California PUC to Wall Street Journal: You're absurd!


Quick Take: A squabble is underway between the Wall Street Journal and the California Public Utilities Commission.It started when the Journal warned that California was facing rolling blackouts due to its reliance on wind and other renewables. The PUC slapped back with a letter to the editor authored by its President, Michael Peevey. My take: The Journal was correct in its assessment. California's renewables goals are ultra aggressive and they have the potential to cause grave problems. But the Journal was incorrect in assuming that the PUC did not recognize the problem and was not addressing it. -- Jesse Berst

"The main message of your editorial "California's Coming Green-Outs" (March 30) is absurd," Peevey wrote in his letter. "No one with knowledge of California's energy supply is predicting rolling blackouts due to California's clean energy policies." Peevey went so far as to accuse the Journal of pandering, saying: "California is planning for the future in unprecedented ways, and your editorial discounts all the work that is being done so you can come to a conclusion that fits your headline."


Edison International Chairman and CEO Ted Craver chimed in as well, using the argument as an excuse to make a case for nuclear power and to ask for better rate design. "It is crucial that we bring this plant back online before the next summer heat waves if possible," he said, speaking of the San Onofre nuclear plant. He also argued for "a rate design that minimizes unfair cross subsidies between customer groups."


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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.