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously April 7 to close the Playa del Rey underground natural gas storage facility owned by Southern California Gas. The Playa del Rey field is smaller but considered riskier than the Aliso Canyon gas storage field. The Playa facility, which is near the LA International Airport, is located in […]

Sonoma County DA Charges PG&E with Five Felonies

6 Apr

The Sonoma County District Attorney filed criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric April 6, alleging it ignited the Oct. 23, 2019, Kincaid Fire. It harmed six fire fighters, destroyed 374 buildings, and torched nearly 78,000 acres of land over a period of two weeks. The utility also was charged with causing air pollution through […]

Commission Proposal Okays PG&E $7.5B Ratepayer Bonds

31 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission is on the verge of green lighting Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to issue an unprecedented $7.5 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds to cover part of its 2017 wildfire liability. Rejecting multiple intervenors’ warnings about possible ratepayer harm, the Commission proposal specifically would allow PG&E to refinance its $6 billion short-term […]

Shorts

29 Mar

The state snowpack is 59% of the April 1 average, at 16.5 inches, the Department of Water Resources announced. The key measuring station at Phillip’s Station in South Lake Tahoe had a snow depth of 83% of average, at 21 inches. “While the Southern Sierra remains well below average for both rain and snow, the […]

PG&E to Launch Community Microgrid Program, CPUC Will Vote on New Load Shedding

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead March 18 for Pacific Gas & Electric to activate the community microgrid resiliency program approved last June. PG&E will start providing early input to communities on their proposed microgrids, advising on the best locations. The utility also will spend up to $3 million upgrading distribution lines, grid […]

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 […]

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