Friday, April 09, 2010
Since they've started on us, in the form of this mailer and endless TV spots, it is time to start on them.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the major northern utility company, is afraid that some California cities might want to offer consumers the choice to join a pool (a Community Choice Aggregation -- CCA) to buy their electricity. In 2002 the state legislature legalized this. It's a sort of local "public option" for electricity buyers. Community members could stay with PG&E if they chose. But municipal CCAs have been able to negotiate lower rates than individuals and businesses. If they did, PG&E wouldn't make quite so much money.
So PG&E is trying to buy protection from this terrible eventuality by passing a statewide initiative, by a majority vote, that would require any area wanting to set up a CCA to hold a vote on the CCA that would have to pass by a two-thirds margin. That's right: we are voting by majority vote to require a two-thirds vote for something that is already a legal option.
Sneaky, huh? According to the San Jose Mercury, PG&E is spending more than $25 million to convince us to hobble attempts to compete with them.
The June California ballot: yet another of the best elections money can buy. (And I haven't even started on Republican Meg Whitman who has indicated she'll spend $150 million of her own money to be elected governor so she can cut state spending and protect herself from taxes.)