Statements Of Consumer Groups Regarding Defeat Of Proposition 9, The Utility Rate Reduction And Reform Act

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San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA — Consumer advocates who spearheaded the grassroots effort to pass Proposition 9 made the following statements in response to the measure’s defeat in Tuesday’s election.

“We’re obviously disappointed that three private utility companies will continue to reap billion dollar benefits from a Legislative sweetheart deal. And we are further disappointed that California consumers will still pay for that deal on our inflated electric bills,” said Harvey Rosenfield, co-author of Prop. 9. “The utilities bought the Legislature to get the deal, they bought the political establishment, and then they spent more than $41 million to buy the election. Because of that, only the utility company side was heard by the voters.”

“As consumer advocates, we justly challenged the utilities’ corporate welfare,” said Harry Snyder, senior advocate of Consumers Union, which supported Prop. 9. “As individuals, we must all challenge a political process that so blatantly favors money over people. This vote is not a vindication of California’s current electric restructuring plan — instead, it’s a dramatic example of the triumph of money in politics.”

“We lost this battle, but we’re still committed to our mission to improve this outrageously lopsided deal for California consumers.” said Nettie Hoge, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, (TURN). “We will continue to challenge the utilities in every possible venue. We will return to the legislature to press for equity and work with those committed legislators who acknowledged the problems in California’s current deregulation plan. We will press the Public Utilities Commission and the legislature to provide full disclosure of the current status of ‘stranded cost’ collection, to prevent any extensions to the recovery time for these bad investments and to explore an early end to the bailout. We will make sure that the utilities follow through on commitments they made to all customer groups to hasten the arrival of real competition. We look forward to working with new allies that we discovered and the many new grassroots advocates who joined us in this struggle. We intend to continue to help consumer advocates from other states who have contacted us about how to avoid the same unfair utility bailouts in their states.”

“Hundreds of volunteers with the new institute for grassroots democracy, the Oaks Project, spent many hours reaching out to individual voters during this campaign,” said Rosenfield. “They each deserve a badge of courage, given the powers aligned against them. The current political process rarely allows small citizen groups to be heard by the voters. But the defeat of Prop. 9 hasn’t defeated the dedication of Oaks Project volunteers. Instead, they see more clearly the obstacles placed in the way of the public interest, and the ways that democracy has been corrupted.”

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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