NO PG&E Bailout! Clean, Safe, Public Utilities NOW!

Governor Brown, Governor-Elect Newsom, California Public Utilities Commission, CPUC President Michael Picker, State and Local Representatives,

No-bailout_

We stand with all residents impacted by the fires, and we refuse to stand by as California Public Utilities Commission, President Picker, and other politicians make plans to bail out PG&E by forcing customers and communities to pay for their negligence. Overwhelming evidence shows that this corporation is responsible for starting the “Camp Fire”, the worst and deadliest fire in the history of California. State investigators have determined they are also responsible for at least 16 others last fall, 12 of which were deadly, and 11 of which clearly violated laws requiring proper maintenance. The state hasn’t provided respirator masks, shelter, or relief for thousands of homeless and vulnerable folks but now wants to bail out a bloated investor-owned utility that has spent millions to defeat efforts that would usher in safer, renewable energy. Lawmakers need to prioritize our lives and health, not the financial stability of PG&E.

The people who have to live with the consequences of your past decisions to subsidize shareholders and dirty energy infrastructure should not also have to inherit the debts of this irresponsible corporation. We must invest in decentralizing and democratizing our power, leveraging the progress that has been made by the 19 Community Choice energy programs throughout the state and creating a public distribution utility that works closely with these programs, to advance California's climate goals. We refuse to prop up a for-profit system that continually endangers ecosystems and lives, while also reducing the lifespans of millions of residents. We deserve the right to choose cleaner, safer, and more sustainable power grid and future.

WE DEMAND:

  • PG&E and other private utilities be held accountable for their failure to properly maintain equipment.

  • PG&E and other private utilities pay damages in full, no shifting fire-related liability costs onto customers.
  • Private utilities be allowed to go bankrupt, with provisions for transitioning workers’ jobs and with protection for fire victims’ claims and utility workers’ pensions.

  • A transition of the state’s electricity grid infrastructure to a public, decentralized, democratized clean energy model that supports local Community Choice Energy programs and municipal utilities.

  • Make the California Public Utilities Commission accountable to its mandate to “serve the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure,” especially for low income communities and communities of color, most at risk.

How exactly do we do make this transition from corporate power to democratic, local control? Here are some suggestions from Local Clean Energy Alliance and East Bay Community Energy: PG&E: Don't Just Break It Up, Take It Over

*It is estimated that PG&E will be liable for approximately $15 billion for last year’s fires and $15 billion more for the “Camp Fire.” We know that $30 billion (or any dollar amount) will never compensate for the lives, livelihoods, homes, personal belongings, and whole communities that were destroyed in the fires, nor will it address the residual impact of smoke and toxins released into the environment and filling our lungs. We can, however, honor those impacted by doing everything in our power to ensure this never happens again.

To all the representatives and commissioners in decision making positions: Now is time to shift your priorities. Now is the time for a just transition. Now is the time to prioritize lives and communities over capital gains. This is a state of emergency. The climate crisis is here, and we are no longer willing to choke on the smoke of dirty business as usual.


Reference Articles:

California Utility Customers May Be on Hook for Billions in Wildfire Damage, NY Times

California regulator lays groundwork for PG&E bailout, SF Chronicle

By the numbers, buying out PG&E makes perfect sense, 48 Hills

After the Camp Fire, which destroyed an entire community, let’s not bail out PG&E again, 48 Hills

‘Pretty overwhelming’ evidence against PG&E in deadly Paradise fire, says attorney suing CA utility, CNBC

PG&E gets blamed for another deadly 2017 wildfire, this time from ‘sagging power lines.’ (16 total in month of October, 2017), SacBee

State Senator Looking at Breaking Up Utilities Following Potential Ties to Deadly Fires

, KQED

California fire: What started as a tiny brush fire became the state’s deadliest wildfire. Here’s how, LA Times

Inside the town devastated by the largest and deadliest wildfire in California's history, Vice News (video)



Petition by
No Bailout
San Francisco, California

To: Governor Brown, Governor-Elect Newsom, California Public Utilities Commission, CPUC President Michael Picker, State and Local Representatives,
From: [Your Name]

We stand with all residents impacted by the fires, and we refuse to stand by as California Public Utilities Commission, President Picker, and other politicians make plans to bail out PG&E by forcing customers and communities to pay for their negligence. Overwhelming evidence shows that this corporation is responsible for starting the “Camp Fire”, the worst and deadliest fire in the history of California. State investigators have determined they are also responsible for at least 16 others last fall, 12 of which were deadly, and 11 of which clearly violated laws requiring proper maintenance. The state hasn’t provided respirator masks, shelter, or relief for thousands of homeless and vulnerable folks but now wants to bail out a bloated investor-owned utility that has spent millions to defeat efforts that would usher in safer, renewable energy. Lawmakers need to prioritize our lives and health, not the financial stability of PG&E.

The people who have to live with the consequences of your past decisions to subsidize shareholders and dirty energy infrastructure should not also have to inherit the debts of this irresponsible corporation. We must invest in decentralizing and democratizing our power, in part, by breaking up the company and transitioning the utility to a state agency, which could then be shifted to multiple local public power systems. We refuse to prop up a for-profit system that continually endangers ecosystems and lives, while also reducing the lifespans of millions of residents. We deserve the right to choose cleaner, safer, and more sustainable utilities and futures.

WE DEMAND:

1) PG&E and other private utilities be held accountable for their failure to properly maintain equipment.

2) PG&E and other private utilities pay damages in full, no shifting fire-related liability costs onto customers.

3) Private utilities be allowed to go bankrupt, with provisions for transitioning workers’ jobs and with protection for fire victims’ claims and utility workers’ pensions.

4) A transition of the state’s electricity grid infrastructure to a public, decentralized, democratized clean energy model that supports local Community Choice Energy programs and municipal utilities.

5) Make the California Public Utilities Commission accountable to its mandate to “serve the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure,” especially for low income communities and communities of color, most at risk.

​How exactly do we do make this transition from corporate power to democratic, local control? Here is a clear and tangible roadmap modeled by Local Clean Energy Alliance and East Bay Community Energy: PG&E: Don't Just Break It Up, Take It Over​ (https://popularresistance.org/pge-dont-break-it-up-take-it-over/)

*It is estimated that PG&E will be liable for approximately $15 billion for last year’s fires and $15 billion more for the “Camp Fire.” We know that $30 billion (or any dollar amount) will never compensate for the lives, livelihoods, homes, personal belongings, and whole communities that were destroyed in the fires, nor will it address the residual impact of smoke and toxins released into the environment and filling our lungs. We can, however, honor those impacted by doing everything in our power to ensure this never happens again.

To all the representatives and commissioners in decision making positions: Now is time to shift your priorities. Now is the time for a just transition. Now is the time to prioritize lives and communities over capital gains. This is a state of emergency. The climate crisis is here, and we are no longer willing to choke on the smoke of dirty business as usual.