LCG Publishes 2024 Annual Outlook for Texas Electricity Market (ERCOT)

LCG, October 10, 2023 – LCG Consulting (LCG) has released its annual outlook of the ERCOT wholesale electricity market for 2024, based on the most likely weather, market, transmission, and generator conditions.

Read more

LCG Publishes 2024 Annual Outlook for Texas Electricity Market (ERCOT)

LCG, October 10, 2023 – LCG Consulting (LCG) has released its annual outlook of the ERCOT wholesale electricity market for 2024, based on the most likely weather, market, transmission, and generator conditions.

Read more

Industry News

California Capsule: FERC JudgeMay Decide on Refunds Today

LCG, July 6, 2001--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's top administrative law judge said yesterday he might issue his own proposed decision on the resolution of claims by the state of California that it is owed $8.9 billion in refunds from electric power producers it claims overcharged for wholesale power in the state.

Judge Curtis Wagner said his threat of making his own decision "could be a way to speed things along." The two-week-old hearings, held behind closed doors in the nation's capital, have shown little sign of progress. In another move to push participants toward a solution, the judge opened the talks to the public yesterday afternoon.

"I'm optimistic that the settlement is moving forward," said Wagner, who added that a hearing could be held on Monday to discuss his proposed decision for California and other western states. When the negotiations began on June 25, FERC set a July 9 deadline for resolution of the issue.

In addition to California's claim for $8.9 billion, other western states such as Washington and Oregon also believe they were bilked by power producers, bringing the total on the table to around $15 billion, a figure all but officials of the state say is much too high.

When the hearings opened last month, Judge Wagner said he believed California's claim was too high. While no one knows what the judge may recommend today, source who were present in the closed-door hearings say he could order refunds to California and other states in the range of $2 billion to $3 billion.

California's claim that it was cheated out of nearly $9 billion does not make it a fact, even though Gov. Gray Davis and other state officials make the allegation as though it were. Dozens of investigations by regulators, the California legislature and the attorney general's office have failed to turn up evidence that any of the power producers have violated the law.

Moreover, much of the money the state says it is owed has not yet left its pockets because many of the energy companies' bills have not yet been paid. The companies acknowledge that the bills are higher than they ought to be but say they added on a surcharge to cover the added risk of doing business in California. They would drop the surcharge if they got paid, some have said.

In addition, during much of the period for which refunds are sought all power sales were transacted through the now-defunct California Power Exchange. Under rules established by the state legislature, the clearing price for transactions was the highest price bid during a given period.

That is like driving into a gas station where the posted price was $1.75 a gallon, filling your tank, and being charged $2.50 a gallon because another service station in town was getting that price.

Circuitry Frees Rural Towns from Blackouts
Large parts of Northern California in the Central Valley and the Sierra foothills won't have the worry of electric power blackouts this summer because of the way transmission lines are laid out, the Sacramento Bee reported this morning.

Placerville in the Mother Lode is one of many rural towns spared, as is Isleton in the Sacramento River delta. Scores of communities are served are served by so few circuits that each one has been exempted from outages because a critical facility, such as a fire station or a water treatment plant, lies along the circuit somewhere, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman John Nelson said.

Under an order by Gov. Davis requiring utilities to let people know where blackouts will strike next, PG&E and other companies have begun posting outage maps on the Internet.

"We were contemplating putting the map on the Web before the governor's order, but the timingcoincided very well," said John DiStasio, assistant general manager for customer service with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. PG&E's maps have recently been updated to be searchable by zip code.

PG&E's maps show that the vast majority of El Dorado and Placer counties and much of Yolo County are in PG&E's "block 50," a designation for a circuit that won't be in line for rolling outages because someone along it is crucial to health or safety.

Those counties include the cities of Davis, Auburn, Grass Valley, Roseville and other mid-size cities.

"In rural areas, particularly remote rural areas, a circuit can go on for miles and miles," Nelsonsaid. "You can have multiple communities on one circuit (and) virtually every community haseither a police station or a fire station or a hospital or a drinking water facility."

"We didn't ask to be exempted out, but I feel very happy that we are," said Placerville City Manager John Driscoll. "From a selfish standpoint, it feels very nice."

Attorney General Asks SEC to Investigate PG&E
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer yesterday asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether PG&E illegally transferred funds to its parent holding company, PG&E Corp., in anticipation of filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy law.

"Pacific Gas & Electric Co. upstreamed billions of dollars to its holding company before filing for bankruptcy," Lockyer said in a press release.

Under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, the SEC can review stock and security transactions, inter-affiliate loans and issuance of securities by holding companies and utilities, the Associated Press noted. The SEC has not reviewed the holdings of PG&E Corp. because the corporation says it is an intrastate entity.

Lockyer says PG&E Corp. has assets worth $13 billion outside California, making it an interstate corporation and eligible for SEC review.

PG&E Corp. spokesman Greg Pruett said "We continue to believe that we are appropriately exempted from PUCHA, and if we had the chance to sit down the attorney's general staff, we're confident we could have reached that conclusion with them."

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