The Energy Overseer
4th Quarter 2005 Greenwire Articles and Archives
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CPUC backs 33-percent renewables portfolio standard
The California Public Utilities Commission endorsed a report yesterday that declares it possible for the state to enact the nation's strongest renewables portfolio standard -- up to 33 percent of utility resources by the year 2020 -- if transmission constraints can be eliminated.
Calif. regulators set stage for $3.2 billion solar initiative
Picking up the pieces of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's failed "Million Solar Roofs" bill, California energy regulators unveiled a plan this week to devote more than $3.2 billion over the next decade to bring as much as 3,000 megawatts of new solar power into operation by 2016.
Calif. community faces loss of primary reservoir
After failing to strike a deal with California officials last week, a small mountain town is facing the loss of its primary reservoir and a possible doubling or tripling of water rates. The Lake Arrowhead Community Services District (LACSD) is awaiting a ruling from two California State Water Resources Control Board hearing officers on whether it will lose access to its primary water source.
Cal Am survives takeover measure, but ownership questions loom
Voters in Monterey County on Tuesday resoundingly defeated Measure W, which would have approved funding to study the potential public takeover of California American Water's local distribution system. However, the future of Cal Am ownership was thrown in doubt last week when officials of German conglomerate RWE Aktiengesellschaft announced plans to divest water utility holdings in the United States and England to concentrate on European energy operations. RWE bought Cal Am's parent company, American Water Works, in January 2003.
Power supplier's pullout leaves Ohio communities in lurch
Green Mountain Energy's decision last week to terminate service to an Ohio power purchasing pool has left nearly a half million customers in scores of communities adrift in a volatile energy market. Green Mountain, which is based in Dallas, Texas, also recently announced it would pull out of the Pennsylvania retail market by year's end, and that it has laid off nearly 50 employees. "They caught us off guard," said Bill Young, a Geauga County commissioner and co-chairman of the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council. "We knew they had financial challenges, but we thought things were improving. This really took us by surprise."
Calif. coastal cities breathe easier, as inland areas wheeze
As the California "smog season" ends, the state's major coastal cities are reporting fewer violations of federal ozone limits, while communities in the eastern deserts have been breathing more dirty air.
Calif. agencies seek appeal of adverse CalFed ruling
California's Bay-Delta Authority voted in closed session yesterday to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the state's attorney general to file an appeal of last week's determination by a state appellate court that the environmental impact report for CalFed was inadequate. A Sacramento appeals court determined last Friday that the environmental review for the establishment of CalFed and its platform of water-supply enhancement projects did not adequately explore such alternatives to the program as reducing or ending exports to Southern California, or diverting supplies from other sources.
As utilities promise rate relief, advocates demand more
With natural gas costs spiraling and electric rates being pulled along for the ride, California's regulated utilities promised greater protections yesterday for low-income customers, seniors and the disabled. Consumer advocate groups, however, urged regulators to freeze rates for all residential and small commercial customers, declare a moratorium on service cutoffs for non-payments and devote utility executive bonuses to paying down any revenue shortfalls experienced by these efforts.
Regulators warn consumers to brace for sticker shock
California's energy regulators warned consumers yesterday to brace themselves for much higher utility bills this winter. "We will have sufficient supplies of natural gas, but it's going to cost much more," the chairman of the California Energy Commission, Joe Desmond, said during a news conference. "Prices will continue to be high through the winter and into next spring." Natural gas is expected to reach $15.3 billion for all California consumers this year.
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