PG&E Bailout Could Cost Customers Billions, Lets Investors Off Scott Free

Friday, August 31, Sacramento–In a stunning achievement for a convicted felon, PG&E has convinced the legislature to give it not only an unprecedented bailout on wildfires liabilities, but also unlimited rate hikes for decades to come.

TURN executive director Mark Toney said that Senate Bill 901, erroneously titled ‘the Ratepayer Protection Act’ should have been called the ‘Corporate Criminal Bailout Bill.’

“Legislators should have to be honest about what they are voting for,” Toney said.  This bill protects PG&E’s shareholders by assuring a steady stream of profits.   Even when the company is criminally negligent shareholders won’t have to pay a dime.”

The results for customers could be catastrophic.    “PG&E could pass on $15 billion in costs for the Tubbs fires, and similar amounts for future fires,” Toney said.  “The rate increases authorized by SB 901 would come on top of billions more already requested by PG&E, SDG&E and Edison, and are not capped no matter how high they go.”

“The legislature is being extremely short-sighted,” Toney added. “Blinded by PG&E’s massive lobbying effort, it is apparently anxious to bailout PG&E before liability is even determined, and rushing to provide assurances to investors that customers will be on the hook for whatever comes.”

Toney said TURN and allied consumer groups would immediately begin urging the Governor to veto SB 901. “This is a David v. Goliath battle.  We are outgunned and outspent by PG&E’s massive lobbying machine and its wealthy investors.  But we know customers throughout California are on our side, and want to see PG&E held accountable rather than given a get out of jail free card.”