Don’t be surprised if a form with the following wording doesn’t inserted into with your next monthly bill as part of PG&E’s never ending journey to absolve itself of all responsibility for corporate wrong doing.
“Dear PG&E victim:
“In order to better serve the interests of shareholders, Wall Street hedge funds, and to assure adequate funding for the powers that be who occupy the corporate suites at your benevolent power provider known as Pyromaniacs, Gougers & Exterminaters (PG&E) you are required to sign the following hold harmless agreement if you wish to continue receiving electricity and gas from your friendly monopoly propped up by the California Public Utilities Commission and the best politicians money can buy in Sacramento.
“You will not be allowed to sue — or file a claim — against PG&E in any court in the event PG&E’s aging, ill-maintained electrical lines should at any time spark fires that level your home, your neighborhood, your community, or three-quarters of the county where you reside.
“This will not be limited to wind storms and includes all the usual expected PG&E failures including lines falling down in gentle breezes, transformer fires on a perfectly still day or night, frayed power lines, or wooden poles up to twice the age of Gov. Gavin Newsom toppling due to dry rot.
“If you are a natural gas customer in order to keep getting gas you must agree not to sue in the event PG&E increases the pressure in aging lines up to 10 times their rated safety capacity in order to squeeze out more profits and you are unable to move your house, car or loved ones — including pets — out of the way if a pipeline explosion occurs and a fireball toasts your neighborhood.
“Furthermore should you call PG&E for a safety check when higher ups decide to keep expenses down by not having sufficient staffing so as not to jeopardize their yearly bonuses which then requires frontline employees to work 20 hours straight on holidays and your house is flattened killing you and severely damaging two adjoining homes (See PG&E’s 2018 Christmas Eve gift to a Rancho Cordova customer) some 72 hours after you notify PG&E of your concerns, your survivors will not be able to seek any compensation. And should PG&E be fined by the CPUC $38 million for gross negligence as they were in the 2018 incident and you somehow manage to avoid being collateral damage in PG&E’s continuing drive to maximize profits, you have no recourse if PG&E finds a way to make you — and your fellow ratepayers — pick up the tab for a CPUC fine in order to keep issuing as fat as possible dividend checks to shareholders and the Enron capitalists that PG&E so admired and modeled their business plan after prior to the filing of their first bankruptcy 20 years ago.
“Should your home, belongings, all family mementos be destroyed in a PG&E caused fire before the company is able to buy — make that persuade — enough lawmakers in Sacramento to hold PG&E harmless in the event PG&E burns down any or all of Northern California, and you were insured for all your losses expect the following: 1) PG&E will strive to not make insurance providers whole for their losses via claims. Therefore PG&E is not responsible if your insurance premium becomes so expensive you can’t afford it or you can’t get insurance at all because insurance firms will no longer provide coverage in PG&E territory given PG&E has made the risk of ratepayers and others being killed and their property turned into a total loss so high that you are now uninsurable.
“You also agree to hold PG&E harmless even if injury, damage, or death from the company’s archaic and unnaturally perforated gas lines should catch fire away from your domicile. This includes but is not limited to flames shooting through street asphalt from underground fires caused by leaking PG&E gas lines (See Riverside Avenue incident in Roseville during September 2012) that could possibly turn your vehicle into a rolling barbecue to add to PGE’s verified customer kill list (94 as of Nov. 14, 2019).
“By signing this you agree that you have no expectation that there are CPUC mandated safety cutoff valves or that any of the gas lines in your neighborhood are reasonably leak free. For purposes of reasonable exposure, leak free is defined as less than 100 leaks using the benchmark of 40 for a typical Davis neighborhood that PG&E whistleblower Ken Myers provided in May of 2012 for a KCRA report. Further it is agreed that even if PG&E had knowledge of gas leaks after drilling test holes and then opted to do nothing (See Davis in May of 2012 regarding leaks in neighborhood crews identified in 2009 yet three years later were still leaking as PG&E’s top brass worked diligently to maximize their bonuses).
“In the event of PG&E implementing a deliberate power shutoff to make sure PG&E’s aging and ill-maintained equipment doesn’t spark a fire under any circumstances PG&E deems appropriate, you agree — as if you had a choice — to pay for all monthly non-energy consumption charges that can constitute up to half of your bill for the days PG&E takes you off the grid. Given you as a victim, or ratepayer, do not have to pay for electricity you don’t use it is only fair that you pay for all other charges as if your refrigerator still is getting juice and as if your lights still come on when you flip the switch.
“Under such planned outages designed to protect public safety and your home still burns during that time period because the jurisdiction you live in can’t be segmented from extreme wildfire areas 60 plus miles away meaning municipal wells and water treatment plans cease operating you will hold PG&E harmless. Also should you get in an accident because railroad crossing warning signals and arms have stopped operating or if your business or home are looted due to extended planned power outages you agree to hold PG&E harmless.
“And should you incur losses due to a planned power outage designed to reduce PG&E liability and protect its bottom line such as but not limited to spoiled food, inability to open for business or the loss of the life of a loved one that is dependent on medical devices that need electricity to operate, PG&E will not be held liable. Exceptions are caviar and foie gras spoilage that may occur in refrigeration devices at the domiciles of PG&E CEO Bill Johnson and all PG&E management making $150,000 or more a year.
“Failure to sign this hold harmless agreement means PG&E will not sell you electricity or natural gas although the corporation will continue to charge for — and vigorously pursue the collection of — all other allowable charges blesses by PG&E’s loyal friends at the CPUC.
“We at PG&E appreciate the fact you are at our service.”
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.