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Virginia Governor Signs Executive Order to Drive Renewable Energy Installations

LCG, September 18, 2019--The Governor of Virginia signed an Executive Order 43 yesterday setting statewide goals for clean energy deployment and expands upon the Commonwealth's commitments to reduce the environmental impact, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and boost the clean energy economy in Virginia.

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Los Angeles Moves A Step Closer to Approving Huge Solar with Battery Storage Installation

LCG, September 12, 2019--The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a plan on September 10 to install a 300-MW/1,200-MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) located at 8minute Solar Energy's (8mSE) Eland Solar and Storage Center.

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Industry News

Regulators Asked to Block Nicor Gas Choice

LCG, Sept. 19, 2000--The Citizens Utility Board yesterday asked Illinois state regulators to investigate a natural gas deregulation program underway at Nicor Inc. and to prevent the company from expanding the program until it can prove the plan benefits consumers.

Under the program, which Nicor began in 1998 and calls "Customer Select," 260,000 natural gas customers in 16 Illinois cities and towns have been allowed to switch to new suppliers for their gas. The company now wants to expand the program to all of its 1.9 million customers.

In a petition filed yesterday with the Illinois Commerce Commission, CUB said there are too many problems with the plan as it is to warrant its expansion. The advocacy group pointed to problems consumers are said to be having with the program and asked that the regulators investigate them. The biggest problem, according to CUB, is confusion about the alternative suppliers and their prices.

CUB says one company offered gas at 29.5 cents per therm on a three-year contract but, now that gas prices have risen, is charging its customers market rates. "So sue me," seems to be the company's attitude, but individual residential customers do not have that option and, because of the small sums involved, no trial lawyers have emerged to make the contract abrogation a speculative class action case.

CUB is also concerned about Nicor Energy, the unregulated marketing affiliate of the utility. It seems that Nicor Energy offered customers who switched a "lock-in rate" of 26.5 cents per therm, but when gas prices started to rise it turned out the company had a skeleton key to the lock it was in the fine print.

CUB wants the ICC to block the expansion of the program until the agency reviews these problemsand sets clear rules for how the alternative companies can market their rates and service. CUB alsowants Nicor Energy to be prohibited from misleading customers into thinking it is the same companyas Nicor Gas.

" Competition isn't supposed to be about misleading people into making the wrong choice, but that's exactly what's happening here," said Martin Cohen, executive director of the group.

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