Energy & Environment

Energy

Consumer Watchdog monitors California’s gas, electric, and oil companies, including municipal and investor-owned utilities, to protect ratepayers, consumers and the environment.   We police the recycling industry to make sure consumers get their bottle deposits back, recycling is deposed of appropriately, and programs are effective.

Our nonprofit worked decades ago to fight and rollback California’s electric deregulation debacle, including stopping a ratepayer bailout in the legislature and getting ratepayers’ money back. We fight today to prevent Californians from being duped again by similar utility and energy industry scams. 

In recent years, Consumer Watchdog established the PUC Papers to document the players and their roles in the corruption scandal that has plagued California’s Public Utilities Commission, or PUC. The searchable database of more than 100,000 documents is a public resource for researchers, journalists and activists.

Consumer Watchdog has also fought price gouging by oil companies with extensive research and reporting on their price and supply manipulations. We have policed the California’s regulator of toxics and toxics industry, creating change in oversight and spurring cleanup of toxic sites. This includes a pending legal case against Boeing for cleanup of the Santa Susana nuclear waste site outside Los Angeles.

 


Focus Areas:

CA Dangerously Close To Approving 10,000 Oil Drilling Permits since Newsom Assumed Office; Groups Demand Gov. Deliver On Putting Oil Drilling Into Rear View Mirror

Los Angeles, CA — Governor Newsom’s oil regulators have approved 9,728 oil drilling permits since he assumed office in 2019, according to a new analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021and posted at www.NewsomWellWatch.org by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.  The groups said Newsom should immediately cease approval of more oil permits to avoid hitting the 10,000 mark.

Governor Newsom Must End Oil Permits In State Waters And Order 2,500-Foot Barrier Between Communities And Oil Drilling, Consumer Watchdog And FracTracker Alliance Say

Los Angeles, CA — While an oil spill in federal waters damages Southern California beaches, wildlife and habitat, oil regulators under Gov. Gavin Newsom have issued 138 oil permits for operations in state waters since he assumed office and are 278 days late in delivering Newsom a rule setting a barrier between oil operations and vulnerable communities, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said today.
 

California Assembly Stops Bottle Deposit Bill Fix For 2021 As Redemption Rate Drops to 56%

Los Angeles, CA—The California Assembly refused to act on a budget proposal put forth by the Senate to shore up Californian’s collapsing bottle deposit system and to offer consumers convenient ways to return bottles and cans for deposit. The refusal comes as CalRecycle, the state’s regulator, reported the latest redemption rate—the rate at which consumer receive their CRV deposits back—fell to 56% for the month of June.
 

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Oil Regulator’s Denial Of Aera Fracking Permits

Los Angeles, CA—The denial by the California Geologic Energy Management Division of 21 Aera Energy fracking permits is a win for public health and the environment, Consumer Watchdog said today.

“We applaud the Newsom Administration for finally using its discretion to deny Area destructive and dangerous fracking permits,” consumer advocate Liza Tucker said today. “This step is in concert with Governor Newsom’s goal of banning all fracking by 2024, though we believe that a ban across the board should be immediate.”

FOX TV-40 Sacramento: Facing A Possible Repeat Of 2020, California Power Officials To Meet

Assembly Member Richard Bloom’s Legislation Allows More Grocery Stores To Refuse to Take Back Empty Bottles and Cans During Recycling Crisis; Senior Speaks Out In New Video

Los Angeles, CA — Legislation backed by the waste hauling industry and authored by Santa Monica Assembly Member Richard Bloom would make fewer grocery and other retail stores available to the public to accept empty cans and bottles and redeem California Redemption Value (CRV) deposits of a nickel or dime. 

Why Does West LA's Assembly Member Richard Bloom Not Want Nancy To Have A Place To Recycle?

Bill Assigning Responsibility For Recycling Bottles & Cans To Beverage Industry Passes CA Senate In Major Consumer Victory

Sacramento, CA — SB 38 (D-Wieckowski), a bill to overhaul the state’s bottle deposit program by forcing the beverage industry to create an accessible recycling and redemption system for its bottles and cans, passed the Senate 23 to 8 in a major victory for consumers and the environment, Consumer Watchdog said today.  The bill now heads to the Assembly.

