The year 2020 has been a rough one for many, so NewsData is spreading some holiday cheer with this year's batch of energy-related holiday carols. NewsData will be closed the week of Dec. 28 through Jan. 1, and we will resume our usual publishing schedule the week of Jan. 4. Happy holidays to all!

Elliot Mainzer has a laundry list of challenges ahead of him as he takes the helm of the California Independent System Operator, most notably reforming a resource-adequacy program that has run off the rails a bit in the state, as well as improving the ISO's relationship with state agencies.

Similar to the California energy crisis of the early 2000s, the pricing fallout from the blackouts of August has landed at the door of federal energy regulators, and there is potential that tens of millions of dollars in transactions will be unwound and buyers refunded.

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As an energy journalist in 2020, I had to give some serious thought to the energy-related thing I would express thanks for this year (knowing that a decision to be thankful for propane would be a bit risky in today's politicized energy environment). Would I be attacked on social media for be…

Those that are undertaking a forensic examination of California's mid-August rolling blackouts are putting their heads together on solutions, seeking to avoid similar problems across the West. Aside from their observations as experts, some are also learning the realities of living through bl…

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You won't hear terms like "planning reserve margin," "FRACMOO" or "peak load forecast" very much in the public discussion regarding the much-studied California blackouts in mid-August. That's because they dwell among the sometimes-obscure arcana of energy market planning, economics and opera…

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It didn't take long for California's state-mandated vegetation-management program for electric utilities to run up against local opposition, with one of the first clashes occurring in the Northern California burg of Nevada City.

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Outgoing California Independent System Operator CEO Steve Berberich employed a ship metaphor as he discussed handing over the helm of the organization to Elliot Mainzer, who has headed the Bonneville Power Administration for the past seven years. Mainzer in a matter of days will take over at…

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California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1371 nearly six years ago, directing the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Air Resources Board to work together to further the dual goals of minimizing safety hazards associated with gas pipeline leaks and reducing pipeline greenh…

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The battle between the California Public Utilities Commission and its recently fired executive director, Alice Stebbins, got even more explosive this week, as Stebbins is filing a whistleblower complaint alleging she was retaliated against for exposing uncollected fees and other mismanagemen…

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Like many other California energy stories in the past several years, the rolling blackouts called by the California Independent System Operator on Aug. 14 and 15 produced a swell of public reaction, with some observers saying the state has finally hit the reliability wall with its renewable-…

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In December 2019, California Independent System Operator CEO Steve Berberich delivered the ISO Board of Governors a message—the CAISO grid was in danger of short supply during the evening ramp in coming months because of insufficient resources as massive amounts of solar came off the grid. T…

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In 1957, Dwight Eisenhower was president, the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 1 satellite, the New York Giants baseball team was getting ready to relocate to San Francisco, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly were topping the music charts—and Southern California Gas Co. installed Line 235 West t…

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Democratic Party candidate for president Joe Biden's climate action plan released this week drew a huge amount of attention, as the man facing off against President Donald Trump in the November election laid out a $2-trillion spending proposal over four years that would radically change Amer…

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn have heightened interest from federal and state regulators in the financial health of power system entities and led to attempts by some companies to seek regulatory relief in order to be made whole from pandemic-related costs.

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Not all participants in PG&E's reorganization process are happy with the final result and the way the proceeding unfolded. A prominent advocate for wildfire victims who was active in the case says the reorganization process gives preference to the short-term financial interests of utilit…

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The chilling and horrific accounts of deaths from the Camp Fire in Butte County recounted in court this week drove home the point that preventing such a horrible tragedy from occurring ever again should be a priority for anybody involved with utility system planning, operation and regulation…

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The board of Riverside Public Utilities this week approved an audit of about 10 years of contracts authorized through the Southern California Public Power Authority, an investigation one former RPU employee says could bring to light long-running misappropriation of funds and other irregulari…

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The reorganization plan of Pacific Gas & Electric, set to be approved in a few weeks, is a highly complex affair, including multiple funds, funding sources and beneficiaries that are being hashed out in a massive case with many moving parts and billions of dollars at stake. This edition …

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Around 100 years ago, electricity service for residents and businesses was plentiful in many North American cities and towns, but less so in rural areas. To introduce rural Americans to the newfangled idea of pumping electrons into their houses through a system of suspended wires and poles—w…

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A strong and irritating stench near the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field earlier this month has once again pitted local residents against Southern California Gas Co., which says there were no leaks from its facility. But Porter Ranch residents are convinced that the irritating odor is …

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Michael Moore's new documentary on the renewable-energy industry, "Planet of the Humans," is a skillful and passionate work of film that raises tough questions about the renewables industry, but eventually drifts into a wider anti-capitalist and neo-Malthusian message that humans are a scour…

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The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly transformed global society, and the California energy industry is no exception. The electric grid's status as the backbone of modern life has kept business humming along, although maybe not "as usual."

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As California moves toward a 100-percent clean power supply, the rapid growth of wind and solar power has many people wondering how a modern, 24-7 society will still have reliable power. After all, wind and solar are only available when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. 

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After decades in the slow lane, California's automobile manufacturing market is accelerating with the advent of the electric vehicle, but EV implementation is not without twists and turns as the California Public Utilities Commission lays out plans for how billions of dollars will be investe…

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California's retail electricity rates are high. However, some argue it's not about rates but the bills that electricity customers pay, and the Golden State isn't doing so bad in that department. Coloring the conversation is the fact that energy-efficiency measures, weather, usage and income …

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State leaders must fundamentally restructure the way California sets prices for retail electricity if they don't want rates to continue to skyrocket—that was the consensus of an expert panel at a state Assembly hearing Feb. 19 that raised the alarm about rates in the future.

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One of two office spaces of MCE Community Choice Energy, more than a decade after it was the first community choice aggregator to be formed, is nestled into downtown San Rafael, a city of about 60,000 residents in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. A visit to the office by C…