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PG&E works on a power line destroyed by a fire in Santa Rosa, CA. Image: Jim Urquhart/Reuters
On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that would change the way the state pays for fire damages caused by utilities. As Reuters explained, Credit rating agency, S&P previously warned it could lower its ratings on the state’s two other major investor-owned power providers, Edison International’s Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric, absent “concrete actions” by policymakers to reduce credit risks posed by wildfires to the state’s utilities.
To gain access to this insurance plan, utility companies must first pay to get in – $7.5 billion for large investor own utilities and less than that for regional electric companies – while also investing $5 billion in safety upgrades and participating in a new annual safety certification process.
What This Means for PG&E: Reuters explained that, “San Francisco-based PG&E will need to pay the most among power providers to support the fund. To access the fund, PG&E will have to submit or have a bankruptcy reorganization plan approved by the end of June 2020 and will need to compensate victims of wildfires in 2017 and 2018 caused by its equipment.” You might recall the utility’s involvement in two of the deadliest wildfires, along with the ensuing legal battle.
Why This Matters: Many utility customers see this as a way of them footing the bill for reckless behavior on the part of PG&E despite the fact that this isn’t a bailout as the state won’t take over the company’s power lines and directly pay the company money for its assets. They worry that they are paying for a solution for PG&E and critics of the bill say that it doesn’t do enough to prevent wildfire prevention. However, CA Governor Gavin Newson assures that more legislative solutions for wildfires are coming in the very near future. Either way, this underscores the impact that climate change will have on our legal and political systems going forward and that we’re going to have to rethink how a lot of them function in an effort to limit wildfire damage and deal with reality.
Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will phase out sales of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. As Governor Newsom said in a separate event with Democratic governors yesterday, people have climate “goal fatigue” and are ready for the application of those goals–this move on gas-powered cars walks the walk on California’s ambitious […]
H/T to renews.biz, an energy news platform, for that headline, and to PepsiCo for making it possible. PepsiCo, one of the largest companies in the world — with a global carbon footprint — announced plans this week to transition to 100% renewable electricity across all of its company-owned and controlled operations globally by 2030 and […]
Why This Matters: Methane leaks are dangerous — they have led to reports of tap water catching fire, toxic groundwater, and fatal explosions, all of which have been motivators for the federal government to track and seal these wells.
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