Waste Haulers Are Driving California’s Bottle Deposit System Failure, New Report Reveals, As Lawmakers Consider System Run By Beverage Industry

Los Angeles, CA— A muckraking report on the reasons for the failure of California’s bottle deposit system, which currently has a 57% redemption rate, puts the blame on the waste hauling industry. 
 

Undercover Video Shows West LA Senior Citizen Illegally Refused Bottle and Can CRV Deposit By Grocers Due To “Covid,” Stockpiles Thousands of Cans

Los Angeles, CA — Nancy Hannickel, 75, a long-time resident of West Los Angeles, has bags of thousands of bottles and cans in her yard that carry a California Redemption Value (CRV) of a nickel or a dime.  But she can’t get those nickel and dime deposits refunded—anywhere in West LA.    
 

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Fracking Ban, Calls For More Steps As First Quarter 2021 Oil Permit Approvals Plunge

Los Angeles, CA — Governor Newson’s ban on fracking in 2024 is a step in the right direction, and with the number of permit approvals falling dramatically so far this year, he has a perfect opening to take even stronger steps, Consumer Watchdog said today.

Bill To Save Collapsing Bottle Deposit System Passes First Legislative Hurdle

Los Angeles, CA — SB 38 (D- Wieckowski), a bill to save the collapsing bottle deposit system by putting the responsibility for recycling empty CRV containers onto the beverage industry, passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee today in a decisive first step towards modernizing California’s rigid and antiquated system, Consumer Watchdog said today.

The bill, which passed by a vote on 5 to 2, next goes to Senate Appropriations Committee.

75% of Whole Foods Markets Abandon Bottle and Can Recycling As Redemption Rate Sinks To 58% And Groups Back Fundamental Deposit Reform

Los Angeles, CA— With redemption centers closing at a record pace, now major supermarket chains that must choose to either redeem bottle deposits in store or pay a daily fee to the state are buying their way out of in-store redemption in record numbers.

75% of Whole Foods Market stores have opted out of having to recycle. With few places to get their bottle and can deposits returned, California’s redemption rate for 2020 has sunk to a low of 58%, leaving it third to last among ten bottle deposit states.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Bill To Ban All Dangerous Forms Of Oil Extraction Including Hydraulic Fracturing

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today welcomed newly introduced state legislation—SB 467—to ban fracking and a host of other more commonly employed and dangerous techniques used to coax stubborn-and-hard to reach oil and gas out of the ground.

Consumer Redemption Rate Stands At 58.9%; Governor And Legislature Must Make Bottle Returns Convenient, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA — The latest data on the bottle and can redemption rate for 2020 for the first eleven months, put out by the Governor’s recycling regulator CalRecycle, show that only 58.9% of Californians who pay deposits on beverages from beer to sodas are directly claiming deposit refunds, Consumer Watchdog said today. The rate is a full 10% less than what it was at the beginning of 2020 and does not appear to be recovering.

Newsom Administration Doubles New Oil And Gas Production Well Permits, Misses Deadline for Drilling Setback Rule

Los Angeles, CA — California oil regulators more than doubled the dispensing of permits in 2020 to drill new oil and gas production wells, issuing more than 1,700 in 2020, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported today. 

At the same time, the Newsom Administration failed to meet its own New Year’s Eve deadline for a draft rule designating the safe distance for drilling from a community, giving itself until Spring.  Public interest groups who have pushed for a 2,500-foot setback are troubled by the delay. States such as Colorado have instituted setbacks of 2,000 feet.

Consumer Bottle Redemption Rate Falls To 58%, Major Overhaul Of Container Recycling Program Inescapable, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA — Between July and September of 2020, the rate of consumer redemption of empty beverage containers fell another two percentage points to 58%, according to beverage sales data from CalRecycle, the state’s overseer of the bottle deposit program.

That means 42% of annual consumer bottle deposits—or about $546 million paid through September this year—is not being returned to consumers who could really use that money, according to Consumer Watchdog.

CA Permits To Drill New Oil And Gas Production Wells Rose 160%, While New Wells Actually Drilled Plummets To 60;

Los Angeles, CA — Oil companies received 160% more oil production drilling permits in the first nine months of 2020 over the year before, but the number of oil wells drilled in California has slowed to a trickle, Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance said today. The two groups updated the permit numbers and locations on an interactive map at the website: http://www.NewsomWellWatch.com.

