Wednesday, July 02, 2008

PG&E Not Afraid To Lobby; Will Money Talk in Public Power Fight?

The San Francisco Bay Guardian blog notes that PG&E has been one of the most active major utilites in the country when it comes to lobbying, and that a proposed charter amendment in San Francisco that calls for the formulation of a public power plan (PG&E opposes the amendment) likely will be met with the same lobbying ferocity that the utility unleashed on Yolo County in 2006. ($11 million in lobbying qualifies as ferocious, doesn't it?)

According to stats compiled from and reported by the Guardians's Amanda Witherell, PG&E has spent over $200,000 so far this year on local lobbying here in California, "mostly wining and dining California Public Utilities Commissioners, influencing election outcomes, and paying the salaries of their employees who sit on public boards..."

And, lest you think PG&E is a lobbying juggernaut in a league of its own, consider this: SoCalEd spends more on influence peddling, as does the lobbying cooperative Edison Electic Institute (of which PG&E is also a member.

So, as San Francisco gets ready to take up the public power question, it looks like there is no question that PG&E will write whatever check necessary to fight the measure.

PG&E lobbying doubletime [San Francisco Bay Guardian]