If you still think PG&E should survive as a company with its greedy Wall Street noose around the collective necks of 16 million Northern California residents, try this on for size.
PG&E was downright giddy Tuesday as they expect the fact they killed 85 people, almost wiped the Town of Paradise off the map, paid people dimes on the dollar for burning 14,000 homes, and turning another 5,000 buildings such as schools, churches and hospitals to toxic smoldering waste to make them more profitable than ever.
In Pathetic Greed & Electric’s own calculations they will have a net profit of $454 million this year. By 2024 they project to pocket $2.4 billion in profits.
They made a tad under $1.7 billion in 2017 before the end result of years of squeezing out every penny possible for profit by shortchanging equipment replacement and brush removal changed the lives of 70,000 plus people in Butte County forever.
How are they can become so profitable so quickly after their second confirmed mass killing thanks to the incessant drive to maximize profit by ignoring infrastructure is simple. They have the “silent” help of Gov. Gavin Newsom and the pockets of almost every California legislator whose pockets they’ve lined with campaign contributions when they aren’t busy fawning over them at retreats in Hawaii.
PG&E plans on raising rates on its 16 million customers by 8 percent annually through 2024. Given that is compounded each year and the fact it doesn’t include the Pinocchio Gas & Electric’s proposed rate hike of 12 percent this year, your PG&E bill will skyrocket by about 50 percent. It’s a small price to pay to keep PG&E humming along blowing up neighborhoods and burning ratepayers to death. If your current bill is $200 a month you’ll end up shelling out another $100. That’s $1,200 a year to make PG&E the hedge fund darling of Wall Street and to make sure CEOs can continue their killing spree rewarded with seven figure bonuses is the least we can do for a company that burns out fellow Californians and is so Third World that we are forced to endure deliberate blackouts. PG&E’s business model ripped a page from the playbook of drug-cartel ravaged Columbia where electricity costs keep rising, power goes out for long periods of time and you don’t know if you’re going to be killed before the sun goes down.
If you end up paying $1,200 more a year rest assured PG&E will pocket close to $130 of that at a minimum as pure profit. That’s because the state guarantees for-profit power providers such as PG&E a return of almost 11 percent.
The rate increases are needed to get PG&E out of hock for their lawsuit settlements as well as spending upwards of $41 billion on replacing equipment they should have done years ago that in many cased they asked for — and received — rate increases to address and then padded their bottom line instead.
That means their spending of $41 billion on upgrades that you are paying will net them a profit of at least $4.2 billion.
So how can the legislature and the governor short of buying PG&E and turning it into a public entity make sure the for-profit utility doesn’t get even richer by paying for its many sins that includes death and destruction on a scale that would make Godzilla green with envy?
That’s simple. The legislature can pass a bill and Newsom sign it into law that prohibits a regulated public utility from profiting from any rate hikes needed to address safety issues or replace equipment identified as being in less than stellar condition through bonuses, dividends or profits in any shape or form.
PG&E should be happy they might stay be standing. But in California with built in guarantees of profits on everything that a for-profit utility touches or is involved with PG&E will be rolling in the dough.
The bottom line is PG&E can run a shoddy business, kill off ratepayers, and destroy the lives of tens and thousands of people and end up making even more money than they did when they let customers live and didn’t wipe out all of their worldly belongings. What self-respecting Wall Street hedge fund manager wouldn’t want to get a piece of that action?
And making it all possible are the 16 million Northern Californians that serve as ATMs for PG&E’s every want and desire whether it is doling out $12 million in bonuses to executives that helped drive the company into bankruptcy or buying corporate jets.
Let’s not forget the 85 people they killed and 19,000 homes and other buildings they destroyed. Because their payouts are a tax write off it will allow PG&E to pocket every cent they make in profit for years to come.
As it stands now, PG&E thanks to tax credits for infrastructure investments the managed to squeeze into more profits has not paid a penny on federal income taxes in 11 years.
When 2024 rolls around the $2.4 billion profit they project will be tax free thanks to the horrific suffering their indicted on 85 people they burned to death and the losses of 70,000 people who were forced to settle for dimes on the dollar for their losses just so PG&E can remain a viable entity so they pile up even more obscene profits.
It’s clear that PG&E’s ability to dig out of yet another hole it created is going to be done on the backs of struggling families, the elderly with limited income, and the poor such as farmworkers.
Since the people are paying for PG&E’s mistakes that in the case of the San Bruno pipeline explosion cost 8 customers with their lives and their homes just so the for-profit utility can start peeling off $2.4 billion annually by 2024, a strong case can be made for converting it into a series of regional and local publically owned systems.
And for those who think that this is the first time PG&E profits are expected to soar after spilling blood and taking out entire neighborhoods, the company’s profits also increased significantly after the San Bruno natural gas line explosion.
By not getting rid of PG&E before it gets rid of more ratepayers and their homes, the state is making it clear the lives of constituents are expandable as the most important thing is not a safe, reliable and affordable energy system as it is to make sure PG&E profits soar.
Perhaps the bite may be less painful if PG&E embarked on an advertising blitz aimed at reforming their image.
If they go for truth in advertising they might want to go with, “PG&E: Working to drive you to the poor house and/or burn you out of your house.”