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Fallout from PG&E's power shutoff continues; outages could stress pipelines

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Fallout from PG&E's proactive wildfire prevention power shutoff continues

Days after the electricity throughout its service territory came back on, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. continued to take criticism for implementing widespread proactive wildfire prevention power shutoffs on Oct. 9-12 as regulators and legislators called for investigations, a consumer advocacy group urged customers to file damage claims, and at least one mayor sought to have his city cut its electric service ties with the company.

As Gulf Coast LNG terminals increase draw on gas, outages could stress pipelines

Natural gas market participants who see rising liquefied natural gas exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast as a crucial outlet for the nation's shale gas have speculated about a possible complication: If a couple of LNG plants unexpectedly go out of service at the same time, it could leave a lot of gas with nowhere to go.

New report shows potential health impacts of Colo. oil, gas production

A new report from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment indicates that byproducts of oil and gas development could have negative health effects on people up to 2,000 feet away.

Green groups seek judgment for unpaid donation related to coal mine permit

Several environmental groups are appealing to a federal court to seek payment from mine owners ERP Environmental Fund Inc. and the VCLF Land Trust Inc. for an award mandated by the court earlier this year.


"We are transforming everything we do to build a more sustainable future for our customers, our communities and our company," Dominion Energy Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said as the company agreed to supply the commonwealth of Virginia with 420 MW from wind and solar resources. "So, governor, we accept your clean-energy challenge and look forward to many more announcements like this."


* President Donald Trump said Oct. 18 that he is nominating Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to lead the agency after Secretary of Energy Rick Perry resigns later in 2019.

* PG&E Corp. CEO Bill Johnson told California regulators that the state could expect preemptive power cuts for another 10 years, The Wall Street Journal reported. Johnson said the utility is working to reduce the breadth of its precautionary blackouts. "I think they'll decrease in size and scope every year," Johnson was quoted as saying.

* Lawyers are concerned that as many as 70,000 California wildfire victims may miss the deadline for filing claims against PG&E Corp. and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Oct. 21 and miss out payments on damages, according to The Associated Press.

* Residents of Pueblo, Colo., could see retail electric rate savings of between 10% and 14% if the city were to take over Black Hills Energy assets and form a municipal utility, according to a new feasibility report commissioned by the city.

* The U.S. Department of Energy told Democratic lawmakers that outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry will not comply with subpoena in impeachment inquiry, The Hill in Washington, D.C., reported.

* Renewable power capacity is expected to expand by 50% between 2019 and 2024, led by solar photovoltaic, according to the International Energy Agency.

Natural gas

* Dominion Energy Inc. agreed to transfer a 25% noncontrolling equity interest in Cove Point to an infrastructure fund managed by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. for cash consideration of just over $2 billion, excluding working capital.

* The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 17 voted 2-1 to advance two more natural gas pipeline projects: a 500 MMcf/d project adding southbound capacity from the Permian Basin, and a 296 MMcf/d project boosting deliveries to the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast.

* Gas distributors in Vermont agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged price fixing, the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reported.

* FERC on Oct. 17 declined to pursue probes into the natural gas transportation rates of Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America LLC and Wyoming Interstate Co. LLC.

* EP Energy Corp. entered into agreements with its key creditors, which provide for a substantial reduction of its existing funded debt by approximately $3.3 billion, among others.

* Piedmont Natural Gas is seeking approval from regulators to decrease natural gas costs for customers in North Carolina and South Carolina.


* Oilfield services major Schlumberger Ltd. is taking a hard look at its North American land market operations as the region once again dragged down earnings in the third quarter.

* The Army Corps of Engineers wants a judge to rule that the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline does not need more environmental study, The Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune reported.

* The Carlyle Group LP will not take part in developing a $1 billion crude oil export terminal near Corpus Christi, Texas, after it exited its position in Lone Star Ports LLC.

* State-owned Petroecuador has resumed crude exports after it was forced to declare a force majeure due to protests, according to Reuters.


* Kansas City Southern saw single-digit decreases in revenue from its coal businesses during the third quarter, compared to the year-ago period.

* Kentucky Power Co. is asking regulators to extend a program that gives Kentucky Power some flexibility in three of its tariffs to offer special contracts with coal companies and coal processing businesses.


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M&A activity was moderate year over year for the U.S. electric, multi-utility and independent power producers sectors in the third quarter of 2019. Asset deal volume more than halved compared to the year-ago quarter, but increased in aggregate transaction value from $3.30 billion to $3.77 billion. Four company deals were also announced during the period.

New from RRA

* The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued an interim decision establishing a framework for achieving an "equitable modern grid."

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. equity markets. To view more SNL equity market indexes, click here. To view more SNL Energy commodities prices, click here.

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