Utility Dive Quotes Seth Hilton on Need for CPUC to Move Quickly to Anticipate Summer 2021 California Energy Needs

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Energy attorney Seth Hilton was quoted in Utility Dive in an article titled “California summer reliability rules driving utility fossil fuel plans, groups say in challenging CPUC,” published March 15, 2021. The article discusses challenges from several environmental groups to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) February decision directing utilities to procure additional energy capacity in order to prevent a repeat of the rolling blackouts that affected hundreds of thousands of customers during summer 2020.

Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the California Environmental Justice Alliance filed an application asking the commission to reconsider the decision, on the basis that it undermines California’s goals for addressing climate change by allowing new investments in fossil fuel resources. Though regulators said they didn’t expect the utilities’ proposal would lead to long-term gas contracts, the groups pointed out that it included procuring some additional capacity from existing natural gas-fired facilities.

Hilton for his part notes that CPUC is constrained by a tight timeline in getting ready for the summer. “It would be near impossible for the CPUC to go back and change the framework of how it’s procuring resources at this point and have them ready for 2021,” he said.

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