For Immediate Release
July 9, 2019
Sacramento—The California State Senate last evening passed AB1054, a far reaching ratepayer bailout for investor owned utilities. The bill is expected to be voted on in the Assembly on Thursday. Governor Newsom and state legislators are jamming through the bill without adequate time for public review or comment, something former PUC President Loretta Lynch compares to Enron’s successful efforts to undo ratepayer protections in 2000. In response to efforts to use wildfire protections to enact sweeping electricity reforms that leave customers vulnerable, Food & Water Watch California State Director Alexandra Nagy had this statement:
“While a California victims’ compensation fund is needed as our climate-change-fueled wildfire season becomes longer, deadlier and more destructive, this rush to ram through AB1054 benefits utilities like PG&E, not ratepayers. Capping utility shareholder liability while expecting ratepayers to write a blank check for future wildfires is not a wildfire policy California needs.
“The legislature is rushing to pass the bill before the public knows what hit them. The bill weakens PUC oversight, dispersing it over several new entities, all while virtually guaranteeing that our electric bills will go up, since ratepayers are left holding the bag for billions in bonds and future wildfire costs.
“Instead of listening to utility lobbyists, Governor Newsom and state lawmakers should offer the option of a public takeover of PG&E to ensure that safety and affordability are the priority, not the utility’s bottom line. We urge Assembly members to hit pause, give this sweeping legislation a full hearing, and reject a bailout bill that will hurt their constituents.”
Contact: Julie Light, 510-992-4083, [email protected]
Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold & uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.