Redemption Rate For Empty Bottles And Cans Sinks To 60% As Consumers Forfeit $60 Million in Deposits Refunds

Los Angeles, CA—State data show that California consumers left $60 million in unredeemed bottle and can deposits with the state in the first six months of 2020 as the redemption rate for consumers plunged to 60.2% from 66% in the face of the pandemic and a deepening economic crisis for redemption centers.

Data published by the state recycling regulator, CalRecycle, show:

Newsom Administration Issues Six More Fracking Permits To Aera Energy Consumer Watchdog Says

Los Angeles, CA — The Newsom Administration issued six more fracking permits to Aera Energy late on Friday afternoon at a time of great risk to the environment and to the public health of affected communities also exposed to Covid 19, Consumer Watchdog said today.

The number of fracking permits issued this year—despite a nine-month moratorium imposed by Newsom that ended last April—now comes to 54 issued to Aera and Chevron. 

Two Advocacy Groups Challenge California Oil Regulator To Correct The Record On True Oil Drilling Permit Numbers

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance challenged the state’s Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk “to be honest with the public about the data” on oil drilling in the state. They stated his refusal to acknowledge data published by the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) “sullies CalGEM and reflects poorly on an Administration that claims desperately to want to stem the cruel tide of climate change.”

KGO ABC TV-7 SF, CA: Climate Advocates Challenge Gov. Newsom's Record On Standing Up To Fossil Fuel Industry

Permits To Drill New Oil And Gas Wells Zoom Up 190% In The First Six Months Of 2020 Under Gov. Newsom Worrisome Trend

Los Angeles, CA — As COVID-19 cases shattered California daily records in the second quarter of 2020, oil regulators under Gov. Newsom also shattered records for dispensing new oil and gas production well drilling permits, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said today.

Consumer Watchdog Urges Legislative Leaders To Reject Last Minute Raid By Waste Haulers On Consumer Bottle Deposit Funds

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog urged Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to shut down a last-minute attempt by waste haulers, grocers and recyclers to steal consumers’ bottle deposit refunds and make the system less available to them, the group said.

Consumer Watchdog Warns Newsom Continued Emergency Exemption Of Retailers From Recycling Will Eviscerate Bottle Deposit System

Los Angeles, CA— The nonprofit Consumer Watchdog called on Governor Gavin Newsom not to give retailers another exemption from their duty to refund bottle and can deposits, warning it could decimate the fragile deposit system. 

CalGEM Regulators Divest Oil Stocks In Wake Of Consumer Watchdog Conflicts Probe

 Los Angeles, CA — Oil and gas regulators at the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) no longer hold oil stocks or other interests in the sector that they regulate in a radical departure from past practices, Consumer Watchdog said today.

A new conflict of interest policy at the division’s parent agency, the Department of Conservation (DOC), now prohibits such investments without explicit written approval by DOC’s director.

CA Governor Exempts Supermarkets From Bottle Deposit Refunds For Another 60 Days In Loss For Consumers And The Environment, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom gave supermarkets and other dealers of beverages carrying a five or ten cent deposit another 60-day reprieve on refunding deposits, putting greater pressure on too few redemption centers to serve millions of Californians. California now joins Iowa’s Republican Governor as the only states letting the retailers off the hook for redeeming bottles.

Proof of Harm To CA’s Unborn From Proximity To Oil Wells Proves Need For Barrier Between Wells And People, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA — The first definitive study showing perinatal harm from oil production in California to pregnant mothers proves that the state must institute a barrier of 2,500 feet between residents and oil wells and stop issuing new oil permits for wells within that zone, Consumer Watchdog said today.

CA Oil Well Permits Under Gov. Newsom Outpace First Quarter Last Year In Loss For Public Health, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance Report

Los Angeles, CA—As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, new oil well permits under Gov. Gavin Newsom rose 7.8% in the first quarter of 2020 through April 4, compared to the first quarter of 2019, Consumer Watchdog and FrackTrackerAlliance reported today. The Newsom Administration issued 1,623 permits during the first quarter of 2020. It also approved 24 fracking permits after a nine-month moratorium. The total number of permits issued under Newsom since he took office in January 2019 is 6,168.

