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PG&E spending $44M on Prop. 16; seeking $2 billion in higher rates
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PG&E has pumped an additional $9.5 million into their bid to amend the California Constitution to make it tougher for not-for-profit utilities to start-up in their service territory.

The latest state-required campaign contribution disclosure form shows that PG&E has now poured $44.2 million into its bid to get Proposition 16 passed on June 8. By contrast, the opposition has raised just $36,000.

Proposition 16 would amend the state constitution to require a two thirds vote any time any local jurisdiction may be in a position to provide retail power for less than PG&E.

The South San Joaquin Republicans have reversed their previous position supporting PG&E and are now urging its members, Republicans, and others to vote against Proposition 16.

The reasons the conservative group cited are as follows:
•One of the advantages of PG&E being able to spend $44.2 million on Proposition 16 is the utility gets to say thousands of times in advertisements that the measure is good for California. But just because PG&E says that over and over, it doesn’t make it true. Proposition 16 has only one real purpose: limit PG&E’s competition in the energy field.
•Proposition 16 would give PG&E monopoly status, and confirm that status in the California Constitution. The measure is self-serving and misleading.
•If PG&E really were concerned about a fair vote on creating municipal utilities, it would not have written Proposition 16 to require a two-thirds vote to make a change. Proposition 16 would give one-third of the voters the power to block public utilities, and PG&E figures that will guarantee its monopoly

PG&E Chief Executive Officer Pete Darbee at a March shareholders gathering openly admitted the measure is about protecting PG&’E’s monopoly as opposed to official PG&E campaign mantra that it is about protect taxpayers’ right to vote. PG&E netted $1.22 billion in profits during 2009. Darbee was compensated $9.4 million for running PG&E last year

PG&E is seeking more than $2 billion in rate hikes - the biggest in its history - effective Jan. 1, 2010 over a three-year period primarily to improve its aging infrastructure.

The ratepayers advocacy group known as Toward Utility Rate Normalization (TURN) notes that PG&E rates are already higher than public utilities, higher than almost electric utilities in California, and higher than almost all electric utilities in the United States.