Local Clean Energy
News & Alerts
ROUGH GUIDE TO CPUC PROP 16 HEARING MARCH 17, 2010, IN SAN FRANCISCO--by Dan Berman, Ph.D. 530-757-6609
Commissioners present: President Michael R. Peevey, Commissioners Nancy E. Ryan and Timothy Alan Simon---
(Transcript is 177pp. long, double-spaced and is attached above; numbers on left refer to pages of person testifying--see above
Prop16_031710-3-pdf (application/pdf) 663K)
p. 8: Sr. V.P. Nancy McFadden, of PG&E Corp, talks in a deceptive manner about Prop 16 as the "Taxpayer's Right to Vote Act." McFadden's rationale for Prop 16 differs greatly from that offered by Pres, CEO, and Chairman Peter Darbee a March 1, 2010 stockholders' meeting, which John Geesman (pp. 83-86) refers to later. the usual suspects: IBEW 1245, Calif. Taxpayers Assn, and the Calif. Chamber of Commerce weigh on later in support of Prop 16., (Note that last year PG&E withdrew in a very loud and public manner from the American C of C wth HQ in Wash DC, supposedly over that organization's opposition PG&E's position on global warming.....
14 Willie Brown , former Speaker of Calif. Assembly and Mayor of SF
18 Marc Joseph: IBEW 1245, claims it is "not a question of whether [his union] is for or against public power"..Historical background.Of course 1245's people hit bricks AGAINST public power campaigns in SF in 2001 and 2002 and AGAINST public power in Yolo County in 2006 for .Attorney, "Yes on 16."
18 Maguarite Leoni---Attorney for "Yes on 16" campaign
24--Mark Burgal, Calif. C of C, about how small businesses will be burdened if Prop 16 doesn't pass,[Berman: this is pretty ridiculous, when you consider that of the 1.2 million public power customers in Northern Calif., only 40,000 (3.4% of total) were in public power districts which charged more than PG&E...]
p. 37: Peevey quote "...why do you have an initiative that requires a two-third vote and a constitutional amendment? I mean that is a most fundamental thing, to amend the Constitution of the State of California and have one company take on that charge, if you willo, to amend the Constitution....in a way, that ...only requires a majority vote to set up a twop-trhirds vote..." "And...I'm sure that Mr. Joseph is a strong adherent of a majoirty vote in the California Legislature to adopt a budget." [Laughter].
p. 42 Peevey said "it bothers me..." to now make 33 percent plus one percent to be the new "effective majority"
p. 43: Shawn Marshall, Marin Energy Authority, former Major and council member of city of Mill Valley: talks about "quite substantial" "delays and teeth-pulling" from PG&E, how PG&E's "goal is to sow enough fear and confusion to...essentially kill the program."
p. 48 Shawn Marshall: more on ":PG&E's hostile marketing practices in Marin County" offering of "backroom sweetheart deals supported by ratepayer money, threats of potentially espensive lawsuits that undermine the law and drain resources---that's what happened in San Joaquin...."
50: Shawn Marshall: "Prop 16 is a direct hit on the abiliyt of CCAs to come into being and on public utilities to actually operate and function successfully."
p. 53: theresa Mueller, San Francisco, "...if Prop 7 was a hammer, Prop 16 is a wrecking ball...."
p. 56: Mr. Hicham Eltal---Merced Irrigation District, Dep General Manager, from Northern San Joaquin County...has 150,000 residents in districts, but only 7,400 electricity customers because of PG&E opposition to Merced ID expansion.....is building 120 MW of hydro, biogen, and windpower
p. 64: Paul Hauser, Redding Electricity direction, has electric power since 1921, 90,000 residents, $100 million/yr. revenues, if charged PG&E rates would have $140 million/yr. revenues, saves $40 million yr. to people in Redding. Outages: average of 27 min./yr compared to PG&E average of 260 min/yr. PG&E 9X greater he says,m has peak capacity of 250 MW. Most cogent explanation of why ;public power. Says the Redding City Council unanimously opposed Prop 16....
p. 66: Keven Milligan: Ass't General Manager, City of Riverside electric utility: 5th largest ;publicly owner utility in Calif. March 2, 2010 Riverside City Council ovted to oppose Prop 16. Riverside wants to incorporate 550 new households---wants to know whether it wouod require a 2/3 vote if Prop 16 passes
p. 74: questioning by commissioners: Shawn Marshall says City of Novato was offered $50,000 in fall of 2008 to hire a "sustainability director" and didn't join Marin Clean Energy
p. 83: John Geesman, American Council on Renewable Energy, ACORE, Calls attention to March 1, 2010, PG&E Investor Corp Conference, comments by Peter Darbee from 2:39:21 through 2:44:09....[Geesman did a transcript of Darbee's remarks there, Geesman's Very Important Point is that Darbee is very clear that the point of Prop 16 is to save investors and PG&E Corp money by stopping the ;public power challenges, such as the Yolo county attempt to bring in SMUD, which, he said PG&E had to spend $10 million or $15 million to stop....
