Local Clean Energy
News & Alerts
PG&E has begun a widely heard radio blitz on behalf of its monopoly-protection ballot measure Prop 16. Everyone (within PG&E's service area having a PG&E utility-bill account number) can individually file a complaint with CPUC about PG&E's blatant use of ratepayer funds for its own corporately self-interested and possibly illegal political propaganda. Everyone should file their complaint as soon as possible.
CPUC staff has advised that ALL OF US WHO FILED COMPLAINTS EARLIER should do so AGAIN (now that CPUC's Consumer Affairs Branch has ostensibly been taught how to do its job, they should be more responsive to Prop 16 and CCA-related complaints). If enough complaints are sent to the Consumer Affairs Branch (that's where the web site complaints go), CPUC Commissioners should hear them this time. (As those of you who received "nonjurisdictional" letters know, that was NOT the case earlier this year)
Your letters should be sent via: https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/
Keep a copy of what you file so that it can be followed up in case no action or wrong action is taken, as happened in the first go-round.
If you're not sure what to write, go to www.noprop16.org or www.marinenergyfreedom.org or www.powergrab.info as sites from which you can draw ideas and resources. Both have lrecent material -- including references to questions regarding the legality of PG&E's latest radio blitz campaign, how PG&E is abusing AB 117 (2002) which mandates utilities to cooperate with new CCAs, misuse of ratepayers' money for political purposes, why CPUC should rein in PG&E's attacks on new CCA start-ups, and the need for CPUC to pass a ruling or resolution with teeth to constrain PG&E's behavior.
In addition to the above web sources, here is an array of suggested points to pick and choose choose a few from and, preferably, express in your own words. Please don't copy, clip and paste the whole shebang. Thank you for your continued efforts in behalf of the NO on Prop 16 campaign effort.
DESCRIBE THE COMPLAINT
PG&E is using ratepayers' money for its own political ends. PG&E is spending $35 million in ratepayers' money to pass Prop 16. Prop 16 will entrench PG&E's monopoly in the state constitution and do nothing for ratepayers. PG&E is spending public-goods charge money, collected originally from ratepayers, for radio and TV ads and mailers to pass Prop 16 and crush competition. PG&E is spending public-goods charge funds to squash competition of greener, more affordable alternative electricity generation. PG&E has an unfair advantage using public-goods-charge money to propagandize against CCA start-ups in Marin and San Francisco. Former Commissioner John Geesman has testified that ultimately not a penny PG&E spends doesn't derive from funds collected from ratepayers. PG&E's radio and TV blitz for Prop 16 and against start-up CCAs contains misleading and erroneous information. PG&E is not cooperating with new CCAs in Marin and San Francisco but is trying to keep them from starting operations by political pressure and misleading disinformation and by seeking to encourage ratepayers to opt out and stay with PG&E. PG&E is not complying with AB 117, the Community Choice Electricity Aggregation law, which requires utilities to cooperate with new CCA entities instead of combatting them politically. Why does PG&E get to raise rates and juggle tier structure to earn more money then spend it on Prop 16 and similar political campaigns to protect the monopoly's markets and shareholders rather than in ratepayers' interests. PG&E is perverting the constitutional process by promoting a ballot initiative, Prop 16, that would impose a 2/3 vote requirement to start alternatives to PG&E -- CCAs or expanded municipal public power. PG&E's Prop 16 is restraint of trade by making it impossible to mount competition to PG&E's rates and energy portfolio; CPUC should do something about this. PG&E's rates are among the highest anywhere but they are have even more rate increases pending -- while spending millions on political campaigns, lobbing and self-promoting radio and TV ads; CPUC should do something about this. CPUC should oppose PG&E using ratepayer money to subvert California's Constitution and initiative process by promoting and funding Prop 16. CPUC should stop PG&E from using public-goods-charge money, funneled through the CPUC, to manipulate the legal system and electoral process. PG&E's Prop 16, funded with public-goods-charge money (directly or indirectly) eliminates our community's choice to opt out of PG&E's high rates; CPUC should stop this practice. PG&E's Prop 16, the campaign shouldn't be paid for by us, the ratepayers, and CPUC should halt this practice. A 2/3 majority approval is not a one person, one vote system. It gives opponents twice as much voting power as those who vote Yes, making it nearly impossible to achieve public approval, sets a bar of 2/3 election vote for new CCAs that's impossible to surmount. We've seen how the 2/3 majority has crippled the California state budget process by putting the fate of the majority in the hands of the minority. PG&E shouldn't be allowed to be using money collected from ratepayers to finance Prop 16, which would stifle competition for electric power. PG&E has the highest rates in California. In addition, PG&E has already begun 2010 with one rate increase and plans nine others that would hurt both residential and commercial customers. PG&E shouldn't be allowed to violate state law by thwarting local community control of energy. Prop 16, funded indirectly by monies collected by PG&E from our electricity bills, undercuts efforts to provide sustainable, clean energy options to PG&E's dependence on fossil fuels.
