Roll Back the CPUC Attack on our Communities!

Action Alert –
Roll back the CPUC attack on our communities!

Question: What do the following things have in common?

  • A multi-billion-dollar bailout of PG&E for wildfire damages;
  • Monopoly utility leadership that prioritizes shareholder returns over customer and community safety;
  • Avoidable higher costs of electricity for all California ratepayers;
  • A consistent and pervasive bias against California's successful, innovative Community Choice energy programs;
  • Policies that prop up an outmoded, centralized energy system against a decentralized renewable energy model.

Answer: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  

These failures all rest at the doors of regulators not doing their job. The job of the CPUC is to serve our communities, not the monopoly utilities.  Yet the CPUC is fully "captive" to the companies it is supposed to regulate. The result: The utilities are getting away with murder --literally.  

The Issue

California's devastating wildfires set the stage for the CPUC to provide Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) a $6 billion bailout assist. Not only is the CPUC passing on tens of billions in fire liability costs onto ratepayers -- propping up a monopoly utility the courts have found to be criminally negligent.

Now the CPUC is ramming through a destructive proceeding to centralize electricity procurement. Taking away from the Community Choice entities one of the best ways they have to achieve both environmental and social equity outcomes even while they decarbonize the electricity system and the built environment.  These actions are just the latest —in a long string of attacks—on Community Choice energy, the state's expanding alternative to the monopoly utility model.

Whether through wildfire bailouts, the fee hike, the effort to centralize procurement or in other ways to malign Community Choice, these steps reflect the CPUC's regulatory approach: to socialize losses and privatize profits, while consistently supporting a centralized electricity system.  This approach rewards the state's three private monopoly utilities, raises rates for all ratepayers, and attacks the state's public, not-for-profit Community Choice programs – programs that are in the forefront of combating climate change.

The Time is Now

Since we started this campaign, these issues have intensified. Pacific Gas & Electric remains in bankruptcy court, and Chairman Picker is figuring out how to save the company, even if it means passing billions in fire liability costs onto ratepayers.  

The stage is set for significant changes to the state's electricity system. Now is the time to protect the Community Choice model -- when Community Choice is attacked, our communities are the losers.  

Soon we'll hear from Governor Newsom -- will his plan to restructure PG&E strengthen and protect Community Choice and our communities? Or saddle them with more CPUC controls?   We demand a different kind of deal -- a Green New Deal that strengthens our communities while achieving the social and environmental progress we so desperately need.

Join us in calling on California legislators to demand a rollback of the CPUC attack by adding their voices to call on Governor Newsom to:

  • Hold the CPUC accountable for its failures to regulate all electricity providers in a balanced manner as it is required to do by law; and

  • Appoint CPUC commissioners and top staffers who support Community Choice and prioritize community interests.

Rolling back the CPUC's attack is essential to maintaining a public alternative to the state’s monopoly utilities.

For a more in-depth analysis of this issue—the CPUC’s decision, the impact, what’s at stake, and the response—see our Backgrounder: Roll Back the CPUC Attack.