October 22, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That Has Turned Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Public Safety Power Shutoffs

As in purposely shutting off electricity for days to nearly 800,000 customers, affecting some 2.5 million people. Billions of dollars lost in the greater economy, billions of dollars spent by local municipalities and government entities, not to mention untold dollars lost to residents and small business owners.   Heck, my local water district recently spent $900,000 plus to purchase generators to pump water during these PG&E shutoffs.

This will be a long post, but it's worth a read to learn about the convicted felon and for-profit utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company, or PG&E.
Never did I think I would live to see the day when 2/3 of the state of California is held hostage and at the mercy of a six-time convicted felon.

And who is the six-time convicted felon, you might ask?

None other than PG&E, or Pacific Gas and Electric Co.  A for-profit company and the largest utility supplier of electricity and natural gas in California, with customers throughout Northern and Central California.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist

Just what does PG&E stand for?  Glad you asked.

P  Pyromaniac.   Can't or otherwise refuses to maintain vegetation clearance around its utility equipment, even after being convicted of a felony after the 2010 San Bruno Fire (one of the company's 6 felony convictions) for failing to maintain vegetation clearance around its utility equipment.  The San Bruno Fire, in which a 30-inch highly pressurized PG&E natural gas distribution line exploded, burned down an entire residential neighborhood and killed 8 people.  Oh, and one of the reasons the fire was so bad is that PG&E didn't know where the shutoff valve was for the gas distribution line after the explosion.

And as for current vegetation clearance?  Well, it's 2019 and PG&E still isn't fulfilling its vegetation clearance requirements.  In a report released earlier this autumn by the US Bankruptcy Court in which PG&E is in its 2nd bankruptcy reorganization, I learned that PG&E had only completed 31% of vegetation/tree trimming around it's power lines that it was required to have completed by the end of this year.  Yep, only 31% of the yearly vegetation clearance completed and the year is 3/4, or 75%,  over.

G  Greedy.  And Gouging, as in Price Gouging.  PG&E, a utility company with an unmaintained, antiquated utility system in spite of billions of dollars paid by utility customers over the past decades for equipment improvements and maintenance.  Where has all of this money gone to?  Well, to shareholder profits, and to tony events like the recent luxurious dinner at the ultra expensive Silver Oak winery in Sonoma County, during  which a dozen or so PG&E natural gas executives entertained 60 or so of their largest natural gas customers.  And did so (1) on the 2-year anniversary of the devastating  Tubbs, Nuns, and Pocket Fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake fires that destroyed 5,300 homes, burned 110,000 acres, and killed 44 people; and (2) as PG&E was announcing planned power (electricity) shutoffs for nearly 800,000 of its electricity customers, including yours truly, informing customers they should plan to be without electricity for up to 5 days.

Oh, as far as ratepayer price gouging?  Well, PG&E has some of the highest utility rates in the nation, and they are only going up.  Natural gas rates went up last month.  Electricity rates are going up this month, adding an estimate $9 plus dollars to every residential electric bill.

And to add insult to injury, what did I get in the mail during the recent power shutoff?  Well of course, my PG&E bill.

I can only guess what is coming next.  (1)  An electric rate increase to make up for the lack of revenue PG&E has had during its unnecessary, self-imposed power (electricity) shutoffs.  (2)  How much you want to bet PG&E is going to develop some proprietary 'models' that somehow predict a possibility for an earthquake, and that they start shutting off natural gas to wide areas, same as they due to electricity now?

Yep, more ways to keep utility customers on their knees, at the mercy of PG&E.

E  Extortionist.  PG&E customers in Northern and Central California are now at the mercy of PG&E, for shutoff of all electricity due to supposed weather conditions that may spark wildfires.  Never did I think I would see the headline story in the San Francisco Chronicle in which the PG&E CEO stated that these Planned Power Shutoffs would continue in Northern and Central California for 10 more years.  In other words, a new, Third World style, ways of life for PG&E utility customers.  Here's the mind numbing headline:

During the recent shutoffs that began October 9, PG&E started alerting the public that power (electricity) shutoffs would begin as soon as 12:01 AM Wednesday, October 9, and that customers should be prepared to be without electricity for at least 5 days.  Reason given?  Extreme weather conditions forecasted (heat and wind), and PG&E couldn't risk a wild fire starting, or vegetation that it had not cleared falling into its utility equipment and possibly sparking a fire.  Pleasant Hill, where I live and also maintain my home office (my husband Jim has a home office, too), was included in the electricity shutoff map.  

And as for these extreme weather conditions?  Well, on the day my electricity was shutoff by PG&E, my backyard weather station recorded a maximum wind gust of 8.1 degrees, and a high temperature of 79.3 degrees.  Hardly extreme weather conditions.

So on Tuesday, October 8, I was forced to shut my home office to prepare for the shutoff.  Baked sourdough sandwich loaf bread, sourdough Italian focaccia bread, mixed up sourdough pizza dough for skillet pizzas, bought groceries and ice, made reusable containers full of ice, dialed my chest freezer down, dialed the gas water heater to its hottest setting, made sure we had batteries, emergency equipment, food and an emergency supply of water, gas in the vehicles, and the rechargeable USB charger charged up.  Oh, and the 30 year old corded phone to plug into our home land line, which we have kept, one reason for emergency communication purposes.

And updating my email, voicemail, and website about the office closure for an unknown length of time.  And, during the week immediately before the October 15, 2019 tax due date for extended 2018 tax returns that I was in the process of completing for clients.

We were without electricity during the shutoff for 2 days.  Power was shutoff at my home and in a large part of south Pleasant Hill on Wednesday, October 9 through Thursday, October 10. 

Electricity was also shutoff to my neighbor fire station, Fire Station #2.  Had to run off of a diesel generator.  Fire Station #2 is on Geary Road, at Dorothy Road in Pleasant Hill.  No power to the fire station and adjacent south Pleasant Hill, but walk across Geary Road into Walnut Creek (Geary Road is a border between PH and WC), and everyone had electricity.

What utility company willfully shuts off
electricity to a Fire Station?
As in shuts off electricity to a Fire Station on purpose?

Oh, and before and during the shutoff, PG&E's communication came in the form of pre-recorded messages sent to phones, and similar text messages.  The messages instructed the receiver to go the the PG&E website for more information.  A website was continuously down before and during the power shutoffs.  PG&E's excuse for the website outage?  They upped their website servers to handle just double the visits they normally receive.  They didn't think they would receive 7 to 8 times for visitors to their website.

No kidding.  Some 2.5 million people without electricity, and PG&E only thinks their website visits will double.  Even though these 2.5 million people were told to go to the same website for information about the power shutoff.

Oh, and municipal governments and first responders had the same problem.  They were also told to go to the PG&E website for information.  So the power outage situation was generally as much of an unknown for these entities as it was for everyone else such as me.  Amazing, huh?

If PG&E can't even run a website, how can the company possibly run a mega gas and electric utility company?

At this point, Jim and I have no choice but to install a whole house generator run off natural gas.  We can't keep a home and 2 home based businesses running with days long electricity shutoffs by for-profit PG&E.  Whole house generator on the purchase list for next spring.  A couple other home maintenance and repair issues to fix first.

I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

1 comment:

  1. More power is being shut off now where I live in the Sierra region. Have a generator to run my rural well water pump so I have water for us and horses. But cant continue to live like this.


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