KNBC Los Angeles: Consumer Watchdog Calls on Newsom to Address CA's Failed Bottle Deposit System

Number Of Oil And Gas Well Permits Issued By Newsom Administration In 2019 Rivals Number Issued In Gov. Jerry Brown’s Last Year In Office

Los Angeles, CA—The total number of oil and gas well permits issued in 2019 under the Newsom Administration rivals the number issued in 2018 during the last year in office of former Governor Jerry Brown, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported today. The Newsom Administration issued just 1% fewer permits for a total of 4,545 versus 4,590 for all of 2018.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Departure of Another Regulator Who Protected Big Oil As Hopeful Sign Of Major Reform Under Gov. Newsom

Los Angeles, CA - Consumer Watchdog hailed the imminent departure of the Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, widely seen as an impediment to environmental reform, as a sign that Governor Newsom plans to overhaul the way oil and gas is regulated in the state.

Wine & Beverage Industry Stops Bill To Overhaul and Expand Bottle Deposit System On Senate Floor

Los Angeles, CA — A major reform bill to fix California’s broken bottle deposit system and get consumers back hundreds of millions in unredeemed deposits failed in the California Senate today after the wine and liquor industry joined with the beverage industry to unleash their lobbyists against the proposal.  The bill is now on the inactive file after failing on the floor last night with 17 votes in favor.

Consumer Watchdog on the New Bill SB372 and the Collapse of CA's Bottle Redemption System

Consumer Watchdog Urges Overhaul of CA’s Recycling Program Via New Bill SB372

Consumer Watchdog Ranks CA's Bottle Deposit System Worst in Nation, SB372 Reaches Senate

Bill To Overhaul Bottle Deposit System Passes Out Of Senate Committee

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court said in testimony today before the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on bottle deposit reform legislation, SB 372, that it is time for the beverage industry to take responsibility for recycling the empties that their beverages leave behind, as is done in all other successful bottle deposit programs here and around the world.

Consumer Watchdog on the Need to Overhaul CA's Failed Recycling Program

Press Conference on Consumer Watchdog’s new report “Trashed” and the Failures of CA’s Bottle Deposit System

Consumer Watchdog Warns Of Bottle Deposit System Collapse Without Major Reform

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog reported today that a major overhaul of the state’s once-vaunted bottle deposit system is needed to make drink makers responsible for refunding deposits or consumers will continue to lose a greater share of the roughly $1.5 billion a year they pay in nickel and dime deposits. Redemption centers that redeem bottle and can deposits are closing in the face of economic hardship.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds CalRecycle’s $3.6 Million Fine Against CVS For Failing To Redeem Bottle Deposits

Says Big Win For Consumers Must Be Followed With Continued Enforcement

Los Angeles, CA -- After years of paltry enforcement of California’s 1986 bottle deposit law against stores selling beverages that charge bottle deposits but don’t return them, CalRecycle signaled today that it means business with a $3.6 million fine against CVS stores, Consumer Watchdog said today.

Consumer Watchdog Welcomes Resignation of CalRecycle Director, Recycling Agency Shakeup

Los Angeles, CA—Consumer Watchdog welcomed the resignation today of the CalRecycle Director as a first step in overhauling the troubled agency in charge of the state’s failing bottle deposit system. CAL-EPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld confirmed the resignation to Consumer Watchdog this afternoon.

Newsom Freezes New Fracking Permits In California & Slows Rate of Oil Well Approvals Since Summer; 2019 State Oil Well Permits Still Outpace 2018

Los Angeles, CA—Since mid-July, state regulators have not issued a new permit for fracking or acidizing in California and have slowed the overall rate of permitting oil wells. Nonetheless, state regulators have granted oil permits at a pace that is 8.8% greater in the first ten months of 2019 than in the same period last year under Governor Jerry Brown, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said today based on an analysis of state data.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Newsom Call for AG Action on CA Gas Price Gouging

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that a new state report finding that major oil companies are overcharging their own stations in order to gouge California consumers vindicates the analysis that it has made since 2015 and requires new state laws to protect drivers.  

The nonprofit nonpartisan consumer group applauded Governor Newsom’s call for an investigation and possible prosecution by the California Attorney General into the problem.

