AARP members stand up to PG&E at public hearings
PG&E’s charitable giving is legendary, but it comes with a price tag. That price tag was apparent at recent public hearings throughout northern California including and Fresno and even San Bruno. Typically, PG&E put on a dog-and-pony show, strong-arming many of its nonprofit grant recipients to attend the hearings and defend the indefensible; $5.33 billion in new rate hikes.
The good news is that TURN is fighting back with a powerful ally, the American Association of Retired Persons. AARP members spoke out forcefully at many of the hearings, disputing PG&E’s phony claims that all the money would go to safety and reliability.
At a hearing in San Bruno, PG&E’s supporters threatened to drown out the voices of the few brave victims who stood up to speak, including Renee Morales, who lost her daughter in the PG&E explosion there. She recounted movingly the consequences PG&E’s neglect of safety had for her and her family.
Morales received support from AARP speakers who challenged PG&E’s version of things- tiny, non-impactful increases to pay for desperately needed infrastructure improvement- with the truth, that small increases add up to big trouble for seniors on fixed incomes.
“Congratulations to PG&E for a well-scripted evening” said Carolyn Livengood, a local San Bruno AARP member. “Twelve dollars may not seem like a lot to a lot of people, but you forget that all the other utilities are also asking for more money…let me tell you, $12 buys a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.”
While PG&E claims these increases are necessary, TURN is challenging millions in unnecessary spending, including more money for smart meters inflated marketing and administrative budgets unnecessary capital expenses that boost profits but not safety.