WHAT DID THE UTILITY SAY WHEN YOU COMPLAINED
I didn't complain directly because I don't know how to contact PG&E's top officials responsible for its corporate behavior. They didn't answer me. They didn't respond positively. They didn't admit to doing anything wrong. They said they didn't have responsibility for what goes on TV and radio. They said PG&E is acting within its legal rights. They said PG&E has a right to try to keep as many of its customers as possible. They said PG&E is a corporate person and has the right of free speech just like people do. They denied wrongdoing. They said all their TV and radio ads are factual. I
WHAT ACTION DO YOU WANT CPUC TO TAKE
CPUC's rules say it's wrong for a utility like PG&E to mislead the Commission; why is it not wrong for PG&E to mislead the public, taxpayers and ratepayers? CPUC should point out to the public instances of how PG&E is misleading the public. (Refer to citation of CPUC rules, below.) CPUC should enforce its own rules against utilities making misleading statements and advertising. PG&E should be held accountable for its false advertising, as in its mailers in Marin and San Francisco and its radio and TV ads. CPUC should restrict PG&E from using ratepayer money for political campaigns and unrestricted lobbying. CPUC should enact a resolution with "teeth" to deter PG&E from continuing its violations of state law AB 117. CPUC should ensure a level playing field between CCAs and PG&E. CPUC should adopt the suggestions of the Attorney of City and County of San Francisco to discourage and restrict PG&E's unfair political practices. CPUC should ban PG&E's false and misleading statements about Prop 16 and about CCAs being conveyed on radio, TV, media and mailers. CPUC should unmask the true nature and purpose of Prop 16 and allow voters true, reliable information on which to base decisions. CPUC should not allow PG&E to spend millions to have the "biggest megaphone" when greener, alternative sources of power have no such funding and can't compete in the public arena. CPUC should immediately OPPOSE Prop 16 and explain it's not in the public interest. CPUC should prevent PG&E from using programs funded by public goods charge money and ratepayers to induce cities not to join CCAs, as has happened in Novato and elsewhere. CPUC should expose publicly PG&E's Prop 16's threat to hamper the operation and conduct of public power and municipal utilities. CPUC should tell PG&E it can't buy special treatment for its business by perverting the state's constitution. CPUC should stop the flow of junk mail to people's homes, e.g. in Marin and SF, by which PG&E is propagandizing for Prop 16 and against cleaner electricity alternatives. CPUC should suspend rate hikes until PG&E stops politicizing its monopoly and special advantages. CPUC should cut funds to PG&E commensurate with the amount of money PG&E is spending on Prop 16 and political lobbying. PG&E should be ordered to stop "opt out" mailers until Marin Clean Energy and San Francisco's CCA have the means to respond and balance what PG&E is saying. The playing field should be even, not grossly tilted in PG&E's favor, as it is now.
Cite CPUC's 1.1. (Rule 1.1) Ethics.
Any person who signs a pleading or brief, enters an appearance, offers testimony at a hearing, or transacts business with the Commission, by such act represents that he or she is authorized to do so and agrees to comply with the laws of this State; to maintain the respect due to the Commission, members of the Commission and its Administrative Law Judges; and never to mislead the Commission or its staff by an artifice or false statement of fact or law. Note: Authority cited: Section 1701, Public Utilities Code. Reference: Section 1701, Public Utilities Code.