Groove with Soroptimists for 70th anniversary
Why Are People Dancing Around Some Unspoken Issue Regarding a Human Relations Commission Award?

Stop PG&E from Robbing us Today, Climate Action Everywhere Tomorrow!

Our only homeBy Scott Steward

The necessary actions to combat climate changes are too slow - obvious.  Here is some of what the youth had to say to us adults on April 19th.  Our local youth from Fresno, Davis, and Sacramento made their voices (short movie clip here) heard at the Capital this past Friday.

California has made good progress, and Yolo County has made more progress. We hope Davis will be as focused and insistent on necessary changes as well.

What can adults do today to help our children's tomorrow?  There are many, but one thing stands out in our State, and that is to reverse the 2022-2023 damage inflicted by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), shielded by Governor Newsom, to raise our rates and just about crush the last 25 years of residential renewable energy progress in California. 

Your utility bills have gone up 30% to pay $5.7 Billion to PG&E to cover climate change costs that an energy judge has already ruled are twice the $2.7 Billion needed.  Please consider taking action and reading the op/ed written by Loretta Lynch, former Chair of the CPUC, who got us out of the Enron crisis 20 years ago. Paywall - so the article in full requires a temporary subscription to SF Chronicle - here is an excerpt.

"The Public Utilities Commission’s rubberstamping of unproven, unwarranted, unjust electricity costs must stop. It is up to the state Legislature to inject sanity into the regulatory system and protect California families and businesses from ruinous, undeserved rate increases.

Thankfully, legislators have introduced AB1999 to stop this increase and cap any fixed charge at $5 for low-income customers and $10 for other customers. AB2054 would stop the revolving door of former commissioners moving to jobs with utilities and scrutinize utility funds, and SB938 would stop ratepayers from paying for utility lobbying and advertising, among other reforms."

Former Chairperson Loretta Lynch did not want to distract from the abuses of the current CPUC.  What she did not say is that the fair competition with PG&E from the independent residential and small commercial solar industry, an industry that has added mightily to our energy grid security (saving us from blackouts and higher rates), has been devastated by the 2022-23 CPUC rate decisions

The for-profit utilities knew precisely what they were doing when they snowed the CPUC into raising fees and eliminating NEM2 (the rate that paid you and me for producing electricity at a price close to what PG&E charges—1 for 1).

Last Wednesday, the State Utilities and Energy Committee would not allow evidence showing the direct relationship between the California residential solar industry's plummet (dozens of residential solar company bankruptcies) and the unfair rates imposed on rate-payers and unfair pricing for residential independently produced solar and storage capacity. 

There is an opening to save AB 1999 and prevent egregious fees.  On April 24th - Assembly Energy Chair Petrie-Norris (Ventura) needs to pass AB 1999 through the committee (if you have a friend in her district, have them call) Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee Chair, Petrie-Norris (916) 319-2073: 

Your city and county probably have a climate adaptation and action plan that depends on being able to build solar and electricity storage of all shapes and sizes for municipal buildings, local businesses, and residences - apartments and single-family homes. That's not PG&E's plan. The for-profit regulated monopoly is planning a different kind of adaptation. It plans to collect all your hard work investing in local renewable power and electricity storage and put that work into their pockets—bankrupting your future of sustainable, affordable energy.  It's past time to get rid of this troublesome profit-skimming scheme called PG&E, but for now, we do what is right in front of us.

Getting AB 1999 across the finish line is one action we can take today; tomorrow is too late.


Ron O

I'm not ready to jump on the anti-PG&E bandwagon. The reason being that it's almost a quasi-government agency itself, and is burdened with the costs of serving high-risk areas. Areas in which the government continues to approve developments (and/or rebuilding).

We've seen what happens when homeowner insurance companies are over-regulated. They abandon the state altogether.

I don't know if PG&E has that option, though.

Donna Lemongello

Yes Ron, But they have to be stopped from gouging and stealing what electricity our solar panels, which cost a fair bit up front, make.