Consumer Watchdog Addresses High Gas Prices In SoCal

Gas Prices in California Have Risen For 13 Days In A Row

City of LA Drops DWP Overbilling Lawsuit, Leaving Ratepayers on the Hook

Fair Political Practices Commission Investigates Two Oil Regulators For Conflict Of Interest After Consumer Watchdog Complaint

 

Los Angeles-- The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating two regulators at the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources for conflicts of interests raised in a July complaint by Consumer Watchdog.

CA Leg Compromise Gets $10 Million More For Recycling Centers, Small Exemption for Grocers

Sacramento, CA — Amendments to AB 54 (Ting) last night freed $5 million for beleaguered consumer recycling centers, seeming to seal what appears to be a short-term band-aid for recycling center problems until a larger solution is developed next year.  AB 54 already provided $5 million for mobile recycling and a short few months exemption for grocers affected by August recycling center closures that would otherwise have to redeem bottle and can deposits earlier.

Grocers Launch Last-Week-Of-Session Attack on Bottle Deposit Law

Seek Exemption From Recycling Responsibilities As Consumers Turn To Stores For Deposits

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog today condemned eleventh-hour legislation by Senator Steve Glazer, SB 643, that would exempt thousands of grocery stores statewide from the obligation to recycle consumers’ bottles and cans and return their five and ten cent deposits. The bill was amended Saturday to be heard during the last five days of the legislative session.

Consumer Watchdog Urges Governor To Take Urgent Steps On Recycling

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today urged Governor Newsom to crack down on the state’s recycling regulator CalRecycle and to take urgent steps that save the state’s bottle deposit program in the long and short term.

“The closure of the largest recycling chain in the state, rePlanet, has cut the number of recycling centers available to Californians in half over the last six years,” Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court wrote in a letter to Governor Newsom. “CalRecycle has long known about these problems, but it has failed to act.

rePlanet Shuts Down All 284 Recycling Centers In CA

California’s Biggest Bottle Redemption Center Chain Closes

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog said the closure of the largest operator of bottle redemption centers in the state, rePlanet, today requires the Governor to prioritize recycling reform in the coming months. rePlanet closed its last 284 centers today, leaving consumers with few places to receive bottle and can deposit refunds.

Consumer Watchdog called for CALRecycle, the state agency in charge of recycling, to immediately require every grocery and convenience store chain to begin redeeming bottles and cans.

FBI Raids LA DWP Offices in Relation to Overcharging Scandal

Consumer Watchdog Says Sad Day For LA When FBI Has To Show Up At DWP To Deal With Billing Problems

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer  Watchdog responded to news that the FBI had served search warrants on the City Attorney and DWP by saying that it was critical that evidence was being preserved in what is likely a case of conspiracy to defraud the courts and the ratepayers.  However, the nonprofit group expressed remorse about how LA leaders handled the crisis it has exposed over the last three and one half years.

DOGGR Regulator Fired Over Conflicts of Interest and Increased Oil Well Permits

Gov Newsom Fires Top Oil Regulator & Institutes Sweeping Ethics Review of Agency In Response To Watchdog Report of Conflicts

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog today thanked Governor Gavin Newsom for firing the state’s top oil and gas supervisor and instituting an ethics review of the state’s oil well approval and inspection process in response to its recent report of conflicts at the agency and request.

Watchdogs Call For Resignations & Permit Freeze As California Oil Regulators Approve Surge In Well Permits While Personally Invested In Oil Companies

Los Angeles, CA -- A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the oil companies they regulate.  One of the regulators is among the top three in command at the State’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

Wildfire Legislation On Track or Train Wreck?

Can Sacramento help wildfire victims get paid without bailing out the investor-owned utilities that claim they cannot pay for all of the wildfires they start?

The debate came to a head today in the California Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, where a parade of skeptics gave tenuous support to a proposal by the Newsom Administration. It tries to make sure shareholders pay for fires utilities start and ratepayers pay for fires where the utilities aren't at fault.

Santa Monica's Last Recycling Center is Closing

Consumer and Recycling Advocates Condemn Loss of Last Recycling Center West of 405 Freeway

Santa Monica, CA --- At the site of the soon-to-be shuttered Santa Monica Community Recycling Center, consumer advocates called on California lawmakers and regulators to rescue the failing redemption industry. The center, closing Saturday, is the last redemption center west of the 405, serving 200,000 people on LA's Westside. 

