A utility consumer watchdog group won a partial victory Monday in its attempt to hold up an ongoing Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) natural gas pipeline and storage rate case until the utility turns over more of the emails it has revealed over the past four weeks showing communications violations with state regulators, some of which were centered on the gas case.
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A second California regulator mixed up in the email communications violations tied to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) has excused himself from a pending review of two regulatory judges’ proposed $1.4 billion in penalties for PG&E’s negligence in a fatal natural gas transmission pipeline rupture and explosion four years ago.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) on Monday told state regulators that more violations were uncovered in the company’s ongoing internal review of past email communications between former PG&E executives and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s San Francisco Office has begun an investigation of the ex parte communications violations.
Mike Florio, one of California’s five top energy regulators, made an unprecedented public apology Thursday for his role in recently divulged private e-mail communications between himself and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) concerning a pending regulatory case (see Daily GPI, Sept. 16).
Research projects to study ways for improving the environmental performance of unconventional natural gas development are being sought by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), a facility of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy.
Decidedly low-tech compared to the real-time electric grid system, natural gas nevertheless is due for a smartness upgrade in its usually mechanically based infrastructure. From increased uses as a transportation fuel to higher-tech approaches to exploration and production (E&P) in the oil/gas patch, the latest natural gas technological push has been boosted by the burgeoning shale gas sector.
A veteran telecommunications attorney and former Federal Communications Commission member who is a strong free market advocate, Rachelle Chong, had her appointment to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) take a detour last Wednesday when a state Senate committee held up deciding whether she will be able to serve out the rest of her term. The head of the state legislative body and also committee chairman, Sen. Don Perata, publicly committed to taking a committee vote Wednesday.
Rachelle Chong, a former Federal Communications Commissioner in the Clinton Administration, was named by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday to the California Public Utilities Commission, replacing Susan Kennedy, who left last month to become the governor’s chief of staff. Chong joins the five-member regulatory commission immediately, although her appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation. She can begin serving for up to a year without confirmation.
Texas Eastern reported Wednesday that wellhead and platform communications were still out for most of the its offshore Cameron System in the West Louisiana zone. As production is being restored and before communication links are reestablished, the pipeline is requiring point operators to notify their operations account manager that their meters are flowing so nominations can be confirmed. Inspection of facilities of the Venice System in the East Louisiana zone was ongoing Wednesday, Texas Eastern said. Meters located upstream of the Larose Compressor Station, including the Main Pass and South Pass systems, are to remain shut in until further notice.
Upper Midwest combination utility NorthWestern Corp. reached an agreement with the creditors committee of its former communications services subsidiary Netexit Inc., formerly Expanets, on a bankruptcy liquidation plan that will provide NorthWestern with an initial payment of $20 million and will set aside another $35.9 million to pay creditors with any remainder going to Northwestern.