On February 9, 2015, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) brought forward a proposal to install more than 25,000 EV charging stations within their territory. Readily embraced by environmentalists, the project faced opposition from ratepayers (questioning the value of this investment) and other electric service providers (who did not relish direct competition from a utility). Last October PGE reached a settlement with ten interested parties that reduced the project to almost a third of its’original size. Pointing out that “No proposal is supported by all parties, and no party supports all of the proposals made,”1 a California Utilities Comission (CPUC) judge brought forward a new proposed decision of his own. Only according to Tom Ashley, Greenlots’ head of government relations, the proposed terms for what is still the largest EV Charging program in North America “could have a chilling effect on utility investment in EV infrastructure.”
It has been two years since AB 327 brought the last conflict between California’s rooftop solar industry and the state utilities to an end. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was left to decide whether the utilities could impose demand charges, grid access charges, installed capacity fees, standby fees, or fees. A proposed ruling was made today. The CPUC rejected net metering rate increases.
The battle for Carlsbad’s power is not over. San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) proposal to replace the now retired San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) with a $2.6 billion peaker plant is not popular in San Diego County. The City of Carlsbad tried to stop the developer, NRG Energy, from obtaining a license. According to Bill Powers, an electrical engineer and board member with a member of the Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC), “Solar installations on rooftops and parking lots are booming in San Diego and this solar serves the same need with no climate impacts.” A California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) administrative law judge, Halie Yacknin, recommended the commission wait until they had an opposing bid from the clean tech sector. The CPUC approved the project anyway, in a 4-1 vote on May 21. The POC, Sierra Club California and California Environmental Justice Alliance are all expected to file an administrative application for a rehearing.
The lives of more than 8 million Californians may have been put at risk, when the steam generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) malfunctioned. The subsequent California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) investigation failed to probe into the extent to which Southern California Edison (SCE) was responsible for the facilities “design errors.” Now the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce is calling on the CPUC to investigate the SONGS settlement.