Consumer Watchdog Urges Immediate Budget Fix to Save CA Recycling Program; In Crisis After Grocers Kill Life Line For Centers In Legislature

Los Angeles, CA—Consumer Watchdog has asked the Newsom Administration to avert the closure of more recycling centers that redeem empty glass, aluminum, and plastic beverage containers by funding centers long enough to reform the container deposit system. 

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Governor Newsom’s Energy Commission Report Taking on Gas Price Manipulation

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that the California Energy Commission under Governor Gavin Newsom is finally taking steps to confront artificially high gasoline prices in California by acknowledging the role of oil refiners' supply and retail price manipulation in sky-high pump prices.  

California Stores Preventing Bottle Deposit Redemption

Consumer and Recycling Advocates Condemn Loss of Last Recycling Center West of 405 Freeway

Santa Monica, CA --- At the site of the soon-to-be shuttered Santa Monica Community Recycling Center, consumer advocates called on California lawmakers and regulators to rescue the failing redemption industry. The center, closing Saturday, is the last redemption center west of the 405, serving 200,000 people on LA's Westside. 

Consumer Watchdog Report Shows 66% of Grocery Stores Surveyed Refused to Recycle

Update 4/24/19 5 PM: Senator Stern agreed to amend his legislation to remove more exemptions from recycling for grocery stores in response to the survey.

 

Los Angeles, CA — Two thirds of fifty Los Angeles-area grocery, convenience and drug stores that are required by the state to refund consumer deposits for empty beverage containers refused to issue refunds, according to a random audit in Los Angeles by Consumer Watchdog. 

Consumer Watchdog: Victims, Taxpayers and Ratepayers Shouldn’t Be Forced To Pay For Felon’s Negligence Under PG&E Bailout Plan

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that a California wildfire victims’ relief fund could be important, but that the proposal put forth today by Governor Newsom, in legislative hands, threatens to take rights and dollars from wildfire victims, ratepayers and taxpayers without forcing PG&E to make tangible concessions.

LA City Attorney Failed to Disclose $242 Million DWP-funded City Slush Fund, Says Consumer Watchdog Legal Appeal  

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer supported a deceptive notice to ratepayers in a class action settlement over the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to a City slush fund, according to attorneys for Consumer Watchdog.

AG Xavier Becerra Should Take Over Public Corruption Probe At City Attorney’s Office About DWP Misbilling & Fraud That Led To Two Resignations

Los Angeles, CA --  Consumer Watchdog has called upon Attorney General Xavier Becerra to take over a public corruption investigation at the LA City Attorney's Office involving a conspiracy by just-resigned special counsels who colluded in a conspiracy to defraud ratepayers of relief in an LADWP mis-billing lawsuit.

Public Corruption At City Attorney’s Office Over DWP Misbilling, Self-Dealing & Fraud Leads To Two Resignations

Los Angeles, CA —  Consumer Watchdog has called upon City Attorney Mike Feuer to fully respond to revelations in LA Superior Court that his top attorneys and special counsels colluded in a conspiracy to defraud ratepayers of relief in an LADWP mis-billing lawsuit.

Watchdog Report Finds California Consumers Lose Half Of Every Nickel Bottle Deposit

Los Angeles, CA—For every nickel bottle or can deposit that California consumers pay in the grocery store checkout line, they only get back 2.65 cents, or 53%, of their deposit, according to an investigative report on the state’s beverage container recycling system.

The report by the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog finds that of the $1.5 billion consumers pay in deposits, they leave $732 million behind.

Watchdog: PUC Must Go After Giving $6 Billion Credit Line To PG&E Pre-Bankruptcy, Raising Rates

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog called for the ouster of the California Public Utilities Commission over its decision late Monday to extend a $6 billion credit line to Pacific Gas & Electric in an unneeded emergency process that allowed no time for scrutiny. The unprecedented vote makes it easier for PG&E to go into bankruptcy today and avoid accountability to wildfire victims, ratepayers and taxpayers.

