Local Energy and Corporate Power (Part 2)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

PG&E Spending Millions to Block Local Utilities

From San Jose Mercury News: PG&E is spending millions of dollars on a statewide initiative that would make it tougher for you to get your power from anyone else. The initiative, one of several appearing on the June 8 ballot, would require two-thirds approval from local voters before cities or counties could choose an alternate energy provider. The utility says the initiative, which it refers to as the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act,” will ensure that voters have a final say on big energy decisions.

“We value our customers very much and we are going to stand up and resist efforts to take over our customers,” said Chairman Peter Darbee.

PG&E has so far spent $6.5 million on the initiative, according to documents on the California secretary of state’s Web site, and has signaled it is prepared to spend millions more. It says money spent on the campaign comes from shareholder dollars, but critics charge that customers are essentially footing the bill.

Pacific Gas and Electric is supporting California Proposition 16 to create a virtual stranglehold on its monopoly.  In a blatant thumbing of its nose at the political process, this corporate giant is attempting to use the proposition system to cement its own power and maintain its monopoly.

PG&E has written and managed to get on the ballot Proposition 16, Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act, a Constitutional Amendment that thwarts ANY attempts at public power. Officially the bill is sponsored by “Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote”, which labels itself as “A Coalition Of Taxpayers, Environmentalists, Renewable Energy, Business And Labor”. (Yeah right. These people are good at titles.)…

It is a coalition of one, however, as PG&E is the sole donor and they have donated to the tune of $6.5 million so far. Speculation has been raging over whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent junking of federal campaign spending limits on corporations will be very bad for democracy, or not so bad.

As with many important trends in American society, California was there first, and we have the answer. With to a huge ballot campaign launched by our biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, we can say this: It’s going to be worse than you can possibly imagine.

Proposition 16 is in many ways the most important. It is important because of what it represents, a corporate takeover of the political process.  We cannot let this happen.