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.
Los Angeles, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom gave supermarkets and other dealers of beverages carrying a five or ten cent deposit another 60-day reprieve on refunding deposits, putting greater pressure on too few redemption centers to serve millions of Californians. California now joins Iowa’s Republican Governor as the only states letting the retailers off the hook for redeeming bottles.
Los Angeles, CA—As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, new oil well permits under Gov. Gavin Newsom rose 7.8% in the first quarter of 2020 through April 4, compared to the first quarter of 2019, Consumer Watchdog and FrackTrackerAlliance reported today. The Newsom Administration issued 1,623 permits during the first quarter of 2020. It also approved 24 fracking permits after a nine-month moratorium. The total number of permits issued under Newsom since he took office in January 2019 is 6,168.
Los Angeles, CA — A major reform bill to fix California’s broken bottle deposit system and get consumers back hundreds of millions in unredeemed deposits failed in the California Senate today after the wine and liquor industry joined with the beverage industry to unleash their lobbyists against the proposal. The bill is now on the inactive file after failing on the floor last night with 17 votes in favor.
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.
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.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California Senate panel gave narrow approval Wednesday to Gov. Jerry Brown's two recent appointees to a powerful utilities commission after imploring them to restore public trust in an agency that's been damaged by scandals and environmental disasters, including the largest-known methane gas leak in U.S. history.
The California Senate Rules Committee voted 3 to 0 on August 23 to confirm Governor Jerry Brown’s nomination of Clifford Rechtschaffen and Martha Guzman Aceves as commissioners on the California Public Utilities Commission, but Senate leaders said the two have serious questions to answer before the confirmation is put to a floor vote.
Consumer advocates speaking at the hearing strongly opposed Rechtschaffen because of his history of coziness with Big Oil and Big Gas interests under the Brown administration. Nobody at the hearing voiced specific opposition to Aceves’ confirmation.
Los Angeles, CA -- The Los Angeles City Council should reject a recommendation by Fred Pickel, Director of the Office of Public Accountability at the LADWP, that the city back tunnels altering water diversions South from the San Francisco Bay Delta, and should fire him for once again favoring utility over ratepayer interests, Consumer Watchdog said today.
“Pickel’s assertions that the Delta tunnel project is affordable for ratepayers is pure fantasy,” said Consumer Watchdog Advocate Liza Tucker.