SAN FRANCISCO – During a press conference on Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed concern about a proposal to crush the state’s popular rooftop solar program. The proposal is backed by Pacific Gas & Electric and two other investor-owned electric utilities.
“I’ll say this about the plan, we still have some work to do,” said Newsom in response to a reporter’s question about how the proposal by the utilities aligns with the governor’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the climate crisis.
The following is a statement from EWG President and California resident Ken Cook.
Gov. Newsom simply cannot allow this giveaway from state regulators to utilities – at the expense of California’s consumers and climate – to go forward on his watch and define his record on climate change, even as consumers are gouged this winter by skyrocketing energy costs and extra fees to help pay for massive, lethal wildfires caused by PG&E and other utilities.
We urge the governor to use his bully pulpit to push regulators to start from scratch and take no action to curb rooftop solar until they fully examine the real reason why working-class families and communities are paying so much for power, and how they can be put at the forefront of the rooftop solar and storage revolution.
We welcome the governor’s comments and respectfully urge him to use his voice and full authority to stop the ill-conceived plan. It is clearly meant to increase profits for the utilities and crush the only competition they now face – the competition from Californians who are investing to install solar panels and, increasingly, battery storage on homes, businesses, schools and in communities.
Cook and EWG officially intervened in the proceeding before the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, last summer, urging regulators to reject the proposal by PG&E and the other power companies.
On Wednesday Cook will deliver public comments before the CPUC, urging regulators to withdraw the utility-backed plan and protect the state’s rooftop solar program.
In December, hundreds of solar advocates delivered to Newsom comments by more than 120,000 people in support of the state’s rooftop solar program.
Opposition in California to the utilities’ proposal grows by the week, with more than 600 local, state and national public interest organizations in the Save California Solar coalition now dedicated to blocking the power companies’ profit grab plot.
The coalition is as diverse as the state, with a mix of advocates for clean energy, environmental justice and affordable housing, as well as labor unions and communities of faith, among others.
In contrast, besides PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, there are only a small number of other groups supporting the utilities’ scheme. The lopsided nature of the opposing coalitions further underscores how unpopular the plot to hobble the state’s rooftop solar is with residents in California.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action