week of Jul. 29, 2019

The EnerKnol Pulse returns for another busy week filled with energy policy events. Coming up, PG&E, under scrutiny following devastating wildfires, seeks to bump rates for prevention measures; EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard proposal draws fire from producers; Washington regulators scramble to implement clean energy goals. All of this and more discovered with the power of the EnerKnol Platform.

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Arizona CC

California PUC

EIA

EPA

Massachusetts DPU

Michigan PSC

Minnesota PUC

New York PSC

Washington PUC

Federal Agencies

Monday,
July 29
EIA Monthly Energy Report

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will issue its Monthly Energy Review, providing data on energy production, consumption, prices and trade. Last year, 89 utilities, representing nearly half of all major U.S. electric utilities, filed rate cases with state regulatory commissions, the largest number since 1983. The aggregated value of utility-rate hike requests in 2018 was $6.8 billion, and regulators approved a total increase of $2.8 billion. Approved rate hikes were driven by spending in transmission and delivery, rather than generation, the agency said. Previous Report

Wednesday,
July 31
EPA Renewable Fuel Standard Program Hearing

The Environmental Protection Agency will debate the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, including standards for 2020 and biomass-based diesel volume for 2021. On July 5, the agency proposed setting a blending volume of 20.04 billion gallons for 2020 under the standard, up from the current level of 19.92 billion gallons. The proposal would keep the target for conventional biofuel, mainly corn-based ethanol, at 15 billion gallons. However, the proposal drew criticism for failing to address small refinery exemptions that hurt biofuel demand. The program, established in 2007, directs the agency to set annually increasing blending mandates for renewable fuel use in the transportation sector to reach 36 billion gallons by 2022. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0136

Eastern Region

Wednesday,
July 31
MA DPU Customer Protection in Retail Markets Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities will host a meeting of the Energy Switch working group to discuss measures that promote and protect consumer interests in the retail electric competitive supply market. The study, which started in January, will examine ways to increase customer awareness, improve the department’s ability to investigate dubious practices by suppliers and other means that would improve the operational efficiency of the market. About half a million residents in the state receive their electricity from a competitive supplier. READ MORE

Wednesday,
July 31
NY PSC National Grid Natural Gas Rate Case Hearing

The New York State Public Service Commission will receive public input on a request by two National Grid subsidiaries to bump their natural gas rates. In April, Brooklyn Union Gas Company proposed an annual gas delivery revenue increase of about 20 percent or $237 million and KeySpan Gas East Corp. sought a $50 million increase to gas delivery revenues, a 6 percent hike. 19-G-0309

Western Region

Tuesday,
July 30
WA PUC Energy Legislation Implementation Workshop

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission will host a workshop on the implementation processes for energy legislation passed during the 2019 legislature. Washington legislators passed a sweeping energy policy agenda including a bill for the state’s electricity supply to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free by 2045 and legislation setting forth requirements that Washington’s electric utilities must accomplish in their distributed energy resources planning processes. U-190485

Tuesday,
July 30
AZ CC Draft Energy Rules Hearing

The Arizona Corporation Commission will discuss the second revised draft of possible modifications to the agency’s energy rules. The draft sets a renewable energy goal of 45 percent by 2035, with a clean peak target of 20 percent. The proposal would require electric utilities to offer performance-based incentives for storage systems with specific caps. RU-00000A-18-0284

Wednesday,
July 31
CA PUC PG&E Rate Case Hearing

The California Public Utilities Commission will continue its debate of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s request to bump rates to meet precautionary measures to reduce wildfire risks. The proposed hike for 2020 would translate to a bill impact of 6.4 percent or $10.57 per month for PG&E’s typical residential electric and gas customer. The utility noted the financial and regulatory uncertainty it is facing, having recorded wildfire-related liabilities totaling $14 billion in 2018. The potential liability for the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires, estimated to exceed $30 billion, prompted PG&E in January to file for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code. A1812009

Wednesday,
July 31
MN PUC Utility Electric Transportation Plans Deadline

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to receive comments on plans submitted by state utilities on EV-related initiatives over the next two years, including next steps as specific programs to scale up EV pilots or tariffs. The regulator is looking for proposals that facilitate availability and awareness of public charging infrastructure and residential charging options, educate customers on the benefits of EVs and assist in the electrification of vehicle fleets. CI-17-879

Wednesday,
July 31
MI PSC DTE Electric Rate Case Hearing

The Michigan Public Service Commission will discuss DTE Electric Company’s application for an annual revenue bump of approximately $351 million, effective in May 2020. The company also proposes a capital structure of approximately 50 percent equity and 50 percent long-term debt and return on equity of 10.5 percent with an overall rate of return of 5.73 percent after tax. U-20561

Thursday,
August 1
MI PSC DTE Electric Renewable Energy Plan Deadline

The Michigan Public Service Commission is due to receive confirmation from DTE Electric Company that it accepts the changes made to is renewable energy plan. The regulator approved part of the plan on July 18 which includes the purchase of about 455 megawatts of wind power that will qualify for the full federal tax credit. However, the agency found that DTE failed to show that projects to be built in 2021 or later, and which do not qualify for the credit, are cost-effective. A decision on the additional projects will be made in the company’s integrated resource plan proceeding. U-18232

Thursday,
August 1
MN PUC NextEra 200MW Wind Farm Deadline

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to receive comments on the draft environmental impact statement for Dodge County Wind LLC’s 200 megawatt wind project in southeastern Minnesota. The project consists of 70 planned wind turbines, a 23 mile transmission line and a new electric substation. Dodge County Wind is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. CN-17-306

Friday,
August 2
CA PUC PG&E Reorganization Proposals

The California Public Utilities Commission is taking reply comments on an overhaul of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s safety culture amid media reports revealing that the bankrupt utility had long known of possible ties of its power equipment to devastating wildfires. Among the measures under consideration are to break up its businesses and sell off its assets, set periodic reviews, and link its profits to safety performance metrics. PG&E filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code to deal with billions of dollars in potential liability associated with the devastating 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires. 15-08-019

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