Prop 16 Would Have Made Californians Captive to Major New Electric Rate Increases After Paying $ Billions in Utility Bailouts for the Privilege of Power Choice

PG&E charges Northern Californians some of the highest power rates in the nation, and is now petitioning state regulators for the largest electricity rate hike in its history, estimated at a 30% increase over the next three years. Meanwhile, with Prop 16, PG&E was conspiring to eliminate all legally existing alternatives for California residents and businesses so that they would have no choice but to pay the rate increases when they hit the electric bill - or be shut off. Worse yet, the rate increases will finance PG&E's backward investments in fossil and nuclear power plants that continue to hit California consumers with even stiff new rate increases. Prop 16 would have seen to it that no other choice existed, such as greener power for the same price. That is what San Francisco and Marin are offering their residents and businesses. PG&E wants to kill "Community Choice" the same way that GM killed the electric car. Prop 16 is PG&E's effort to reinstate California monopoly in the name of taxpayer protection. Considering that PG&E has led the nation in ratepayer bailouts, this farce is a shame indeed - a graphic illustration of the serial abuse of California's initiative referendum and recall process. That's why TURN, the Consumer Federation and other consumer groups not only opposed Prop 16 but organized the No on 16 campaign and were quoted alongside Local Power Inc., in the official California ballot statement. This is the greatest outrage yet following over a decade of outrages from California's power industry.

Consumers benefit not only from exercising choice, but from having it at all. Without competitive alternatives, would-be monopolies like PG&E can raise rates as high as they like - captive customers must pay. For over a century, consumers have had the constitutional protection of local control over power monopolies. If rates got too high or a utility provided bad service, local communities have always had the option to municipalize. Prop 16 would make that nearly impossible. More recently, after the energy crisis, the California legislature provided that communities wanting to negotiate better rates or services with other power suppliers could do so - through a form of choice called "Community Choice." PG&E's Prop 16 would place major obstacles before communities seeking to offer local residents and businesses an alternative to monopoly rates and service. Had voters not rejected it, Prop 16 would have made it all but impossible.

Around Election Day

"Rising costs mean more money for PG&E," Bakersfield Californian article by John Cox (May 29, 2010)

"SSJID Calls For Effective and Necessary Oversight of PG&E - CPUC Hearings Open to the Public: $4 Billion in Rate Increases on the Table ," Business Wire press release by South San Joaquin Irrigation District (May 27, 2010)

"PG&E Drops Another $9 Million into Prop 16; Asks for a $4 BILLION Rate Hike," BeyondChron article by Paul Hogarth (May 25, 2010)

"California Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) Urges CPUC to Clamp Down on PG&E’s Request to Raise Rates by $4.2 Billion,"DRA Announcement on Electric Energy Online (May 25, 2010)

"Hearings to begin on electricity rate hikes for PG&E," California Farm Bureau Federation article by Christine Souza (May 25, 2010)

"Public can vent on prososed PG&E rate hikes," San Francisco Examiner (May 24, 2010)

"PG&E-city agreement stalls," San Francisco Examiner article by John Upton (May 14, 2010)

"PG&E threatened with fines over Marin Clean Energy 'opt out' letter," Marin Independent Journal article by Richard Halstead (May 14, 2010)

"Utilities do battle on California Ballot," Wall Street Journal article by Rebecca Smith (May 3, 2010)

"Legislation that made Marin Clean Energy possible emerged from chaos of deregulation," Marin Independent Journal article by Richard Halstead (May 5, 2010)

"As We See It: Vote no on Prop. 16: choice over monopoly," Santa Cruz Sentinel Editorial (May 9, 2010)

"Power Play: PG&E Charges Up to Fight Off Rolling Customer Revolts," California Lawyer article by Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Katherine Ellison (May, 2010)

"PG&E Slammed for Illegal Efforts to Stifle Competition: California Public Utilities Commission warns utility company's actions are illegal," NBC Bay Area article by Jackson West (May 4, 2010)

"P.G.&E. in Hot Water With Public Utilities Commission," The New York Times article by Katharine Mieszkowski (May 4, 2010)

"PG&E's campaign tactics are illegal, California regulators warn: Pacific Gas & Electric is told to stop using phone and direct-mail tactics that could derail competition from the state's first nonprofit group to offer electric service.," Los Angeles Times article by Marc Lifsher (May 4, 2010)

"Prop 16 Could Turn the Light Out on California Energy Market," California Independent Voter Network article by Mytheos Holt (May 3, 2010)

APRIL

" Power by the People," Bates Magazine article by Bryce Hubner (April 21, 2010)

"PG&E strategy: exploit voter angst to pass Prop 16 under 'voter's rights' guise," California Progress Report article by Dan Aiello (April 15, 2010) v "Regulators Slap PG&E on the Wrist: California Public Utilities Commission puts stop to some "hardball" tactics," NBC Bay Area report by Jackson West (April 12, 2010)

"Proposition 16 is no bargain for Californians," Gustine Press Standard article by Bill Mattos (April 13, 2010)

"PG&E's new rates could help Marin green power," San Jose Mercury News staff report by Dick Spotswood (April 11, 2010)

"Calif regulators issue new rules on public pow," San Jose Mercury News article by Jason Dearen (April 9, 2010)

"PG&E proxy filing reveals corner-cutting effort to feed Darbee's compensation gluttony," PG&E Ballot Initiative Factsheet Blog post by former California Energy Commissioner John Gessman (April 4, 2010)

