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Controversial CPUC Vote Approves $80M to Each Utility to Increase EV Chargers

15 Jul

On a rare split vote, state utility regulators narrowly approved expediting the three investor-owned utilities ability to spend more ratepayer money on electric transportation infrastructure, this time a total $240 million to ensure there are enough chargers to alleviate the concerns of would-be EV drivers. The state is falling well short of its 2030 goal […]

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 […]

The Buzz

3 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission tightens utility safety protocols to limit the number and reach of shutoffs this year. Regulators hope to avoid a repeat of the widespread problematic shutoffs in 2019. The commissioners also direct the three private utilities to submit annual shutoff reports. The CPUC proposes an additional fine on Pacific Gas & […]

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 […]

CPUC Eases Path for Utilities to Put in More Chargers

3 Jun

State utility regulators want to help fill an anticipated 2025 shortage of electric vehicle chargers in California by loosening up the rules on installations carried out by utility companies. The California Public Utilities Commission proposal also would accelerate installations of ports and associated infrastructure by allowing utilities to install more of them. At least half […]

State Utility Regulators Call For 11.5 GW of New Resources by 2026

25 May

Two competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would require utilities, community energy and other provider investments in a combined 11,500 megawatts to come online between 2023 and 2026 to ensure a solid and far less polluting grid. About one tenth would come from fossil-fueled power. One proposal, by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch, would okay […]

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 […]

CPUC Summer Demand Side Decision Cuts Back on Fossil Power

25 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission March 25 unanimously approved a revised emergency resource plan for the private utilities for the next two summers. Unlike the initial proposal, this new decision prohibits using increased gas generation from plants with existing contracts and from revived plants to meet high demand. Many clean air advocates were pleased by […]

CPUC Pitches Additional 7,500 MW Mid-Decade

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal calls for 7,500 MW of new power in California, with less than one-third of that carbon free. The recalculation of needed resources covering 2024-26 is intended to address demand for electricity on the hottest days.  The proposal by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch seeks to address a resource gap […]

Utility Annual Earnings & 4th Quarter Go North and South

25 Feb

Edison International’s earnings for 2020 fell, but its fourth quarter net income was higher than in 2019. For Sempra Energy, the reverse was true. Edison International–Annual earnings for Southern California Edison’s parent company dropped to $700 million in 2020, or $1.98 per share. That compares to $1.3 billion in 2019, or $3.78 per share. Fourth […]

Rising Rates Drown Equity and Decarbonization

25 Feb

The burden of continually rising utility bills will derail California’s decarbonization work if left unaddressed, regulators, economists and ratepayer advocates warn. The rising costs are bearing down on struggling customers who’ve been hit hard by pandemic-driven job losses and sheltering at home. Higher bills undermine California’s equity policy goals and jeopardize the state’s clean energy […]

Utility Regulators Grapple with $1B+ in Unpaid Energy Bills

11 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission is exploring options for paying off the more than $1.15 billion in unpaid utility bills that has accumulated during the pandemic. “The numbers are pretty horrendous,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said Feb. 11 of the arrearages for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and […]

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 […]

Shorts

17 Nov

East Bay Community Energy pulled from its Nov. 18 board agenda the issue of a whether to use the nuclear power from Diablo Canyon. “The item was pulled due to lack of interest among the largest Brilliant 100 customer base and it won’t be reconsidered in 2020,” Melissa Brandt, EBCE spokesperson, said. Local power activists have objected […]

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 […]

SCE $337M Ratepayer-Funded Bond Approved

5 Nov

With no discussion, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to allow Southern California Edison to issue $337 million in bonds fully backed by ratepayers early next year. They are to cover the first round of the utility’s recent grid hardening costs. Intervenors who opposed SCE’s initial bond proposal, led by The Wild Tree Foundation, […]

Guest Juice: Energy Crisis 2.0: It’s Time to Use Our Smart Meters

2 Nov

The rolling blackouts, according to the Preliminary Report on Causes of August Rotating Outages, were fundamentally caused by a California Independent System Operator software glitch and community choice agencies, utilities and direct access providers collectively under-scheduling customer demand in the Day-Ahead Market by ~7% to 8% on Aug. 14 and 15. Ordinarily the under-scheduling wouldn’t […]

CPUC Judge Adds Ratepayer Protections to $337M SCE Bond

20 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission pushes back against a controversial proposal by Southern California Edison to put its ratepayers on the hook for $337 million in new debt. The utility plans to raise the money from bondholders to cover its costs of hardening power equipment against fire threats, which will be fully repaid by SCE […]

CPUC Speeds Up Effort to Bring More Power Online

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission vowed Oct. 8 to accelerate its usual process in order to make more energy resources available by next summer. It also promised to modernize planning to reflect extreme heat, particularly as solar and wind supplies decrease with the setting sun.  The commitment was made two days after the California Independent […]

Resurrected Ratepayer-Funded Bonds Lining Up

30 Sep

Updated Oct. 1 Pay attention to Southern California Edison’s request to quickly shift wildfire costs to customers. It plans to do this through a financing mechanism it hasn’t used in 23 years: issuance of less costly bonds paid back fully by ratepayers. Pay attention because a lot more requests for approval of bonds like these […]

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