Consumer Watchdog monitors California’s gas, electric, and oil companies, including municipal and investor-owned utilities, to protect ratepayers, consumers and the environment.
Our nonprofit worked decades ago to fight and rollback California’s electric deregulation debacle, including stopping a ratepayer bailout in the legislature and getting ratepayers’ money back. We fight today to prevent Californians from being duped again by similar utility and energy industry scams. Most recently, Consumer Watchdog is opposing a return to deregulation era markets through Governor Brown’s proposal for a Western grid, which would let Trump appointees invalidate California laws and agreements.
In recent year, Consumer Watchdog established the PUC Papers to document the players and their roles in the corruption scandal that has plagued California’s Public Utilities Commission, or PUC. The searchable database of more than 100,000 documents is a public resource for researchers, journalists and activists.
Consumer Watchdog has also fought price gouging by oil companies with extensive research and reporting on their price and supply manipulations. We have policed the California’s regulator of toxics and toxics industry, creating change in oversight and spurring cleanup of toxic sites. This includes a pending legal case against Boeing for cleanup of the Santa Susana nuclear waste site outside Los Angeles.
A Los Angeles City Council committee heard public debate Tuesday over the amount that a massive project known as the California Water Fix could add to the water bills of local ratepayers.
Young children play in the back yard under the shade of an avocado tree. The kids dig holes while their grandfather makes homemade guacamole. It's a scene that's played out at the Mariz family home in Maywood for years.
But no more.
"They found lead throughout my front yard but not as bad as the backyard. The backyard is worse," said Reynaldo Mariz.
Lead levels are so high that state officials have told Mariz to stay out of his backyard until it's cleaned. But until recently, his grand kids played in the contaminated dirt all the time.
Jane Fowler says she’s crippled with fear over Southern California Gas Co. resuming injections at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near her home.
The Granada Hills resident has endured headaches and nausea in recent years, she said, that would vanish when she distanced herself from the underground storage field, site of the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history.
One day after Sempra Energy’s regulated natural gas utility announced it had reopened the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage plant, a Southern California consumer activist group raised new questions about the San Diego energy giant’s close ties to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Governor’s Office rejected the groups’ report as old and baseless, saying there are no conflicts of interest and Brown-appointed regulators are holding utilities to account.
Do regulators in California have your back when utilities or industries run amok, or when there’s a threat to public health in your neighborhood?
Depending on how things go in a scheduled Aug. 23 state Senate confirmation hearing on Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest choice for a seat on the powerful state Public Utilities Commission, many millions of consumers could face both health risks and higher-than-necessary electric, gas and water bills for the next six years.
That’s the length of the term to which Brown appointed his longtime close aide Clifford Rechtschaffen, labeled a “lapdog” of the oil industry by some consumer advocates. Once confirmed, he can’t be fired by either Brown or the next governor.
The recent reopening of the Aliso Canyon natural gas reserve, source of the largest methane leak in U.S. history, should remind state lawmakers that regulation is as worthy of their focus as legislation.
A confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Gov. Jerry Brown’s top aide on oil and gas to the Public Utilities Commission gives the state Senate an opportunity to set the record straight on Aliso Canyon and the Achilles’ heel of the Brown administration.
There are some indications that Clifford Rechtschaffen, one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s two latest appointments to the state Public Utilities Commission, would be more of an advocate for utilities than for consumers, ratepayers and those adversely affected by environmental issues.
That’s why the Senate Rules Committee needs to ask tough questions of Rechtschaffen in his confirmation hearing this week.