"PG&E confusing calls and what to do about them," San Francisco Chronicle Marin Blog post by Denise Castelucci (April 9, 2010)

"Special Districts Support Community Choice; Oppose Prop 16," PublicCEO announcement by the California Special Districts Association (April 9, 2010)

"PG&E must stop threats to public power agencies," San Francisco Chronicle article by David Baker (April 8, 2010)

"PG&E told to stop contacting Marin energy customers," Marin Independent Journal article by Mark Prado (April 8, 2010)

"CPUC reins in PG&E's advertising blitz in Marin," KGO-TV 7 ABC story by Heather Ishimaru (April 8, 2010)

"Pacific Gas and Electric powers Proposition 16," The California Aggie, Davis article by Michael Stepanoc (April 8, 2010)

"Power to PG&E: Firm turns initative process into way to protect their profits," The Manteca Bulletin article by Dennis Wyatt (April 8, 2010)

"10 Biggest Bankruptcies in History - PG&E,"Wall Street Cheat Sheet article by Derek Hoffman (April 7, 2010)

"Power Mad: Orwell fans take note: PG&E's war on public utilities goes to ballot as the 'Right to Vote Act,'" North Bay Bohemian cover story by Kylie Mendonca (April 1, 2010)

"CFC Urges a No Vote on Proposition 16 - PG&E's Anti-Democratic Power Grab," Consumer Federation web site announcement (April 5, 2010)

"Prop 16 only potects PG&E's incompetence," Woodland Daily Democrat opinion by William B. Marcus (April 1, 2010)

 

MARCH

"Bakersfield woman upset over PG&E bill," NBC - KGET 17 news story (March 31, 2010)

"Independent auditor named to check PG&E SmartMeters," Bakersfield KBAK & KBFX Eyewitness News story by Carol Ferguson (March 30, 2010)

"Darbee's Shaky Finger on the Trigger of PG&E's Rate Design Begins to Terrify the Customers" PG&E Ballot Initiative Factsheet blog by former California Energy Commissioner John Geesman (March 28, 2010)

"PG&E's Prop 16: Stalking Horse for Monopoly's Higher Rates?" Pacific Sun opinion by Ed Mainland (March 28, 2010)

There's a pony somewhere in PG&E's pile of state rate-distribution manure, Bakersfield Californian Opinion by John Geesman (March 25, 2010)

"When do we get to vote on PG&E's latest rate hike?" San Francisco Bay Guardian article by Rebecca Bowe (March 24, 2010)

"Bad Timing: Darbee's $10.559 Million Paypalooza Faces Advisory Shareholder Vote May 12 by former California Energy Commissioner John Geesman (March 21, 2010)

"Top PG&E executive gets $9.4M in 2009 compensation," Business Week article (March 8, 2010)

"Kern County Board Grills PG&E, Moves Forward with Election Question - Supervisors Will Ask Voters Whether to Look for PG&E Alternatives," ABC News 23, Bakersfield article and video (March 9, 2010)

"PG&E plans to spend $7 Billion To $10 Billion on projects over next 2 years," Dow Jones Newswires story (March 3, 2010)

 

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

"Public power backers cry foul over utility effort," Associated Press article by Jason Dearen (February 15, 2010)

"PG&E spending millions to block local utilities"San Jose Mercury News article by Dana Hull (January 31, 2010)

"PG&E customers feel sticker shock from rising rates," Fresno Bee (Feb 07, 2010)

"Community Bids to Bypass Utilities Facing Hurdles in Calif."New York Times article by Debra Kahn (January 7, 2010)

"PG&E news roundup: Discounts for energy hogs, new power plants in poor communities, and the CEO’s incredible expanding pension," San Francisco Bay Guardian article by Rebecca Bowe (November 6, 2009)

"San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera seeks rule change to block PG&E efforts to kill consumer choice"Digital News Report (January 21, 2010)

"EDITORIAL: PG&E makes a new power grab"Sacramento Bee (January 20, 2010)

"EDITORIAL: Don't vote for PG&E's newest power grab"Fresno Bee (January 20, 2010)

"EDITORIAL: PG&E measure is a bad idea"Modesto Bee (January 21, 2010)

"San Francisco City Attorney Slams PG&E: Argues utility monopoly using your money to try to stifle competition"NBC Bay Area (Jan 12, 2010)

"PG&E ballot measure is a stealthy power play:" Los Angeles Times column by Michael Hiltzik (Dec 28, 2009)

2009

"New Group Seeks to Bring Greener Power to Marin:"New York Times article by Katharine Mieszkowski (Dec 22, 2009)

"Paul Fenn vs. PG&E - Activist-turned-entrepreneur Paul Fenn's effort to bring affordable sustainable energy to California could be revolutionary -- and electricity giant PG&E isn't happy about it at all." Fast Company feature article by Pulitzer-nominated Author Anya Kamenetz

"Class Action Accuses PG&E of Overcharges - Utility accused of negligence, fraud in SmartMeter program," ConsumerAffairs.com article by Jon Hood

"PG&E Wants Rate Hike for Efficient Energy Users," Mission Local article by George Szakallz

"The PG&E Plan: Trick the Voters and Make them Cry," by Sierra Club California (The Santa Lucian, San Luis Obispo, October, 2009)

"PG&E doubles its stake against local energy choice," by Josh Richman (Contra Costa Times, August, 2009)

or any other official political action or campaign committees related to Prop 16 or other ballot initiatives.