Wildfires Are Ravaging California. Can Electric Utilities Take the Heat?
In recent years, California has experienced its largest and deadliest wildfires in history, resulting in hundreds of fatalities and more than $50 billion in damage. The confluence of rising temperatures, less rainfall, and strong winds signal that the annual “wildfire season” is here to stay, and will continue to proliferate. Every year, thousands of Californians …CONTINUE READING
Uncertainty is the New Normal
The novel coronavirus’s impact on our energy system is (understandably) not top of mind for most people right now. But the pandemic and its economic fallout have important implications for some of the most pressing energy issues today including the green transition, energy justice, and even the fate of bankrupt investor-owned utility PG&E in Northern …CONTINUE READING
Questioning the continued existence of California’s largest energy utility
What can we do to ensure the safety of the massive electric and natural gas delivery systems that we rely on every day? Eight years after the horrific explosion and fire stemming from one of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) natural gas pipelines in San Bruno, California, the state’s legislators and utility regulators …CONTINUE READING
It turns out, electric transmission is not as cheap as we thought it was.
Economists detest externalities – those nasty hidden costs that businesses don’t face when they sell polluting or dangerous products and services, but that are instead imposed on the public or the environment. And economists are right to be concerned. A polluter that does not pay the cost for its pollution is likely to keep polluting. …CONTINUE READING
A landmark agreement supports the closure of a controversial nuclear plant.
Today’s announcement that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) has reached an agreement with several environmental and labor groups to plan for the eventual shutdown of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant is a stunning development, when viewed in an historical perspective. PG&E has agreed not to seek new licenses for its power plant that …CONTINUE READING
With California’s AB 2145, legislators try to keep cities and counties from buying green power.
It is well-understood that people don’t change easily. I hold myself out as Exhibit A. When I signed up for landline phone and internet service, the phone charge was $35 per month, and the internet another $30. Over the years, although the phone company never announced a rate increase, I experienced rate creep. What once …CONTINUE READING
When regulators approve rates for a utility such as Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), they are making their best guess as to how much money the company will need to cover various kinds of activities. The utility starts out the process by offering its position on how much it will need for things like …CONTINUE READING
Do you remember the horrific Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California, that killed eight people and burned down dozens of homes? Two years later, there are still several proceedings pending before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to figure out who should bear costs resulting from the …CONTINUE READING
In a recent commentary, I suggested that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s new Green Option, pursuant to which consumers can subscribe to 100% renewable electricity, would not result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. That is because under California’s cap and trade program, the utility can sell any unneeded carbon allowance for someone else to …CONTINUE READING
California’s largest electric utility, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), has proposed to offer a Green Option Program through which individual customers could choose to pay a little extra for power that is 100% renewable. In a move clearly designed to discourage local governments from starting their own green power programs, PG&E displays endorsement …CONTINUE READING