June 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Opinion: Brown’s Naiveté in Assuming Fair PUC

Gov. Jerry Brown has made this year something like a farewell tour, traveling the world as the de facto leader of American environmentalism and basking in compliments from major state and national media over his bringing California back from financial collapse while growing the state’s economy into the world’s fifth largest.

These are major achievements, not to be denied, but neither can anyone deny the fact he has at least tolerated corruption and unfairness from his appointees to the state’s most powerful regulatory commissions.

Photo: Courtesy.
California Governor Jerry Brown. 

The outgoing governor’s naivete toward his favored officials has been staggering, and a recent veto message from him demonstrates the unsuspecting trust he continues to give them.

Brown, for example, knew the unfairness of the grant-giving practices of the state Energy Commission as it doled out multi-million-dollar grants for building hydrogen refueling stations around the state while preparing for use of H2-powered cars whose exhaust is nothing but drops of water. No greenhouse gases at all.

Building the stations with gasoline tax money was a worthy project, but at one point that commission had to pull back $28 million in grants because this column exposed the sheer unfairness of its grant-giving process. Later, the commission refused to cancel a large grant to an outfit whose leader had trained the commission’s own staff in how to evaluate grant applications – and then just three months later submitted one that fit all criteria he had trained staff to look for.

Brown knew about these plainly unjustified actions, but did nothing and in fact reappointed the commission’s chairman, Robert Weisenmiller.

His actions toward the even more powerful state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) have been similar. When the commission’s former president, Michael Peevey, met secretly with utility executives to hash out a clandestine deal sticking consumers with most costs for the failure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Brown did not object and let Peevey serve out his term.

Then he appointed his former aide Michael Picker, who voted for that corrupt San Onofre settlement as one of his first acts on the commission, to replace Peevey. As The Who once sang, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Now Brown has vetoed a relatively minor bill designed to keep homeowners using rooftop solar photovoltaic power from being overcharged. The bill, by Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno, demanded that electric providers like Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric compute the state’s average residential power use and set a baseline quantity for residential electricity, excluding power generated by customers themselves.

Brown’s veto message called the bill “premature.” He noted that the PUC already can exclude customers with “onsite generation” when it figures average consumption.

Said Brown, “The commission will determine whether or not to exclude customers with onsite generation through the general rate case process…I believe the commission will act to ensure that energy costs to ratepayers are fair and equitable.”

That’s about as naïve a statement as anyone could make about energy price regulation in this state, which has the highest electric rates in the Lower 48 states, and features utility companies continually pressing for even more profits.

It’s a fairy tale to believe the PUC’s processes are fair and equitable. Rather, they have been stacked in favor of utilities for more than half a century, with some PUC members moving to big utility company jobs and some utility executives, like Peevey, moving onto the commission.

The general rate case process cited so trustingly by Brown has also long been as good as fixed. Utilities invariably request larger-than-needed rate increases even when profits are historically high, all the while knowing the PUC will cut their proposals by about half and then brag about “saving” money for consumers.

So there’s every reason to believe the PUC will conspire with utilities that hate the idea of rooftop solar to penalize those who install it. It’s simply naïve to think otherwise, as Brown plainly does.

The bottom line: There’s no disputing the constructive aspects of Brown’s second eight years as governor. But there’s also no doubt about the unfair practices and actions he’s tolerated and/or approved.

Related Posts

LA County Issues Ocean Water Use Warning for Several Beaches on the First Day of Summer

June 21, 2024

June 21, 2024

Elevated Bacterial Levels Prompt Health Advisory for Popular Coastal Spots Sadly, on the first day of Summer, the Los Angeles...

THIS WEEKEND: “Venice Summer Fest 2024” Will Celebrate Local Artists, Brands, and Designers

June 21, 2024

June 21, 2024

Over 400 Artists Will Exhibit and Sell Their Original Creations  The Venice Summer Fest 2024 will take place on Saturday,...

This Palisadian Will Be the Youngest Ever U.S. Olympian in Beach Volleyball

June 21, 2024

June 21, 2024

Miles Partain, 22, Is One of Several Olympians That Came Out of Pali High By Zach Armstrong Palisadian talent will represent...

(Video) Sport Fishing and Whale Watching on the Pacific Offered by MDR Sportfishing

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

Located Out of Marina del Rey, More Information Can Be Found at mdrsf.com @smmirrornews Operating out of Marina del Rey,...

Roman-Style Pizza Chain Opens on Main Street

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

The Chain’s Menu Boasts Fresh Ingredients for Its Variety of Tradition, Gluten-Free and Vegan Options By Zach Armstrong Today on...

Sci Fi Museum’s Lease Gets Terminated at Former Sears Building

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

The News Comes as a Slew of Controversies Surround the Museum and Its Founder By Zach Armstrong Amid tumultuous setbacks...

Pride-Colored Towers Vandalized During Pride Month for Two Straight Years in Palisades

June 20, 2024

June 20, 2024

L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath Stated That the Graffiti Will Be Removed By Zach Armstrong For two consecutive years, pride-colored lifeguard...

Film Review: Hit Man

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

FILM REVIEWHit ManRated R115 MinutesLimited run in theatres May 24th – June 7th, Released June 7th on Netflix Based on...

What to Expect at This Year’s “Pier 360 Beach Festival”

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

The Festival Will Honor Jeff Ho, Iconic Surfboard Shaper and Founder of the Zephyr Surf Team, and Kathy Kohner Zuckerman,...

Judge Blocks Barrington Plaza Evictions, Citing Legal Violations

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

Owner Douglas Emmett Inc. Sought to Evict Nearly 600 Tenants Last Year, Citing Safety Upgrades The eviction of hundreds of...

Yoga Gurus Sentenced for Defrauding Malibu Doctor

June 19, 2024

June 19, 2024

Dr. Sawusch Had a Successful Medical Practice in Pacific Palisades and Amassed Significant Wealth Through Investments A federal judge sentenced...

Thief Steals $4K of Jewelry from 3rd Street Promenade Store

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

The Owner Says a Similar “Smash-And-Grab” Incident Took Place Earlier This Year By Zach Armstrong A Ring camera placed inside...

Homeless Man Arrested in Santa Monica for Burglary and Arson

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Suspect Faces Multiple Charges After Incidents Patrol officers responded to a commercial burglary call on Saturday, May 25, at approximately...

Baby Blues BBQ Reopens in Venice Nearly Two Years After Devastating Fire

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

The Eatery Has Been Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and the Food Network By Zach Armstrong Almost two years after...

Tech Entrepreneur and Developer Company Buy Promenade Shops for $103M: Report

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Acquisitions Include 1202, 1222, 1225, 1232, 1339, and 1344 Third Street Promenade Federal Realty Investment Trust has sold eight parcels...