Energy & Environment

Energy

Consumer Watchdog monitors California’s gas, electric, and oil companies, including municipal and investor-owned utilities, to protect ratepayers, consumers and the environment.   We police the recycling industry to make sure consumers get their bottle deposits back, recycling is deposed of appropriately, and programs are effective.

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. 

In recent years, 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.

 


Focus Areas:

End of Session Hijinks In Sacramento Leave Consumers In Cold

As the legislature ended its business for the year in the early morning hours, legislative leaders proclaimed a prolific progressive session. Not so if you care about consumer protection.

Key public interest causes were abandoned because of the power of the usual moneyed interest groups and the dependency of state house politicians on them.

Power Grid Expansion Plan Withdrawn Amid Political Backlash

The late-session plan to restructure management of the California power grid skidded to a halt Wednesday in the wake of growing opposition from interest groups and a spate of negative publicity.

While lobbyists and advocacy groups spent much of the week pressing for passage or defeat of the proposal long-backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the lawmaker who introduced the bill withdrew his dual measures early in the afternoon.

CAISO Expansion Legislation Delayed Until 2018

According to Natural Resources Defense Council, which backs the move towards regionalization of western energy markets, Holden has said the issue will likely be revisited in January during the second half of California’s two-year session.

For now, the conservation group sees a lost opportunity. A quarter of the country's power flows through the Western grid, connecting more than a dozen states, two Canadian provinces and Northern Mexico. Nearly 40 separate entities manage day-to-day grid operations.

EDITORIAL: Shame on Sacramento: Power-Grid Power Play No Way To Run A State

There is just one reason lawmakers try to push through rewritten bills in the final days of the California Legislature’s session each and every September: It’s because they know the more scrutiny the proposals get, the less chance they have of passage. That’s a contemptible, undemocratic rationale.

Legislature Pulls Brown’s Electric Deregulation Plan Ramrod After Public Backlash

Sacramento, CA – A public backlash against Governor Brown’s eleventh hour attempt to give Western energy barons and Trump officials power over California’s energy and the state’s laws has ended for the year.

Assembly Member Chris Holden has stated his last-minute bills will not go forward after activists and newspaper editorial boards condemned the backroom dealing and ramrod of complex proposals with only days left in the legislative session.

Governor Brown’s Former Cabinet Secretary Secretly Lobbying for California’s Grid Operator

Santa Monica, CA — Governor Brown’s former cabinet secretary, and former executive for Pacific Gas & Electric, Dana Williamson, is said to be lobbying in the state Capitol to ramrod through reauthorization of a regional trading market for electricity that set up the state’s disastrous energy crisis two decades ago, according to legislative sources.

Watchdog Warns Gov. Brown’s 11th Hour Western Grid Proposal Will Let Trump Gut CA Laws

Sacramento, CA – Consumer Watchdog today wrote the California Senate that a proposal backed by Governor Brown for a regional electricity market would allow Donald Trump’s appointees to invalidate California ratepayer and environmental protection laws.

The last-minute legislation has the backing of some of the same corporate environmentalist groups and unions that backed electricity deregulation in the late 1990s and in fact reauthorizes a law first passed during California’s deregulation debacle to create a Western trading market. 

KNBC TV-4 Los Angeles, CA: Exide Cleanup Under Fire for Leaving Homes With Contamination

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.