Tag Archives: PG&E

Corruption also takes all the fun out of Democracy

27 Nov

Here’s another article regarding legislation shielding PG&E from liability when they cause a wildfire:

https://calmatters.org/articles/newsletters/wm-11-26-2018/

After reading about PG&E’s blatant tampering with the legislature, I had to write a letter to the editor. 

While it has not been proven PG&E caused the Camp Fire, victims are rushing forward to sue the utility giant for the loss of their homes. Meanwhile, a Southern California Legislator seeks legislation that would “help PG&E Corp absorb liabilities from this year’s fatal wildfires in California…”

Assemblyman Chris Holden (Pasadena)  also carried legislation in 2017 that allowed PG&E to sell bonds, backed by ratepayers, to cover their liabilities in the Santa Rosa and other deadly fires. That’s what I would call a “double burn.”

According to Insurance Journal, “Holden’s bill may serve as a framework for lawmakers to consider relief for PG&E from the billions of dollars it faces in potential liability for death and property damage in Northern California’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history.”

Holden “is concerned about the instability of the utility and the adverse effect it could have on ratepayers…” More likely he is concerned about the effect it is already having on PG&E shareholders – PG&E shares “plunged by more than half since the Camp Fire broke out…” 

Holden’s 2017 campaign reports show $8800 from PG&E, another $8800 from Edison. Cal Matters reports PG&E spent $6.28 million lobbying the governor, legislators and the California Public Utilities Commission, just in the third quarter of 2018. 

Holden’s new bill will come up in early 2019, needing a 2/3’s majority to pass. Contact your state legislators and tell them, this bill would rip the victims off twice. If PG&E caused these fires, their shareholders need to feel the heat.

 

 

 

 

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Assemblyman to introduce legislation to let PG&E off the hook for the Camp Fire – they’ve already been allowed to pass the Santa Rosa fires off onto the ratepayers

24 Nov

 

With Christmas right around the corner, I’d like to start a new tradition: The Scrooge Awards

Let me make a few nominations, you send yours, we’ll have a cup of cheer and vote the winner on Christmas Eve. 

Candidate Number One: PG&E – I think you know why.

Candidate Number Two: Assemblyman Chris Holden (D, AD 41, northern San Gabriel Valley)

Maybe these two should be co-candidates, they’re thick as thieves. Holden is introducing a bill to let PG&E off the hook for wildfires they cause. I wish I could send them all a card – “Well Merry Christmas to you too, Assholes!”

From Insurance Journal:

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2018/11/20/509841.htm

“A bill that would help PG&E Corp. absorb liabilities from this year’s fatal wildfires in California is being drafted at the request of a state assemblyman who helped shepherd earlier legislation on the issue.”

Assemblyman Chris Holden is carrying this bill because, according to his staffer, “He is concerned about the instability of the utility and the adverse effect it could have on ratepayers and the ability to deliver services at a reasonable cost…” 

I don’t believe he’s worried about the ratepayers, I think he’s more worried about the effect it would have on PG&E shareholders.

“News of the bill sent PG&E shares up as much as 5.8 percent in after-hours trading. The stock has plunged by more than half since the Camp Fire broke out on Nov. 8.”

I know people here are mad, screaming for lawsuits, some already filed, but this piece of legislation could allow PG&E to pass their liability on to the taxpayers/ratepayers. That’s all of us, including the direct victims of the fire. 

“Holden’s bill may serve as a framework for lawmakers to consider relief for PG&E from the billions of dollars it faces in potential liability for death and property damage in Northern California’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history.”

They’ve already got away with passing the fines for the Santa Rosa fires on to the ratepayers. 

“In response to deadly fires in 2017, lawmakers approved a legislative package that allows PG&E to sell bonds backed by customers [ratepayers] to cover liabilities.”

We need to pay attention, write our state lawmakers, write letters to the editor, tell friends to do same. This legislation should be sneaking around in early 2019, and needs a two/thirds vote to pass. If they think we’re not paying attention they’ll do the bidding of their benefactors at PG&E.

Here’s another article from the San Jose Mercury News:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/20/pge-friendly-wildfire-bill-being-eyed-by-state-lawmakers-in-wake-of-lethal-butte-county-inferno/

 

 

Reader makes some good points

21 Sep

Reader James made a comment on

https://chicotaxpayers.com/2015/09/09/cal-water-announces-usage-down-by-more-than-44-how-much-do-you-think-that-amounts-to-in-wram-charges/

“I have read that with so many PG&E and other power company ratepayers going to solar to reduce their bills, the power companies are/will be faced with revenue shortfalls.”

I did a little checking and I wanted to clarify – PG&E actually makes money on solar.  They buy it from their customers for about 4 cents a kwh, then turn around and sell it for 16 – 33 cents (baseline to Tier 4).

James also reasoned “ there are legitimate costs for upkeep, repairs, replacement, upgrading etc, as well as salaries/benefits. “

That’s true. I’m asking anybody who sees PG&E or Cal Water engaged in any  of those activities in Chico to send me a photo.

Where’s the accountability? Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Peevey, criticized for inappropriate relations with utilities companies, leaves the commission with $80,000 ratepayer-funded pension

24 Dec

There is just no accountability anymore. The fox is not only in charge of the hen house, he’s in charge of the entire farmyard nowadays. There’s nobody for the public citizen to call when they are having their pockets turned inside out by corrupt government and quasi-government agencies, like the utility companies. 

