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 — As California’s Governor traverses the world urging it to wake up to climate change, California’s leading consumer group called on Brown to take note of how much tougher Europe is on oil and gas companies than he has been. Brown has yet to support or approve limits on fossil fuel infrastructure in California, even though he has increased renewable energy and efficiency standards and championed low carbon fuel standards.
Corruption can kill.
The fires that laid waste to California’s Wine Country and at least 42 lives were not merely the product of a changing climate and extra-heated winds.
Early reports suggest the failure of Gov. Jerry Brown and his appointees to adequately regulate our public utilities to prevent such fires also fueled the fast-moving flames.
Santa Monica, CA — Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation merging two water districts to benefit Five Point Holdings, builder of a massive new development called Newhall Ranch in northern L.A. County. Kathleen Brown, the governor’s sister, sits on the board and was paid $122,667 in 2016, according to a Five Point prospectus filed with the SEC.
Santa Monica, CA — Governor Brown’s sister Kathleen was paid $122,667 in 2016 as a member of the board of Five Point Holdings, a developer about to benefit from Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on a bill crafted to ensure that its controversial planned community called Newhall Ranch has plentiful access to water in a thirsty desert, Consumer Watchdog said today.
Santa Monica, CA — The California Senate completed Governor Jerry Brown’s consolidation of the California Public Utility Commission in the hands of three of his closest former aides and two of his former appointees, guaranteeing half a decade of influence by the utility-friendly Governor long after he leaves office, Consumer Watchdog said today.
Dozens of water agencies and millions of families and farmers could be on the hook for building two giant tunnels to carry Northern California's water southward under new plans to shore up funding for the $16 billion project.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dozens of water agencies and millions of families and farmers would be on the hook for building two giant tunnels to carry Northern California's water southward under new plans to shore up funding for Gov. Jerry Brown's $16 billion project.
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.
Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog, Food & Water Watch, DWP ratepayers and other advocacy groups rally today in front of City Hall to urge the Los Angeles City Council to fire DWP ratepayer advocate Fred Pickel for selling out ratepayers instead of protecting their interests.
“Pickel is an energy consultant whose bread has always been buttered by utilities," said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. "He has taken every opportunity to support LADWP while disregarding ratepayers and providing dismal customer service.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.