Electric Companies Misleading Public, Legislative Analyst Confirms

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Santa Monica–In a special report, the Sacramento Bee confirmed that California voters are being duped by electric utility company ads against Prop. 9. In their “Campaign ’98 ADWATCH,” (see attached copy) the Bee debunks the primary claims made in the anti-Prop. 9 ads which are paid for by the three private utilities — Edison, PG&E and SDG&E. The utilities are running millions of dollars of ads on TV, radio and in newspapers throughout the state to defeat Prop. 9.

The utility companies claim that Prop. 9 will leave the state’s taxpayers liable for $6 billion in bonds issued by the three utility companies. This contention is rebutted by the state’s official analysts. In a statement to the Bee, a deputy legislative analyst for the state, Mac Taylor, said, “It just seemed almost inconceivable to us that the state was going to take a $6 billion hit.”

“The utilities are lying to California voters with these anti-9 ads. Edison and the others will say anything to stop Prop. 9 because it will save Californians hundreds of dollars each year on electric bills by stopping a multi-billion dollar bailout of their companies,” said Prop. 9 co-chair Harvey Rosenfield. “Out of fear they have lied to California voters, but now they have been caught. The utilities should put to rest this deceptive ad campaign and debate the real issues of Prop. 9.”

The newest utility TV ad against Prop. 9 features Larry McCarthy, of the California Taxpayers’ Association, a group which, is “representing business taxpayers,” according to their own literature. In addition to the misleading claim about taxpayer liability, he contends that government credit ratings might be in trouble if Prop. 9 passes. The Bee reports that officials from three independent financial firms that set the ratings do not believe that McCarthy’s scenario is likely at all.

“The California Taxpayers’ Association is a well known corporate lobbying organization. It received $37,000 in dues from PG&E last year. In no way is this big business lobbyist a spokesperson for regular California taxpayers, who will be relieved of a multi-billion dollar bailout tax on electric bills if Prop. 9 passes” said Rosenfield.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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