Pacific Gas & Electric is running a massive media campaign about Proposition 16. They’ve created a as-legally-masked-as-possible website entitled “Taxpayers Right to Vote”.
The premise of the propaganda website is
Help protect your right to vote. Right now local governments in California can spend public money or incur public debt to take over private electric businesses without letting local voters have the final say in the decision. In tough economic times like these, voters deserve the right to have the final say about how our money is spent
Sounds pretty dire, but then you realize that the proposition is entirely PG&E’s idea and you immediately have to find out what their motive is. PG&E have publicly stated that they plan to spend $25-$35 million on the campaign. So you know it’s gotta be good for them and bad for us lowly consumers and citizens. From my research it appears that, currently, municipal/county governments can play some political games to combine their buying power on energy contracts and explore energy options as a “Community Choice Aggregation Program.”
The CCA program, established in 2002, allows local governments to purchase blocks of power to sell to residents, and to construct municipal electricity generation facilities, which means that cities and counties can become competitors to private utilities. (Ballotpedia.org)
PG&E apparently doesn’t like this arrangement as it means that the local governments might be able to find ways of competing with PG&E’s monopoly on energy production and distribution. So they’re dressing it up in this “Taxpayers Right to Vote” nonsense and trying to scare people into voting for their proposition which would force 2/3 majority votes for local governments to enter in to CCA agreements.
I don’t even need to understand the situation to know that if PG&E is willing to spend $35 million to get this proposition to pass that it probably isn’t going to be good for me and my electric bill.