I agree with Donna. I recently paid $16,000 for a solar panel system. I knew the rules going in, I assessed the costs and the benefits and decided to take the plunge. To now have PG&E try to change the rules after the fact is so wrong on many counts.

Ron O

Donna: I agree.

Of course, as they lose customers due to solar, that cost may also have to be made up for by remaining customers.

I would think that an audit is needed, to determine how much "waste" is occurring.

There's so much responsibility (and danger) associated with delivering power to high-risk communities. And yet, I'm pretty sure that PG&E is required (by regulation) to provide that power at a uniform, statewide rate - which means that city dwellers are subsidizing high-risk communities.

It's interesting that Scott Wiener is a co-author of AB 1999, as he's usually espousing the "free market" - in regard to housing at least.

South of Davis

Does anyone know what it would cost to go "off grid" with solar and a a Tesla type battery system? I'm also wondering if anyone knows if we can "legally" "cut the cord" with PG&E and stop paying for electric service (but still get gas). I stopped paying for cable TV more than 20 years ago and I would love to "cut the cord" to PG&E. P.S. The state recently said it has no idea if the Billions we are spending to "help the homeless" is doing anything and I'm betting that PG&E is not tracking if the Billions they spending is doing are doing anything to "help the climate" and I'm also guessing that like most government programs most of the money is going to "help the politically connected"...

Alan C. Miller

KO say: "I recently paid $16,000 for a solar panel system."

A "conservative" with solar panels? Are you trying to save the Earth or something? :-|


"Are you trying to save the Earth or something?"

After a few $500 PG&E bills I decided it was time for this conservative to save his wallet.

Ron O

Keith: I'd be interested in knowing how the rules changed.

I ask because every time I go into some place like Costco, it's apparently the "best time ever" to install solar - per the salesmen. (Without me even asking for their input.)

In a rather bizarre coincidence, I'm also told that it's the best time ever to buy or sell a house, per real estate agents.

And on those rare occasions when I park my 30-year-old vehicle at a dealership, a similar one-sided conversation ensues.

Alan C. Miller

RO, in an off-topic but similar coincidence, it's 'the best time ever' to invest your hard-earned dollars in the effort to save the Davis Vanguard.

Roberta L. Millstein

And that's as far off topic as this is going to go.... this post is not the place for comments about Costco or the Vanguard.

Matt Williams

PG&E is following a Hotel California strategy with respect to solar-enhanced residential customers … “You can check out, but you can never leave.”


“You can check out, but you can never leave.”

Yes Matt, great analogy.
Now that California and PG&E have steered many consumers into going solar they have to change the rules in order to siphon money from them through schemes like income based pricing.

Ron O

Just found this article from CalMatters:

On average, electric bills won’t go up or down, but most households aren’t exactly average. Under the proposed change, people who use less electricity will pay a bit more as a result of the fee, while those who rack up large power bills will save thanks to the lower usage rates.

Who those affected customers are is its own spirited debate. The biggest losers will be middle income households who just miss the cut-off for a discount and who currently have small energy bills. The biggest winners will be the biggest users.

The reason for the gap between the price California households pay and the actual cost of producing the energy, Borenstein argues, is that many of the costs that large utilities face — costs that have nothing to do with actually producing electricity — are larded onto the rates we pay per kilowatt hour. Those costs include paying off wildfire-related lawsuits, investments intended to ward off future fires, rebates for lower-income customers, electric vehicle charging stations, payments to customers with rooftop solar panels and upkeep of the grid itself.

What makes the debate especially unusual is where some of the state’s most influential environmental interests have come down on the proposal. Namely, on both sides. The Natural Resources Defense Council is for it. Environment California is against it. The Sierra Club called it a “mixed bag.”

Supporters counter that while higher income households do tend to use more energy, the relationship isn’t as consistent as one might think."

The reaction of environmental organizations may be yet another example of environmental organizations mixing "social equity" concerns with "environmental concerns".

Environmental organizations largely exist to protect the natural environment FROM human impact - regardless of income, skin color, etc. Something that many of these organizations have apparently forgotten.

There are many examples of this conflict, which some apparently don't like to acknowledge.

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