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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 […]

FERC Scrutinizes New Gas Projects’ Climate Pollution Impacts

17 Jun

At its regular meeting this week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved two more orders that affirm its authority to take into account new natural gas projects’ greenhouse gas emissions. A 2017 court ruling said the agency must do so when certifying projects. Commissioner Allison Clements, a proponent of such a climate evaluation, said she […]

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 […]

Final Blackout Study Calls for More Reserves, Warns of Diablo & Pacific Line Risk

14 Jan

Details on the key causes of the mid-August blackouts are out, and consistent with an earlier analysis. They highlight market and planning flaws and a system thin on the cushion of extra power, or resource adequacy, the grid requires. The final analysis also points to an acute concern over two scenarios: a sudden loss of […]

Fed Regulators Make Way for Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Markets

15 Oct

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened the door a crack to allow state carbon pricing into wholesale markets, proposing a set of policy guidelines for grid operators. It was approved on a 2-1 vote cast Oct. 15. The California Independent System Operator has incorporated carbon pricing into its market since 2013, and the new proposal […]

JUICE: Falling Off the Clean Energy Wagon

9 Jun

Updated June 11 Since the start of this century, California has been working to wean the electricity sector off addictive and harmful fossil-fueled generation. A homegrown 12-step recovery program has produced impressive strides. But key players, and Pacific Gas & Electric in particular, are allowed to fall off the wagon. State energy regulators approved June […]

Energy Bills this Session

7 Apr

The unprecedented halt to legislative activities will result in a significant whittling down of the pile of state energy bills awaiting hearings. Bills expected to get priority, whenever the legislature returns to the state capital, include those bolstering grid and utility infrastructure performance during the upcoming wildfire season. That includes measures to make weather-driven utility […]

Federal Car Emission Standards Rollback Gets Pushback

2 Apr

The Trump Administration’s final rule allowing higher emissions from new cars and small trucks suffered a couple of blows this week. A federal appeals court April 1 said it could not justify why the governing federal agencies hid underlying modelling details of the effect of the weaker emissions standards for vehicles with model years 2021-26. […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]

Juice: Can CCAs Build a Resilient Energy System?

5 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy is forcing California energy policymakers to grapple with the future of the energy utility business model. PG&E’s massive $30 billion liability for wildfires has led the California Public Utilities Commission to investigate how the utility might be broken up into smaller units that could avoid electric lines sparking fires and […]

Juice: Centralizing to Decentralize

2 Jul

As community choice aggregation, distributed generation, and interest by companies in making or purchasing their own power rise, California energy officials appear ready to change the state’s electricity market under the banner of “customer choice.” It’s uncertain what the California Public Utilities Commission will recommend in its final analysis outlining how customer choice is changing […]

PG&E Pays $97M Fine for Ex Parte Wrongs

27 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to pay $97.5 million in penalties under a settlement that puts to rest charges of prohibited secret communications between utility officials and state regulators. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the agreement April 26. “We hope PG&E will finally get the message that they have to play by the rules,” […]

The Buzz

9 Mar

A sizable midweek natural gas leak in San Diego shuts down a freeway, a huge mall and requires evacuations. As bad is the accompanying lack of a quick and easy shut off. Hours before, information leaked out that natural gas withdrawals from Aliso Canyon by SoCal Gas were quietly okayed over the weekend, riling a […]

OPINIONATED: A New CPUC Tool to Reduce Ex Parte Exchanges

20 Feb

By Todd Edmister A recent CA Current article described a Feb.7, 2017, CPUC Commissioner informational webinar on “Impacts of Climate Change and Resulting Resiliency Challenges.” Though noticed as addressing “select questions submitted by the public,” the purpose of the meeting was limited to addressing questions from “investor groups,” as Commissioners Picker and Peterman stated in […]

JUICE: A Legislative Energy Agenda

6 Feb

As the Legislature gathers steam in Sacramento, numerous key energy-related issues are ripe for action, from how to deal with over-capacity in the state’s power market to the extent to which electric utilities should be liable for wildfires sparked by their equipment. Energy agencies are attempting to deal with some of the conflicts—for instance, exit […]

Gov. Signs Big CPUC Reform Deal

27 Jun

After being continually pressured by lawmakers to overhaul the California Public Utilities Commission, Gov. Jerry Brown reached an agreement with key Democratic legislators to reform the agency. On June 27, Brown signed an historic deal with Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Sens. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to make the […]

Atomic Board takes up Diablo Canyon Plant Seismic Safety

9 Jul

The legitimacy of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s nuclear power operating license following the discovery of new and longer faults that increase seismic safety risks was argued July 9 before the Atomic Safety Licensing Board. (more…)

Bill Would Spotlight Utility Costs

9 Jul

Pending legislation, AB 825 by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), could help shed light on the big picture cost to ratepayers of utility proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission. (more…)

JUICE: Commission Eyes Wide Shut

9 Jul

For six months, California Public Utilities Commissioners have promised profusely to make transparency and public accessibility a top priority in the wake of revelations of backroom dealings that both rocked the agency and prompted legal probes and reform bills. (more…)

50% Renewable Bill Sails through Senate Panel

9 Jul

The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee backed five energy bills July 7, most notably one to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard from 33 to 50 percent and another to improve transparency at the California Public Utilities Commission. (more…)


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