McLaughlin Calls for PG&E to have its public franchise terminated and replaced by a publicly owned and operated utility.​

RICHMOND, CA – Gayle McLaughlin, 12-year elected official in Richmond and candidate for Lt. Governor of California, today announced that for several decades, through greed and mismanagement, PG&E has done extensive damage to California and its residents.​ Thus, the utility should have their franchise terminated and replaced with a publicly owned an operated utility. Much like the city of Sacramento, which has a publicly-owned utility that safely delivers quality services for lower rates.​

From 1952 to 1966. As documented in the 2000 film, Erin Brockovich, PG&E dumped “roughly 370 million gallons” of chromium 6-tainted wastewater into unlined wastewater spreading ponds around the town of Hinkley, CA. More than 1,000 people were affected and residents of Hinkley filed a successful lawsuit against PG&E in which the company paid $333 million.

In 1997, PG&E was found guilty in Nevada City of a pattern of tree-trimming violations that sparked a devastating 1994 wildfire in the Sierra. PG&E was convicted of 739 counts of criminal negligence for failing to trim trees near its power lines—the biggest criminal conviction ever against the state’s largest utility.

In 2001 PG&E participated in the energy market manipulation. Having previously divided itself into PG&E production of electricity and PG&E distribution, the latter purchased electricity from the former at exorbitant prices resulting in a $9 billion debt for the state and rate increases of over 40% for many years for ratepayers.

In 2010 PG&E incinerated San Bruno, again putting corporate greed and profits over people. Eight people died in the inferno caused by a 30-inch (76 cm) diameter steel natural gas owned by PG&E exploding into flames in the Crestmoor residential neighborhood. PG&E was convicted of 5 felonies but no executive went to jail.

In 2017 the Santa Rosa and North Bay fires killed at least 42 people and incinerated 5000 homes and buildings. Investigations are still underway, but many experts point to PG&E’s power lines, which were built and maintained in a way that made them de facto fire hazards. PG&E absentee investors are paid higher profits when moneys are saved from maintenance of PG&E’s infrastructure. PG&E asks the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for rates that cover needed infrastructure repairs and upgrades. After receiving approval for increased rates and passing them on the ratepayers, any “economizing” produces leftover funds that go to executives and shareholders.

Take note: According to the Mercury News, PG&E profits nearly doubled during the second quarter of 2017, “reaching $406 million on the heels of a jump in monthly utility bills that went into effect in January.”

The city of Sacramento has a publicly-owned utility that safely delivers quality services for lower rates. We can have the same for the entire state. PG&E must have its public franchise terminated and replaced by a publicly owned and operated utility.

This will require us to get active and support corporate-free candidates that fight for the 99% and are not afraid to confront corporations, whether they are PG&E, Chevron or Big Pharma. I am running for Lt. Governor to bring the success we had in Richmond, fighting AND winning against corporate giants, to the statehouse.

We are building a winning campaign centered around putting people before profits!