The utility companies are supposed to be supervised by the California Public Utilities Commission, but if you’ve been following the conversation here you know that is a Pollyanna fantasy. Those who have been following the CPUC longer than I have point to Governor Gray Davis’ 1999 – 2003 term as the beginning of a general takeover of the commission by Davis’ utility company cronies, starting with the installment of Southern California Edison president Michael Peevey to the very commission that was supposed to keep people like him in check. This all happened right under our noses, but I think we were probably busy watching The Simpsons. 

What a bizarre period of history that was – ending with a Hollywood takeover of the Governor’s mansion. It may well have been an episode of The Simpsons, but it really happened. Davis was in thick with the utility companies, with representatives from all the major providers within his cabinet of consultants. He floated in contributions from the utility companies. When his friends manipulated the market to raise prices, laughing about it all along in those famous taped phone  calls, Davis called for ratepayers to conserve! Sound familiar?

Davis left under recall, but his cronies like Peevey stayed on in various appointed positions.  Gubernor Schwarzenegger didn’t do anything to change things, I’m guessing the utilities became more powerful over his administration, I haven’t researched it. Current governor Jerry Brown also took quatloos of dough from the utility companies, returning PG&E’s campaign contributions for this latest election only after “inappropriate” e-mails and phone calls between his office, PG&E, and employees of the CPUC were made public. 

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article2622212.html

That is the scandal that finally took Peevey out of office, at 75, into a plush retirement, but didn’t part a hair on the Moonbeam’s head. Here we are, stuck with him another four years. 

I can’t really celebrate Peevey’s departure, I’ve looked at the credentials of the other commissioners and it’s all the same – former employees of utility companies, whether directly employed or worked for them as employees of lawyers and other consultants. And then there’s Peevey’s retirement – I think he should have got a suit of tar and feathers, but he’ll get $80,000/year salary, along with complete health care and long-term care, and don’t forget the Cost of Living Adjustment, which is based on a percentage of their pension. The rich get richer a lot faster than the poor under these pensions. 

Here’s a piece about Peevey’s last meeting with the CPUP.

http://abc7news.com/news/controversial-peevey-presides-over-last-cpuc-meeting/442082/

A bizarre send-off, for a very bizarre man, in a very bizarre situation. I can only hope Senator Jerry Hill is right when he says this will be a new start for the CPUC, but Peevey’s replacement will be chosen by Governor Brown.

Jennifer Hennessy says utility rates are about to go up to offset your conservation efforts, you dummies!

16 Mar

City Finance Director? Jennifer Hennessy, in her Preview of the FY2012-13 Preliminary Budget, reports that utility rates are about to go up.

It’s your fault, Stupid – you’ve been altogether too good at cutting down on your energy and water usage, Doh! So PG&E and Cal Water will just have to raise your rates!

I found it in next week’s city council agenda, available here  – get out your waders,  Folks, it’s thick and deep. And it stinks:

http://www.ci.chico.ca.us/government/minutes_agendas/documents/3-20-12CityCouncilAgendaPacket.pdf

On page 4 of the Preliminary Budget Preview, Hennessy reports,

“Utility User’s Tax – growth rate of +1%

Currently the city is experiencing growth in Gas and Water services, but declines in electric and Telecom are offsetting this growth. PG&E is projecting up to 1% increase in electric rates, and between 1-5% increase in gas rates. However, they are projecting gas usage to decline. Cal Water is projecting a rate increase but is unable to provide the amount at this time. Telecommunications are also difficult to project because of the many changes in this industry. The city has seen a decline in cell phone companies’ remittances due to interpretations of our ordinance, as well as the exclusion of telecom companies taxing data plans.”

Points of interest:

1) your electricity is about to go up 1 percent and your gas 1 to 5 percent (but you won’t notice the gas increase til about next November)

2) your water rates are going up

3) the city, while they’re not mentioning it here, will have to get us to vote by 2/3’s majority to tax our own cell phones or they are going to lose that revenue altogether

4) despite the projected decrease in gas usage and the decline in cell phone tax revenues, Hennessy predicts a 1 percent increase in the UT based on the 1 percent increase in electric rates. Your pain is the city’s gain!  

This is why, try as you might to be a good steward and cut down on energy usage, your bills continue to go up. I always keep mine, so I know.

My family has moved from a big house into a tiny apartment. We’ve decreased our living space by roughly 38 percent, but our PG&E bill has gone down less than 20 percent. That’s because, over the last two years since my family made this sacrifice, PG&E has lowered the gas  “baseline” by almost 14 “therms,” while raising the baseline price per therm from 94 cents to $1 per therm. So, you get less at the cheap price, and the cheap price ain’t so cheap no more!

Your water rate just went up too  – in fact, Cal Water has instituted strange new “tiers”  – two “Tier 1” and two “Tier 2”? Look at your bill – your baseline for water just went from 10 ccf at 83 cents/ccf, to 9.31 ccf at 87 cents/ccf! And after that first 9.31 ccf, the price goes up to the second “Tier 1” – .69 ccf at 88 cents/ccf.  That’s less than one ccf for more than you paid for a whole ccf yesterday. And then there are two “Tier 2” prices – 1.86 ccf at 93 cents/ccf, and then .14 ccf at 94 cents/ccf.

No, I’m not going to tell you what a ‘ccf’ is, I’m trying to get you to look at your bill, dammit!

I’d also like to point out, that while the city is supposed to work for the citizens, to protect us against this kind of wanton price gouging from “public” utility companies, they are instead helping Cal Water and PG&E to screw us blind.

Don’t forget to save your PG&E and water bills and apply for your Utility Tax Rebate – available in May.  I’ll let you know as soon as I nag the Finance Dept into putting the form on the website.