For Immediate Release
November 18, 2019
Frontline Communities Call on Gov. Newsom to Include Them
in Redesign of PG&E’s Failed System
Frontline Organizations Lay Out Principles for California’s Energy Transition
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the California Environmental Justice Alliance and the California Utility Justice Campaign issued a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, calling on him to engage frontline communities and transform PG&E into a web of community-controlled, distributed energy systems that generate, store and distribute clean renewable power locally and regionally.
The California Environmental Justice Alliance and the California Utility Justice Campaign organizations have thousands of members living in frontline communities across California, including people who live alongside dirty gas-fired power plants, the elderly and medically vulnerable, low-income households, and immigrant workers displaced by recent wildfires. They are calling for seats at the table to determine a blueprint for restructuring PG&E.
“The proposals we’ve heard so far to make PG&E a public entity or a customer cooperative don’t go far enough — we need to fundamentally redesign our energy system to provide safe, reliable, community-owned energy that benefits everyone, especially the people most harmed by PG&E,” said Sylvia Chi, Policy Director with Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
The frontline community groups put forward a 10-point platform to guide the discussions for a just transition in restructuring the energy system away from PG&E’s corporate model.
“The contours of what a 21st-century energy system should look like are clear,” they wrote. “We need a web of decentralized, distributed energy systems that generate, store and distribute clean renewable power locally and regionally. We need to unplug dirty gas power plants that poison our air and bodies. Workers and communities must be able to make meaningful decisions about our energy systems, not private corporations like PG&E. And we need to start building the 21st-century energy systems in frontline communities that have been unfairly burdened by the status quo.”
California has started taking steps toward more community control, distributed energy, and bringing clean renewable power to the communities most unfairly burdened by PG&E’s dirty energy infrastructure.
- 29 counties and cities across California have already created Community Choice energy programs that take electricity development and procurement decisions away from PG&E and put them in the hands of local communities. These programs are choosing cleaner, more affordable, and more resilient energy and serve over 4 million California households.
- Environmental justice groups successfully passed state policy to bring solar, storage, microgrids, and energy efficiency programs to frontline communities. Solar on Multi-Family Affordable Housing invests $1 billion to bring solar to renters living in affordable housing and turns these buildings into sites for local energy generation. The California Public Utilities Commission’s Green Tariff Shared Renewables program puts community solar projects in the top 25% polluted zip codes in the state. Working class families living within 5 miles will be able to subscribe to these projects with an automatic bill savings of 20%.
“Our communities are already creating the building blocks of our energy future,” said Mari Rose Taruc, Coordinator of the California Utility Justice Campaign, an initiative of the Local Clean Energy Alliance. “We need our Governor, legislature, and regulators to expand these efforts, so we don’t have to depend on PG&E’s hazardous and expensive transmission infrastructure.”