Prop 23 and PG&E: Setting the Record Straight

The California Jobs Initiative is spreading a highly misleading story about PG&E’s opposition to Prop 23, the ballot measure to suspend California’s keystone climate legislation (AB 32).  The story appears in an email that they’ve circulated widely.  To make it easy to understand, I’m leaving the truthful parts of their story in black and putting the false parts in red:

PG&E recently announced its opposition to Prop. 23. Now, many of you are receiving notices from PG&E that they are raising your rates under a deal they negotiated with CARB allowing them to bill you for over $16 million in AB 32 “administrative costs”!

Read it from PG&E themselves here.

It is unacceptable for PG&E to oppose relief for businesses and families from AB 32’s stifling regulations while at the same time pocketing millions of dollars in AB 32 profits for themselves.

Then they ask the recipients to “Make a statement and join the new Facebook group “NO to PG&E’s rate increase backroom deal.”

Here’s what’s wrong with the red stuff:

  • notices from PG&E that they are raising your rates . According to the link in the email itself, the notice only says that PG&E is applying to raise the rates, not that they’re actually raising them.
  • pocketing millions of dollars in AB 32 profits.  Actually, PG&E has applied for a pass-through.  That means that they recover the money they actually have to spend for AB 32, but this does not become part of the “rate base” — which means they get reimbursed for their expenses but earn no profit. They don’t pocket a penny in profits.
  • backroom deal There’s no backroom deal.  As the PG&E notice to its customers explains in detail, anyone who wants to can get copies of materials and observe the hearing.  

The voters have to decide for themselves whether the bad economy justifies postponing AB 32 implementation.  Opinions obviously differ on that.  But at least the voters are entitled to undistorted information.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Prop 23 and PG&E: Setting the Record Straight”

  1. Dan —

    If you’re going to complain about misinformation in the campaign over Prop 23, don’t you think you should be careful with your own — as in the Kock post here:
    http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/the-top-ten-facts-you-didnt-know-about-kochgate/
    And if you’re really concerned about misinformation, shouldn’t you allow comments through?

    I should also say that as to the first charge, there’s not much difference between “raising rates” and “applying to raise rates” in terms of PG&E’s actions. PG&E is trying to raise its rates, and its rates would go up were it not for government regulation. The only question is whether the rate increase will be allowed.

    JHA

  2. Jonathan-
    Apologies for the delay in posting your other comment. Among our spam-control measures is a feature the diverts any comment with more than a certain number of hyperlinks (2, I think) into a moderation queue. And apparently we didn’t check that queue daily this week. We allow all substantive comments.
    Sean

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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