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Rate payers should not have to pay for PG&E negligence

By tovarichpeter following x   2018 Jun 12, 6:20pm 115 views   4 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/06/12/editorial-dont-make-ratepayers-pay-for-any-pge-wildfire-negligence/

Editorial: Don’t make ratepayers pay for PG&E wildfire negligence
The PUC must hold the utility financially responsible for any failure to prudently maintain its power lines

Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial BoardsJune 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm
california-wildfires-insura.jpg.jpegFILE – In this Monday Oct. 9, 2017 file photo flames from a wildfire consume a home, near Napa, Calif. Insurance claims for last year’s deadly California wildfires have reached $11.8 billion, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE – In this Monday Oct. 9, 2017 file photo flames from a wildfire consume a home, near Napa, Calif. Insurance claims for last year’s deadly California wildfires have reached $11.8 billion, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
PG&E is a convicted felon with a reputation as the least-trusted utility in California. Cal Fire’s announcement Friday blaming the company for multiple Northern California fires last October adds to the outrage.

A total of 44 people died, more than 9,000 structures were destroyed and damages are estimated at nearly $10 billion.

It’s imperative that the California Public Utilities Commission and the state Legislature hold Pacific Gas & Electric Co. financially responsible for any failure to prudently maintain its power lines. And if PG&E executives are found to have padded company profits by knowingly shortchanging maintenance efforts, like prior to the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, heads should roll.

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The degree of PG&E’s responsibility for the fires remains uncertain. But Cal Fire forwarded evidence of “alleged violations of state law” in eight of 12 investigations to the appropriate local district attorneys. And Cal Fire has yet to complete its investigation of the Tubbs fire, which leveled portions of Santa Rosa and was the deadliest of the Wine Country blazes.

The utility released a prepared statement Friday saying, “Based on the information we have so far, we continue to believe our overall programs met our state’s high standards.”

That’s possible But Northern Californians have good reason for skepticism.

This is the utility that spent years trying to wriggle out of paying the $1.6 billion fine it received for negligence in the 2010 San Bruno disaster. PG&E was also found guilty by a U.S. District Court jury of deliberately impeding the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. More recently, a state PUC audit showed that PG&E violated electricity-grid safety regulations at least 11 times in the North Bay in the years prior to last fall’s fires. And the PUC said the utility had failed thousands of times over a five-year period to complete timely inspections and work orders required by the state regulator.

What PG&E hasn’t shortchanged is its lobbying efforts.

Since October the utility has repeatedly tried to get the PUC and the Legislature to pin the liability costs for the fires on ratepayers, rather than PG&E shareholders.

It’s a two-pronged strategy. First, the utility argues that the wildfires are a “new normal” due to climate change, and it shouldn’t bear the costs for changing weather conditions. At the same time, PG&E has also been stoking bankruptcy fears, saying that paying for damages would have a devastating impact on its ability to serve customers.

Neither argument is compelling.

If PG&E was so worried about climate change, why did it only purchase $800 million in liability insurance to cover costs in may incur.
As for the bankruptcy argument, PG&E made a similar case after the San Bruno explosion. But an independent financial audit by Overland Consulting in 2012 showed PG&E had sufficient capital and fundraising ability to absorb the costs of any significant fine. The PUC should order another audit of PG&E to determine its ability to pay whatever damages it may be responsible for from the Wine Country fires.

PG&E has generated $67 billion in revenues over the past four years and realized about $5 billion in profits, including $1.7 billion last year.

When PG&E rakes in profits, shareholders reap the benefits. But if PG&E fails to perform to state standards, if its actions lead to fatalities and property devastation, shareholders — and not ratepayers — should bear the ]cost.

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1   Hassan_Rouhani   ignore (2)   2018 Jun 12, 6:56pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

tovarichpeter says
PG&E has also been stoking bankruptcy fears, saying that paying for damages would have a devastating impact on its ability to serve customers.


So file for a bankrupcy you fucking fucks and let someone with more aptitude for running an utility take over.
2   HEYYOU   ignore (13)   2018 Jun 12, 8:09pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

tovarichpeter says
When PG&E rakes in profits, shareholders reap the benefits. But if PG&E fails to perform to state standards, if its actions lead to fatalities and property devastation, shareholders — and not ratepayers — should bear the ]cost.


Sounds like the TBTF. Bail 'em out! Stockholders do fine. They run thru $2 trillion at 0% interest. You paid interest on your loan.
No responsibility!
Thanks Dems & Reps.
3   Feux Follets   ignore (1)   2018 Jun 13, 3:27am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

@tovarichpeter

Are you some kind of communist radical troublemaker ?

Deny the shareholders their dividends and expect them to help actually pay for the inept management of the company ?

Blasphemer !

Why do you hate free market Capitalism ?

Next thing you will be promoting Marxist theories - very very sad
4   lostand confused   ignore (0)   2018 Jun 13, 4:28am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

This is what I have been saying about property taxes in IL-why should we the people pay more taxes because the government workers want to live in Caligulan splendor with lifetime guarantee of health benefits and pension?




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