PG&E Warns of 3rd PSPS Event of the Year for Northern California

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) today issued a press release warning its customers that the third Public Power Safety Shutoff (PSPS) of the year may be called this week, as a result of a forecast of high winds and dry conditions coupled with temperatures reaching the mid 90’s.  PG&E stressed that the most difficult period this week could be Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.  However, PG&E also stated that a second event may materialize on Thursday afternoon and could last through Friday. PSPS events are designed to reduce the threat of wildfires that could be caused by high winds and [...]

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CAISO, CPUC, CEC Issue Preliminary Report on Blackouts

The Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee will be holding an oversight hearing with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and California Energy Commission (CEC) aimed at reviewing a report on the rolling blackouts triggered in August. The Preliminary Root Cause Analysis 121 page report issued by the three energy agencies today offered the following three key findings.

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PG&E Declares PSPS Event Beginning Early Sunday Morning

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced late Saturday that they are declaring a Public Power Safety Shutt-off (PSPS) event beginning early Sunday morning and that they will last until Monday. Delivering the news during a press briefing, the utility said they expected the PSPS to impact nearly 89,000 customers in 16 counties across Northern California. In a statement released after the press conference, PG&E said that "The anticipated scope and timing of this event has changed from earlier announcements, based on updated weather forecasts that showed stronger wind gusts in a larger portion of PG&E’s service area.  PG&E’s in-house meteorologists, [...]

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PG&E Says PSPS Possible for 100K this Weekend Due to Heat and Wind

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has warned late today that a Public Power Safety Shut-Off (PSPS) event is possible for close to 100,000 residents in Northern California this weekend as strong offshore winds are forecast to hit the region starting Sunday morning. According to the PG&E press release, costumers in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Tehama, and Yuba counties could lose power over the weekend. Following legislative and regulatory approval, California utilities were afforded the ability to enact PSPS events if high-risk weather conditions occurred.   While the utilities have been under [...]

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State Water Resources Control Board Unanimously Approves Extension of OTC Facilities

Members of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) voted unanimously extended the deadlines for once through-cooled (OTC) compliance for four natural gas power plants in an effort to maintain grid reliability in the Los Angeles area, a vote that took on extra importance after two nights of rotating blackouts last month.

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Energy Consumption Up During Week 12 of Shelter-in-Place Order

Energy usage continued to be up as compared to last year during week 12 of the shelter-in-place order. A second week of triple digit temperatures led to weekday power demand pushing up nearly 5% compared to the same time last year, according to the California ISO. Natural gas power also spiked during week in order to handle the increase in power demand. Natural gas was up nearly 5,000 mega-watt hours (MWh). In a three-day window, natural gas peaked around 7 p.m. between 16,000 and 19,000 MWh. Meanwhile, all other sources of power were down. Renewables were down for the same [...]

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Commission Says PG&E ‘Making Progress’ but Questions Remain

Testifying at the Senate Energy Committee Oversight Hearing on June 4, California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) staff said that PG&E is improving resiliency ahead of wildfire season, albeit with big unknowns. CPUC Deputy Executive Director Rachel Patterson told the Committee that PG&E is "making progress towards readiness, with some major ifs. The very biggest question will be whether the company can bring all of their lines of effort together into smart and competent execution this year." CPUC staff said that PG&E has already exceeded its target for installed transmission switches, which enable electricity to be remotely rerouted around faulty lines [...]

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Commission Approves Utility Bankruptcy Plan

On May 28, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved PG&E’s bankruptcy exit plan, the penultimate milestone for the company before it can close its Chapter 11 case ahead of the State's June 30 deadline. CPUC framed their unanimous decision as a protection of PG&E customers, wildfire victims, and clean energy goals. However, they also acknowledged the uncertainty that lies ahead as regulators and lawmakers alike prepare for the possibility of a state takeover of PG&E if the company doesn't exit bankruptcy on time or commits certain safety violations. “PG&E has consistently failed to demonstrate that it adequately understands the [...]

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Energy Consumption is Up During Week 11 of Shelter-in-Place Order

Triple-digit temperatures led to a spike in energy usage during week 11 of the shelter-in-place order. While load reductions have generally been down over the last several weeks, this week saw a shift in power usage. According to figures from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the weekday power demand was up nearly 20% compared to the same time last year. Natural gas power also spiked in order to handle the increase in power demand. Natural gas was up more than 5,000 megawatt-hours (MWh). In a three-day window, natural gas peaked around 8 p.m. between 15,000 and 18,000 MWh. Imports [...]

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Feinstein Supports Commission on Resilience Projects

In a letter to California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Marybel Batjer on May 7, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) called on CPUC to continue expedited deployment of electric grid resilience projects across California during preparation for the upcoming wildfire season and the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. 

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Commission ALJ Recommends PG&E Bankruptcy Approval

On April 20, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Peter Allen issued a 117-page document endorsing PG&E’s new governance structure, which includes a regional restructuring that aims to establish more responsive operations after years of catastrophic wildfires and last fall's public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events. Allen’s action is another step toward ensuring PG&E can close its Chapter 11 case by the June 30 deadline mandated by AB 1054. 

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CAISO Reports Power Usage Is Down During Pandemic

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) released a presentation that provides an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders to date. Since the first week of the order, weekday average load reductions are down nearly 4.5% and up to 7% during peak hours. The demand is mainly due to Californians being at home, and office buildings and industrial sites staying closed during the pandemic, as we have reported the last two weeks. 

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After Four Weeks of COVID-19, Overall Demand is Down, Residential Energy Use is Up, and NG is Keeping the Lights On

California is 30 days into the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Office buildings, hotels, retail spaces, and industrial sites are idle, creating a significant impact on California's economy. It is also impacting California's energy demand. 

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Bankruptcy Court Approves PG&E Settlement, Dismisses Last Minute Objections Regarding COVID-19

On April 7, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali rejected an attempt by wildfire victims' attorneys to notify clients that their $13.5 billion settlement with PG&E could be devalued by a stock market impacted by COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Residential Energy Consumption is Up During 3rd Week of Shelter in Place

According to the CPUC, the spikes in weekday energy use will taper off steadily the longer the shelter-in-place edict stays in effect. The CPUC also stated that there have been no threats to reliability for either gas or electricity.

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