Utility Trots Out Shills and Turncoats in TV/Radio Lobbying Effort
Citizen advocates are blasting Southern California Edison for spending millions of dollars on an advertising campaign in support of legislation to require ratepayers to bail out the utility.
The ads, announced today by Edison, feature many of the same corporate spokespeople and letterhead organizations that Edison and PG&E used to oppose a 1998 initiative, Proposition 9, that would have blocked $20 billion in surcharges that California ratepayers were forced to pay under deregulation.
“Edison, which claims it is so broke that the taxpayers and ratepayers of the state have to bail it out, has suddenly found millions of ratepayer dollars to spend on their effort to get a five billion dollar bailout from lawmakers and the Governor,” said Doug Heller, consumer advocate with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). “Edison is running these desperate and deceptive ads to bolster their greedy plan to force ratepayers to pay for Edison‘s mistakes.”
FTCR noted that corporate huckster David Horowitz will be once again featured in this ad campaign, and the group is warning consumers to ignore his defense of Edison. Horowitz was a paid spokesman for the utilities during their campaign against Prop. 9 and was hired by Edison Electric Institute in January of this year to promote an Edison bailout. A full report on former journalist Horowitz’ sell-out of consumers is available on-line at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/ftcr/goons.php3.
“Edison is so desperate that they’ve resuscitated the state’s #1 master of deceit, David Horowitz, whose efforts to portray himself as a ‘consumer advocate’ are contradicted by the money he is paid to defend corporations,” said Heller. “He was paid $136,000 by the utilities to front for them in 1998. David Horowitz’ efforts can best be summarized as ‘Kick Back’ not ‘Fight Back.'”
FTCR and the state’s consumer groups have actively opposed Edison‘s bailout proposal and will place an initiative on the 2002 ballot to undo any such plan. Consumer advocates with FTCR were particularly disappointed that business groups and labor leaders have agreed to participate in this Edison bailout campaign.
“The business community and California workers alike will be financially devastated when they get their electricity bills, if Edison has its way.”