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Proposed New Laws Following PG&E Shutoffs

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Sacramento, CA — A variety of proposed new laws are being floated in Sacramento and Washington, DC in response to wide-scale PG&E planned shutoffs over recent weeks.

At the state capitol, SB 378, co-authored by Republican Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham and Democratic Senator Scott Wiener, would mandate that PG&E shareholders reimburse local small business owners and families for costs associated with energy company shutoffs. Cunningham, who represents San Luis Obispo, says, “For too long, utilities have had little incentive to fire harden their vulnerable infrastructure, and now the ‘solution’ is to shut off power. Power shutoffs hurt ordinary people and small businesses. It’s only fair that the utilities’ shareholders be responsible for any losses incurred by shutting off the power.”

Another bill, authored by a pair of Republicans, Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher, calls for pausing renewable power mandates in California so that utilities can use the extra money to harden infrastructure.

In Washington, DC, Democratic Congressman Josh Harder, who represents parts of the Central Valley, is developing what he has dubbed the “No Bonuses During Blackouts Act” that would put new taxes on companies that give out high executive bonuses instead of investing in failing infrastructure. Harder cites recent bonuses paid to top executives, as well as reports that PG&E has failed to pay federal income taxes over the past decade.

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