by Mindy Spatt, TURN Communications Director
CPUC public hearings are going on right now on one of the worst utility schemes yet- new $10 fixed charges to be added to every customers’ bill. The proposal flies in the face of California’s goals to reduce emissions and avoid climate change by eliminating the current system that rewards conservation. With these new charges, customers who use little electricity will be penalized- while energy hogs will see bill reductions.
All three of California’s large, profit-driven electric utilities are gunning for the same $10, and additional changes to the current rate structure. TURN is adamantly opposed to the scheme, which will hit low-income and low-usage customers the hardest, especially seniors and other vulnerable consumers in hot inland areas. More- including the full schedule of statewide hearings, here.
The good news is we know that public pressure has beat back PG&E in the past, and we can do it again with this outrageous scheme. The best way to do that is to speak out at a hearing. Upcoming are Fontana and Lancastser.
Too often, PG&E and the other utilities prevail on their “donees,” nonprofits desperate for the funding utilities offer, to come to these hearings and sing their praises. Even shameless PG&E, under federal indictment and facing close to $2 billion in penalties for San Bruno, continues to give lavishly, but with strings. Those strings get pulled for hearings such as these, when PG&E provides grateful groups with talking points that distort the truth and support PG&E’s demands, regardless of the actual impact on vulnerable customers.
Hearing community groups that supposedly represent the public interest defend utility schemes for higher bills is always hard to swallow. And it can be counter-acted. SDG&E’s lackeys were out in full force in San Diego, but so were real, honest, thinking customers. By showing up and speaking out, they were able to drown out SDG&E’s slick, corporate-controlled message.
The hearings are informal, and anyone can speak. Take a few minutes to tell the CPUC what you think of PG&E- your comments will become part of the official record in the case, and support TURN’s efforts to nip these new, $10 charges in the bud.