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.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s two latest nominees to the California Public Utilities Commission were confirmed by state lawmakers in the closing hours of the legislative session despite a campaign to stop one of the nominations.
The confirmations of Commissioners Clifford Rechtschaffen and Martha Guzman Aceves were announced Saturday by commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper.
Several groups have gathered at Los Angeles City Hall today to call for the firing of an official watchdog charged with fighting for the interests of Department of Water and Power customers.
Representatives of Consumer Watchdog and other groups say the utility’s official “ratepayer advocate,” Fred Pickel, has not been working on the side of utility customers. As a result, they have launched a campaign to oust him.
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.
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.
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.