The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) took six unanimous actions regarding natural gas and electricity issues Thursday with nary a word of discussion.
In addition to two higher-profile power moves to establish local power procurement obligations starting next year and denying Southern California Edison Co. a chance to seek another 500 MW of new generation, the CPUC also:
All of these items were on the CPUC's consent agenda. One held item on the consent agenda was a request from PG&E and SoCal Edison that the standard contract for renewable energy supplies be modified so more parts of it were negotiable and therefore not "standard," except for what constitutes renewable supplies and how renewable credits are defined. The proposed item on the agenda would have denied most of the utilities' request.
Under their fifth year under the leadership of President Michael Peevey, unanimous votes by the five commissioners have grown increasingly common, and items have migrated from the regular agenda to the consent agenda, which has doubled in length.
Much of the time consent agenda items are approving implementation steps for broader policy decisions the CPUC has made earlier off the regular agenda. For example, Thursday's action on part of the PG&E demand response programs and budgets was a narrow piece of that program in which two consumer advocates had sought intervenor compensation for their roles in helping shape an eventual CPUC decision. In this case, the CPUC denied the requests with its action Thursday.
Similarly, in the SoCalGas-SDG&E transmission integration item, in this case, the regulators denied petitions from both the Sempra utilities and PG&E to modify parts of the past decision opening the natural gas transmission pipeline system in the southern half of the state.
The three utilities wanted to modify the new off-system delivery discussion and process established in the CPUC's SoCalGas transmission system decision last year. El Paso Natural Gas and BHP Billiton filed support for the modifications, but the CPUC disagreed, noting that the proposed changes anticipated liquefied natural gas (LNG) development that now appears to be delayed beyond a May 2008 time frame cited by the utilities.
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