San Francisco—Today, AARP, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) delivered a letter to Governor Brown urging him to protect millions of Californians by vetoing SB 901, the PG&E bailout bill.
“Profound flaws in bill drafting, the rushed process of voting the bill out, the absence of a policy committee hearing on final amendments and significant lawmaker opposition provide ample justification to veto SB 901”, said the groups, which represent low-income communities in California.
“The biggest and most disastrous change SB 901 makes is to require customers, rather than investors, to pay for PG&E’s bad acts,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “Investors have routinely paid for utility negligence and mismanagement in the past. Senate Bill 901 guts this previously ironclad principle, requiring no contribution whatsoever from investors. And it contains no limits on how much customers might have to pay.”
“The bailout bill increases safety costs without increasing safety outcomes” said Blanca Castro, California Advocacy Director of AARP. “In order to make sure any further safety expenditures are cost effective, the blank check provisions of 901 should be revised to clarify that new expenditures must be aligned with existing safety programs and rate impacts must be analyzed in the context of other increases.”
“SB 901 is the product of an unduly rushed and defective process,” said Parin Shah, Senior Strategist with APEN. “Committee members did not have the chance to carefully review the provisions, many of which are new, nor did members have the opportunity to consider amendments offered by TURN, AARP and APEN that would have protected Californians.”
The groups conclude that SB 901 is premature, since PG&E’s liability for the Tubbs fire remains unknown. Hence, the groups urge the Governor to veto the PG&E bailout bill and convene a special session of the legislature after CalFire determines PG&E’s responsibility for the Tubbs fire.