FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Mark Beach, AARP
STATEMENT OF AARP CALIFORNIA STATE DIRECTOR NANCY McPHERSON OPPOSING SB 901:
“Late last night, the California Wildfire Preparedness and Response Conference Committee released a revised version of SB 901, and it is bad news for California electricity ratepayers.
This bill is being rushed through the legislature without sufficient time for proper review and debate because lawmakers want to go home for the year on Friday. There is, however, no excuse for passing a bad bill just to say they’ve done something. Sometimes nothing is better than something – and that is surely true in this case.
As written, SB 901 allows PG&E to issue bonds to pay off wildfire costs dating back to 2015, which includes the devastating Butte County and Santa Rosa/Tubbs fires. But these costs would be borne directly by California ratepayers, not by PG&E shareholders – and as we have learned, these costs could haunt ratepayers for 20 years to come. In 2000, bonds were issued to pay for losses related to the Enron-created electricity crisis, and Californians are STILL paying that bill today. We simply cannot afford a repeat performance.
Instead of rushing through poorly crafted legislation that increases the financial burden on Californians while doing nothing to address the prevention or mitigation of wildfires, the legislature and Governor Brown should table SB 901 and begin fresh in the new legislative session – with the goal of crafting a bipartisan, comprehensive approach to the ever-growing threat of wildfires in California.”