Watchdog: PUC Must Go After Giving $6 Billion Credit Line To PG&E Pre-Bankruptcy, Raising Rates

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog called for the ouster of the California Public Utilities Commission over its decision late Monday to extend a $6 billion credit line to Pacific Gas & Electric in an unneeded emergency process that allowed no time for scrutiny. The unprecedented vote makes it easier for PG&E to go into bankruptcy today and avoid accountability to wildfire victims, ratepayers and taxpayers.

Maui Utilities’ Junket While Paradise Burned Should Spark New Rules For Real-time Disclosure of Lawmaker Trips

Los Angeles, CA -- In a letter to California’s legislative leaders, Consumer Watchdog today wrote that the shocking details of a utility junket in Maui with 12 state lawmakers while wildfires destroyed the state  should compel new immediate online disclosures about such trips.

Re-nomination of Current DWP Ratepayer Advocate A Betrayal of Ratepayers, Consumer Watchdog Says

Los Angeles, CA -- The re-nomination for a second term of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s ratepayer advocate, Fred Pickel, by a city-appointed committee is a betrayal of all of the municipal utility’s ratepayers, Consumer Watchdog said today. The Mayor and City Council should reject the recommendation or abolish the Office of Public Accountability that Pickel heads, the group said.

Consumer Watchdog Calls For Audit Of Tainted Process In Search For New LADWP Ratepayer Advocate

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today called the process of picking a new ratepayer advocate to head the Office of Public Accountability at the LA Department of Water and Power biased and called for an immediate investigation by the LA City Controller.

“We write with evidence of misconduct in the selection of a new Ratepayer Advocate and call upon Controller Galperin to investigate immediately,” Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and Liza Tucker wrote in a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Controller Ron Galperin. 

Top 10 US Insurance Companies Invest $51 Billion In Fossil Fuels

Los Angeles, CA — As a UN panel finds the world is losing the war with global warming and urgent action is needed, US insurance companies have reported holding more than $50.9 billion in fossil fuel investments that exacerbate climate change, according to reporting to national insurance regulators.

Consumer Watchdog’s review of public filings reveals nine of the 10 largest American insurance companies have considered the impact of climate change on their investments, but only two, AIG and Farmers, say that they have altered their investment strategy in response.

TV Ad Of Youngster Schooling Gov. Brown For Being “Being Cruel And Heartless” On Oil Drilling Hits San Francisco Airwaves

San Francisco, CA — A 30-second tv ad featuring a 9-year old  girl admonishing Governor Brown for allowing oil drilling next to homes airs today on CNN and MSNBC in advance of Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit kick-off this week in San Francisco.  The "Jerry's Kids" tv ad campaign is paid for by nonprofits Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch.

Watchdog Offers New Info That Western Power Market Plan is Enron All Over Again Without The Legal Remedy

Los Angeles, CA -- As the Governor is expected to announce special deliberations on utility proposals shortly, Consumer Watchdog offered new information to the legislature about problems with the proposed new Western power market. The group warned that legislation to subsume California’s electricity grid into a giant regional power trading system will not only open the state to trading manipulation, but permanently hobble California when it comes to prosecuting Enron-style manipulation in the future.

Google’s First-Quarter Lobbying Expenditures Top $5 Mmillion; AT&T, Comcast Each Surpass $4 Million

LOS ANGELES, CA – Google’s lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of this year topped $5 million, as the Internet giant sought to influence federal policymakers on issues including online privacy, competition, online advertising and online sex-trafficking, Consumer Watchdog said today.

DWP Rubberstamps $242 Million Tuesday Takeaway from Ratepayers In Violation Of Their Rights

Santa Monica, CA -- Today’s vote by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners for LADWP to transfer $242 million in ratepayer money to the City’s coffers is an illegal tax that should be either rebated or plowed into the LADWP’s electric infrastructure, said Consumer Watchdog and LADWP Advocacy Committee President Jack Humphreville.

Consumer Watchdog said that it was exploring legal options to have a court prevent the money from being taken from ratepayers to fill a city budget hole rather than for utility services.

Consumer Watchdog Decries LADWP Transfer Of $242 Million From Ratepayers To City Budget Without Voter Approval

Santa Monica, CA — The Board of Water and Power Commissioners for LADWP has put on its agenda a Tuesday vote to transfer nearly $242 million from “surplus” power rates — overcharges to ratepayers — to fill a hole in the city budget without voter approval at the ballot box.

Consumer Watchdog said such a so-called “transfer fee” should be illegal under Prop 26, which requires voter approval for such fees because they are really taxes.

Consumer Watchdog Backs Justice Department Bid to Block $85 Billion AT&T-Time Warner Deal

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today backed the U.S. Department of Justice suit to block AT&T’s planned purchase of Time Warner for $85 billion, saying that the proposed deal would give the giant company too much control over both content and distribution, limiting consumers’ choice and ultimately costing them more money.

“No matter what other motivations may exist for bringing this suit,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy and Technology Project Director, “It is the correct policy.”

Governor Signs Bill Benefitting One Company And His Sister

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.

Seriously, Will Governor Sign A Bill Benefitting Just One Developer And His Sister?

Every day, we have been scanning Governor Jerry Brown’s legislative updates. So far, he hasn’t signed SB 634, a bill with the innocuous, sleepy-sounding name of “Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency.” 

The bill is anything but innocuous and sleepy. 

We thought the days of bills benefitting just one company were over. They aren’t, and this one benefits not just developer Five Point Holdings, but Kathleen Brown, Jerry’s little sister.

L.A. Mayor Won't Speak Out Against Delta Tunnels After Contributions

Santa Monica, CA — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has refused to speak out against impending tax and rate hikes on Angelenos to fund the Delta Tunnels on the eve of a vote on Southern California’s funding of the project after receiving donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars from farming, engineering, and financing companies, including the Resnicks of The Wonderful Company that makes POM juice, says Consumer Watchdog.

Senate Completes Creation of “Brown Utility Commission,” Neutering PUC Independence

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.

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. 

Governor’s Sister Kathleen Brown Makes More Than $1 Million Dollars From Sempra Board Work, And Stands To Make More, As Regulators Favor Company And Resume Injections At Aliso Canyon Gas Reserve

Santa Monica, CA -- Sempra shareholders have profited wildly from the favorable decisions taken by Jerry Brown’s appointees since the Governor was elected, and his sister Kathleen Brown, a Sempra board member, has made more than $1 million in cash and stock since joining the board four years ago, Consumer Watchdog said today in a new report.

Fossil Fuel Electric Plant Developers Fund Brown’s Beijing Fling

Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog today called on the Public Utilities Commission to require disclosure of any communications about new, unnecessary natural gas-fired power plants in Southern California made during Governor Jerry Brown’s recent trip to Beijing to tout clean energy. The trip, during which energy company executives had intimate access to the governor and energy regulators, shows the need for greater transparency around power plant decision-making.