CPUC President and Energy Regulators Should Explain “Blackout Blackmail” Lies In State Reports About Aliso Blackouts Under Oath, Consumer Watchdog Says

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Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog has written legislative leaders to call for answers under oath from PUC President Michael Picker and other energy regulators about why state reports misrepresented Southern California natural gas reserves and capacity to invoke the threat of blackouts if Aliso Canyon’s gas reserves are shut down.

Read the letter here:

“New information, uncovered by engineer Bill Powers for Food & Water Watch and the Los Angeles Times, shows two recent reports by the CPUC, DWP, Southern California Gas and state energy regulators claiming blackouts will ensue if Aliso is curtailed are based on false information and key omissions,” Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court wrote to Senator pro Tem Kevin de Leon, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and utility oversight committee chairs Senator Mike Gatto, and Assmbly member Ben Hueso.

“We urge you to immediately call CPUC President Michael Picker and other energy regulators to appear under oath and explain these reports’ misrepresentations and omissions, as well as to what degree Southern California Gas authored the report meant to justify its continued use of the facilities.  In a recent state senate oversight hearing, Picker repeated some of the very same misrepresentations.”

The letter explains: “The reports, for example, fail to acknowledge a huge DWP natural gas reserve in Wyoming controlled by DWP. They also make inaccurate statements about the ability of the Honor Rancho storage field, 10 miles from Aliso Canyon and located on the same Los Angeles pipeline loop, to serve as an effective substitute for Aliso Canyon for reliability purposes.  The reports mischaracterize the capacity and nature of other reserves and power plants as wells. They also use inflated estimates of electric natural gas generation demand and make unsupported statements about pipeline capacity.

Court continues: “No individual authors are listed on the reports, but Southern California Gas, the owner of Aliso’s reserves, is listed as a co-author.  The public deserves to know who really wrote these reports. It appears that Southern California Gas, and its parent company Sempra, concocted these misrepresentations to preserve its investment in Aliso Canyon and that the PUC and energy regulators allowed the false statements to be published without scrutiny under the state seal.

“Those of us who were active in public life in Southern California at the turn of this century remember the blackout blackmail perpetrated by the energy pirates and the utilities, including SEMPRA, Southern California Gas’s parent company, against ratepayers and taxpayers.  The public deserves answers and we call upon you to use your subpoena power to demand them from Southern California Gas, Mr. Picker and the relevant state agencies.”

Read the LA Times story here:

The full report is available at:

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Jamie Court
Jamie Court
Consumer Watchdog's President and Chairman of the Board is an award-winning and nationally recognized consumer advocate. The author of three books, he has led dozens of campaigns to reform insurance companies, financial institutions, energy companies, political accountability and health care companies.

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