“The Utility Reform Network (Turn) ratepayer advocacy group and the Wild Tree Foundation, an environmental advocacy group, will also appeal the approval of PG&E’s financing order setting the bond parameters.
Turn and Wild Tree claim PG&E is disqualified from securitization because its bankruptcy reorganization plan approved last June forbids forcing ratepayers to pick up the costs. They argue that the bond issuance will drive up utility bills and fail to help PG&E attain investment-grade status in order to lower its borrowing costs, which is required under the securitization statute.
‘Already suffering some of the highest utility rates in the country, ratepayers should not be further burdened by costs incurred as a direct result of PG&E’s neglect and mismanagement,’ said April Rose Maurath Sommer, Wild Tree executive director.
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, SB 901’s author, essentially agrees. In an interview last week, Dodd said he is concerned that PG&E has not met the criteria for financing under SB 901 and PG&E’s own bankruptcy settlement, which requires a finding that the relief is just and reasonable and remains ratepayer-neutral — in other words, that it does not raise rates.
SB 901 does not specifically bar a utility from using the mechanism to address wildfire liability, but PG&E’s pursuit of it ‘defies the spirit of the law,’ Dodd said.”
-Canary Media, PG&E’s $7.5B securitization: A bellwether for utility efforts to cover the costs of climate change? (May 11, 2021) read more