p. 84: Geesman compliments Peevey as "the envy of many policy circles around the world" for beginning "to turn the ocean liner of electricity policy as it has been conducted..." etc etc..[Berman: go to Geesman's Green Energy War blog or website for word-for-word transcription of what Darbee said on March 1. Geesman's point is that what Darbee said is completely different from hat PG&E Corp and the regulated utility and Nancy McFadden have been telling the CPUC on this day and what they have been telling the voters ...He challenges the Commission to call Mr. Darbee before the Commission "to explain his rationale...."
p. 86: Geesman asks whether the holding compans "exists only to accumUlate slush funds or to featherbed the payroll with redundant employees or officers?"
p. 86--Geesman: "...either Mr. Darbee is misappropriating funds or you've been too generous. I know you set rates at a level necessary to finance needed infrastructure. You don't set them at a level that can create $35 million political slush funds for adventures on the California ballot. I think Mr. Darabee deserves to be asked exactly how he rationalizes the iuse of funds in that volume..."
p. 87: Dan Geis, Agricultural Energy Consumers Association---anti-Prop 16---through p. 91
p. 91: Jeff Shields, General Manager, South San Joaquin Irrigation District, [Berman: SSJID, trying to take over 40,000 electric meters from PG&E and get into electricity business]... VERY IMPORTANT TESTIMONY: Shields asks Commission to rescind Decision 99-04-068 which created PG&E Corp, the holding company. "There is no purpose for PG&E Corporation...."
p. 96: Shields says: Under Sec 1708 of PUC Code, CPUC can dissolve PG&E Corp
96: Pres and CEO Steven Van Dorn, [City of] Santa Clara C of C: 550 members in city of 110,000 people,....amongC of C's members: invidia, Yahoo, Kaiser Permanente, Intel "Corp, Marrell.... rates of Silicon Valley Power, the city-owned utility, are 285 to 40% lower than PG&E rates, and SVP is much more reliable. Is 1st in customer satisfaction in the U.S.,.... Silicon Valley Power Board of Directors voted to oppose Prop 16,
pp. 99, 100-- Comm. Simon questions Geesman about use of holding company.
101: Geesman: "Mr. Darbee's statements on Wall Street, for example,...are subject to securities laws and considerations and there are very strict prohibitions against material midrepresentations....." [Berman: a simpler word for that is "lying."] [ Berman: supposedly there is smth in CPUC regs called Rule 1 in presentations before the CPUC which also ban lying...more on that later, in this piece, perhaps...
[BERMAN: . NOTE ON RULE ONE VIOLATIONS:
The statute is very clear: if you are making a formal presentation to the Commissioners, you cannot make false statements, especially if you know them to be false and/or misleading. If we cite 2:39:55 to 2:41:30 ee's march 1, 2010 presentation, where Darbee mentions McFadden by name and her contribution to Prop 16, then we have direct proof that Darbee's idea is to "diminish this activity," esp the opt-out provision of CCA, with the 2/3rds vote being the means to accomplish this goal.
On this point, in the CPUC hearings McFadden states that PG&E supports the principle that voters should decide whether their taxpayer dollars should be spent on getting into the electricity business. TR pp. 11-12.
Before that she states that Prop 16 will not stop municipalization but no one describes this campaign as diminishing CCA efforts. TR pp 10- 13 The "higher bar" implies difficulty but PG&E's representatives never explicitly say it. In fact, they further mislead the Commissioners by asserting that the 2/3rds requirement has not been a barrier in past elections.
TITLE 20. PUBLIC UTILITIES AND ENERGY
DIVISION 1. PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION
CHAPTER 1. RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
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.
* * * * * *
p. 106: SF Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, District 10, Potrero Hill and Hunters Point: "PG&E has demonstrated many times that it can control local elections or spending by spending excessive amounts of money. It is trying to do that on a larger scale once and for all."
p. 108: Ross Mirkarimi, Sp Supervisor, w...we afre still living through the bankruptcy of PG&E" Points out that PG&E didn't got to voters to ask for a franchise in perpetuity..." [Berman: all PG&E franchinse agreements, to my knowledge, are now in perpetuity...the last holdout a year or two ago was Bakersfield].
p. 126: Mark Toney, head of TURN
p. 128: Mark Loy, taking a day off from day job as analyst at the DRA/CPUC.Is testifying for himself as a citizen, and NOT for DRA or CPUC.. Loy makes that very clear. He testifies in detail that PG&E's campaign speech should be considered commercial speech rather than political speech, and as such should be held to a very high standard, since, as we know from Darbee's march 1, 2010 presentation to PG&E Corp investors, that the goal of Prop 16 is to quash new public power and CCA initiatives... VERY IMPORTANT.....and NOVEL. As such Prop 16 constitutes restraint of trade.
135: Larry Chang, a "student of history," talk about the public power revolts over the past decade or so.....
P. 156: Barbara George, Womens Energy Matters: Important. Recounts how PG&E is manipulating Energy Efficiency money as a sort of slush fund to create the Marin Energy Authority.
168: Dan Berman, Ph.D., author of WHO OWNS THE SUN? and former DRA/CPUC analyst. points out that the principle target of PG&E's Prop 16 is SSJID, Berman points out that PG&E rates are 25.6 percent higher than those of the Modesto Irrigation District rates, and 27.3 percent higher than SMUD's....Berman's testimony is attached Iabove) and was printed as an Op-Ed in the Modesto Bee in slightly different form on Friday March 26, 2010.