Ratepayers Left Holding the Bag for Wildfire Damages

This past week, the legislature passed SB 901 (Dodd) that will without a doubt increase our members’ electric bills for those located in the PG&E territory.  Despite Association pressure and the fact this add thousands of dollars per month to electricity rates, the legislature gave PG&E the blank check they were looking for.  Less than a week prior, with little notice and even less transparency, in typical “last week of session fashion”, the legislative conference committee tasked with addressing the wildfire and utility liability issue jammed through a massive bailout for PG&E standing with their shareholders over ratepayers, including businesses and homeowners in California who will experience skyrocketing energy bills.   The legislation, SB 901 would require ratepayers to cover whatever damages are beyond the cap placed on PG&E, even if PG&E is found negligent in the massive 2017 fires.  At $10 billion in liability, customers will pay an additional ½ cent per kWh for every kilowatt hour for the next 20 years!  The Association fought the bill vigorously alongside many ag groups, such as Western Growers Association, Ag Energy Consumers Association, California Citrus Mutual and others.  Association President/CEO Roger A. Isom stated “Our members cannot afford any more rate increases to the already highest industrial electricity rates in the country.  To put this on our backs is unequivocally unacceptable.  We refuse to pay for their negligence and wholeheartedly oppose this legislation.”