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SCE May Have Sparked Orange County Blaze

27 Oct

Updated Oct. 28 During the most dangerous fire conditions to hit much of the state this year, Southern California Edison has revealed its equipment could have started the Silverado Fire in Orange County early Monday morning. The fire spread to more than 13,500 acres by early Wednesday, Oct. 28. The utility’s Oct. 26 incident report […]

Energy Commission Funds Push for Clean Backup Generation

27 Oct

Repeated wildfires and power shutoffs are driving sales of backup generators at homes, businesses, hospitals, and community centers across northern California. Diesel generators are flying off the shelves. But the desperation also is strengthening the push for clean systems that can island from the grid, also store power, and potentially hasten the commercialization of more […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

26 Oct

In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries. There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate […]

The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

CPUC Lets PG&E Recover $447M From Ratepayers for Wildfires

22 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to pass on $447 million of its various wildfire mitigation costs to ratepayers without undergoing a reasonableness review. PG&E will raise residential rates over 17 months, starting this December, by an average $48. CPUC President Marybel Batjer insisted the approval “will […]

No Enforcement Yet Against Solar Swindlers

22 Oct

A proposed penalty program aimed at predatory solar contractors and shoddy solar installations, particularly in poor communities with members who have no or little ability to communicate in English, was nearly shot down on a 3-2 vote by the California Public Utilities Commission. Commissioner Guzman Aceves who proposed the punishments was visibly upset by the […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

The Buzz

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric seeks a couple of billion dollars more from ratepayer pocketbooks for utility-sparked wildfires in 2017 and 2018. It also asks state regulators for the green light to put its long-time headquarters in San Francisco up for sale. It says it will give the gain to customers. In other news, the grid […]

CPUC, not SCE, Calls Shots on Ratepayer Bonds, Lawmaker Says

1 Oct

Southern California Edison is threatening to use pricier financing to recoup $337 million in wildfire costs if the California Public Utilities Commission doesn’t okay its controversial plan to issue bonds fully secured by ratepayers. SCE says it will recover the costs “through traditional utility financing, which will cost customers more,” in an opening brief filed […]

The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

New Bonds Put Ratepayers 100% on the Hook, and the Tab?

23 Sep

Consumer advocates are warning that a test case before the California Public Utilities Commission will set a grave precedent for Californians if regulators give it the okay. At issue is how much private utilities get to charge ratepayers for bonds they issue to cover their wildfire costs, including protecting against blazes. Southern California Edison plans […]

The Buzz

11 Sep

Northern San Diegans vigorously protest San Diego’s plan to upgrade and extend a big power line from San Marcos to Escondido. After listening to concerns about fire and financial dangers, as well as visual blight, the California Public Utilities Commission pulls the item from this week’s business meeting. In other news, the utility regulators learn […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

The Buzz

14 Aug

Triple digit temperatures across much of the state starting today will significantly drive up peak demand. The grid operator calls on customers to conserve energy the afternoon and evening of Aug. 14 to avoid overtaxing the grid because of a surge in air conditioning. Some warn that demand response is largely being left out of […]

Officials Demand PG&E Limit Shutoffs, Protect the Vulnerable

14 Aug

After Pacific Gas & Electric’s damaging shutoffs last fall, state officials demanded Aug. 13 that it immediately work with county health officials to ensure the most physically vulnerable residents have essential power. State officials applied a much heavier hand to PG&E than to the two private southern California utilities. Earlier this week, representatives from Southern […]

Officials Grill So. CA Utility Execs Over Wildfire Preparation

11 Aug

California investor-owned utilities pledged to reduce the extent and duration of their power shutoffs this year. They also assured regulators this week that they’ve taken steps to thwart the spread of Covid-19 at community centers during fires and outages, and to protect medically vulnerable customers. Utility regulators and fire and emergency response agencies grilled utility […]

The Buzz

16 Jul

PG&E sparked last fall’s Kincaid wildfire, CalFire reveals. State regulators launch a cutting edge framework for figuring how big a hit combined utility bills are for low income ratepayers. The scrutinized tab will include electricity, gas, telecommunication and water bills. More than two years after the near-devastating crumbling of the Oroville dam spillway, federal energy […]

PG&E Sparked Last Fall’s Kincaid Fire, CalFire Finds

16 Jul

Following an investigation, Cal-Fire concluded July 16 that Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for starting the Kincaid Fire near Geyserville, in Sonoma County, last October. The fire began Oct. 23 and burned until Nov. 6, destroying 374 structures and scorching nearly 78,000 acres. The announcement comes less than a month after PG&E emerged from […]

A 21st Century Distribution System Will Provide Economic Recovery

15 Jul

In response to the Covid-19 economic downturn, energy sector stakeholders are calling for a national transmission system and grid modernization but California should take a state-centric approach. “Local level economic recovery can come from distribution system modernization,” V. John White, Center for energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director, told Current. The benefit of investments […]

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