Argument Against Proposition 16

Proposition 16 does two things:

First, it drastically limits your choices on who provides you with

Second, it makes it easier for the for-profit utilities in California
to raise your electricity rates.

It's cleverly written, because the backers of Proposition 16 want to
fool the voters.

They say this measure is about protecting taxpayers. But what it
really protects is the monopoly enjoyed by a giant, for-profit
electric utility.

You should be allowed to have more choices in who provides your
electricity, if those choices would give you lower cost and better
service. Vote No on Proposition 16.

Most people would agree that if a local nonprofit organization wants
to buy green power at wholesale rates, and sell it to communities at
an affordable cost, it should be allowed to do so. But Proposition 16
makes it just about impossible.

Severely limiting your choice in the source of your electricity. No
lower cost green energy. Fewer choices and higher costs. That's what
Proposition 16 does to you.

Who's the sole sponsor of Proposition 16?
PG&E, the largest for-profit utility in the state. When this argument
was written, PG&E had contributed $6.5 million to the "yes" campaign
and signaled they're prepared to spend tens of millions more. PG&E was
the only contributor to put this proposition on the ballot.

Why? Again, PG&E wants to protect its monopoly. Proposition 16 isn't
about protecting taxpayers - it's about protecting PG&E's for-profit
monopoly on electricity.

Just read the ballot title and summary, and you'll see.

As the Fresno Bee put it, "The PG&E ballot measure (Proposition 16) is
another example of the initiative process going awry in California, of
a powerful special interest seizing the initiative process for its own
narrow benefit."

AARP urges No on Proposition 16 because by restricting competition,
Proposition 16 could mean higher electricity costs for you. A No vote
protects you against the potential for crippling rate hikes.

In fact, PG&E and other for-profit utilities already charge higher
rates than municipal, nonprofit utilities. And now they want to
increase rates another $5 billion.

The Consumer Federation of California says VOTE NO because like Wall
Street, PG&E paid huge bonuses to its executives, even after it went
bankrupt and ratepayers bailed it out. Now PG&E wants to lock-in its
monopoly once and for all – so smaller, local nonprofit utilities are
not allowed to compete.

Sierra Club says VOTE NO because Proposition 16 requires a 2/3
supermajority vote before communities can purchase clean power and
other power at competitive prices. These community choice programs are
voluntary and do not raise taxes.

Proposition 16 "is a dagger aimed directly at a movement to enable
municipalities to offer renewable green power to their residents in
competition with private utilities," said Michael Hiltzik, a columnist
for the Los Angeles Times.

Say NO to another wasteful initiative that says one thing but really
does something very different. Vote No on Proposition 16 to keep money
in your pocket and to protect your utility choices.

Jeannine English
California State President, AARP

Andy Katz
Chair, Sierra Club California

Richard Holober
Executive Director, Consumer Federation of California