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Bay resigns from FERC; Calif. utilities face rapid customer exodus


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Bay resigns from FERC; Calif. utilities face rapid customer exodus

FERC's Bay to resign, leaving commission's hands tied

In an announcement that most likely will leave FERC without the quorum needed to vote out orders for some time, Norman Bay on Jan. 26 announced that he will leave the agency on Feb. 3. In a move that was not made public until earlier that same day, Cheryl LaFleur took the agency's gavel from Bay on Jan. 23 after President Donald Trump appointed her acting chair.

Calif. utilities face rapid customer exodus, CPUC president says

California's top energy regulator foresees a narrowing future for centralized utilities. California utilities are rapidly losing energy customers to community choice aggregators, or CCAs, and could soon lose 40% or more of their sales, California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker told fellow commissioners at a recent meeting.

FERC actions will not come to total standstill with just 2 commissioners, freeze

While the departure of former chairman Norman Bay from FERC could leave the agency unable to vote out major orders for some time, the work of FERC staff will continue, including the issuance of letters and delegated orders that can be signed by a FERC staff member. In addition, sources indicate that FERC is looking at ways it can expand the authority it has delegated to staff.

FERC's Bay: Transition team knew I would leave; chair swap got lost in the mail

In an exclusive interview, former FERC Chairman Norman Bay said he told President Donald Trump's transition team that he would probably leave if he was replaced as the commission's leader, and when the news did come that Cheryl LaFleur would take over as acting chair, both learned of the transition two days after the fact because the notice was sent to the wrong address.

Trump plan to use energy royalties for infrastructure 'can be done'

President Donald Trump has pitched using royalties from energy production on federal lands to help fund new infrastructure projects. Lawmakers say the idea could work, but low energy prices and existing guidelines for how royalties are appropriated could limit contributions to infrastructure investment.

Trump's Supreme Court pick has pushed to rein in agency powers

President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court has called for less judicial deference to federal agencies in administrative law matters, potentially limiting the regulatory powers of the U.S. EPA, FERC and other agencies if he is confirmed to the high court.

PJM defends treatment of seasonal capacity resources

The PJM Interconnection hit back against criticisms of proposed changes to its capacity resource requirements in a new filing with FERC. Starting June 1, 2020, all capacity resources in PJM must be able to respond to urgent capacity needs at any time of year in order to participate in the grid operator's base residual auction.

ISO New England: Northeast needs nukes, oil-fired plants for reliability

The head of New England's power grid operator is worried about the lights going out in coming winters following the slated May 2019 shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station if natural gas pipelines are not expanded.

US power industry preps for 'successful' cyberattacks

Digital cyberattacks on the power grid so far have failed to leave America in the dark, but utilities and grid operators are preparing for that day so they can quickly respond, industry experts told a Congressional panel.

'Senatorial temper tantrum': GOP rails against Democrats' boycott of Pruitt vote

Democratic members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee were noticeably absent from a business meeting held Feb. 1 to consider Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's nomination to lead the U.S. EPA.

Executives: Trump's infrastructure orders encouraging, but commitment is key

Executive orders and directives issued by the Trump administration on infrastructure permitting, regulatory reform and other issues are encouraging to energy industry stakeholders, but many see the continued focus on the issues as key to whether the administration will accomplish the intended goals.

Harvard professor blasts Trump '2 for 1' order; libertarians offer praise

An executive order signed Jan. 30 by President Donald Trump requiring the elimination of two regulations for each new regulation enacted "is arbitrary, not implementable, and a terrible idea," according to Harvard Law professor Jody Freeman.

States take sides in challenge to EPA's denial of Clean Power Plan petitions

A new legal challenge against the Clean Power Plan has been brought by a familiar collection of states that have long opposed the rule. This time the states, led by North Dakota, are challenging a last-minute denial of petitions for reconsideration of the rule.

Scientists, environmental groups organize to keep climate science alive

Following a week of mixed messages on energy and climate coming from the Trump administration, environmental groups and scientists are fighting to gain assurance that scientific integrity and climate change data will be safeguarded under the new leadership.

NRC starts review for Waste Control Specialists' nuclear fuel storage project

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has agreed to start reviewing Waste Control Specialists' application to build and operate an interim nuclear waste storage facility in Andrews, Texas. The NRC announced on Jan. 26 that it has docketed the WCS project that seeks to store 5,000 metric tons uranium of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power reactors from across the U.S.