Consumer Watchdog: PG&E is No Victim, Governor Newsom Should Appoint Tough Regulator

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that PG&E prematurely filed bankruptcy protection to drive a political bailout of the company and gain leverage over what and when it pays victims of fires it started.  Bankruptcy could delay what victims receive from the company for its negligence for years.

Maui Utilities’ Junket While Paradise Burned Should Spark New Rules For Real-time Disclosure of Lawmaker Trips

Los Angeles, CA -- In a letter to California’s legislative leaders, Consumer Watchdog today wrote that the shocking details of a utility junket in Maui with 12 state lawmakers while wildfires destroyed the state  should compel new immediate online disclosures about such trips.

As Paradise Burned, 12 Legislators Partied In Maui With Utility Execs & Lobbyists

As wildfire victims fled for their lives in Paradise and Malibu this November, utility executives and lobbyists for California's big utilities were wining and dining 12 influential state legislators in a different paradise -- Wailea, Maui.

The New York Times broke the story about the junket and the discussion about the wildfires there, which had to include the the inevitable bailout for the utilities that helped spark the blaze. 

Beholden Chris Holden’s Big Utility Tent

Assembly Member Chris Holden is the point man for Pacific Gas and Electric on its legislative bailout plans over the 2018 fires. That's why we paid his holiday party a visit.  Watch us sing Chris Holden our holiday carols.

First, we carolers had to convince some beefy Pasadena police that we didn’t come to Assemblyman Chris Holden’s Christmas open house at his district office to disrupt the festivities and dirty up the place (though we did leave a lunch bag of coal behind).

Former Enron Consultant To Be Reappointed As DWP Ratepayer Representative Without Job Review

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog called the City Council’s vote to reappoint Fred Pickel as the head of the DWP’s Office of Public Accountability without a job review a power play and public disgrace that will leave them without a voice. Mayor Garcetti  will still have the opportunity to reject Pickel.

Watchdog Calls Garcetti Out On His “Pickel Problem” On #NationalPickleDay

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog called on Mayor Garcetti to support a new city council motion by council members Koretz and Bonnin requiring a job review for the DWP Ratepayer Advocate Fred Pickel before his rehiring to the $298,000 per year job heading the DWP’s Office of Public Accountability. Pickel has not had a job review in his 6 and-a-half years on the job.

Re-nomination of Current DWP Ratepayer Advocate A Betrayal of Ratepayers, Consumer Watchdog Says

Los Angeles, CA -- The re-nomination for a second term of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s ratepayer advocate, Fred Pickel, by a city-appointed committee is a betrayal of all of the municipal utility’s ratepayers, Consumer Watchdog said today. The Mayor and City Council should reject the recommendation or abolish the Office of Public Accountability that Pickel heads, the group said.

California Public Utility Commission Urged To Investigate PG&E and Other Utilities For Blackouts And To Require A Specific Threat Before Shutdowns

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today urged the President of the California Public Utilities Commission, Michael Picker, to launch a public investigation of Pacific Gas & Electric’s shutoff of power to thousands of customers in Northern California over the weekend due to high wind advisories.

Consumer Watchdog Calls For Audit Of Tainted Process In Search For New LADWP Ratepayer Advocate

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today called the process of picking a new ratepayer advocate to head the Office of Public Accountability at the LA Department of Water and Power biased and called for an immediate investigation by the LA City Controller.

“We write with evidence of misconduct in the selection of a new Ratepayer Advocate and call upon Controller Galperin to investigate immediately,” Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and Liza Tucker wrote in a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Controller Ron Galperin. 

TV Ad Of Youngster Schooling Gov. Brown For Being “Being Cruel And Heartless” On Oil Drilling Hits San Francisco Airwaves

San Francisco, CA — A 30-second tv ad featuring a 9-year old  girl admonishing Governor Brown for allowing oil drilling next to homes airs today on CNN and MSNBC in advance of Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit kick-off this week in San Francisco.  The "Jerry's Kids" tv ad campaign is paid for by nonprofits Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch.

​​​​​​​Consumer Watchdog Thanks Jerry Brown For Signature On SB 100 But Says It Will Not Help Kids Living In Shadows Of Oil Wells

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog congratulated legislative leaders and Governor Brown today for pushing through and signing SB 100, historic legislation that sets out to decarbonize the electricity sector completely by 2045. But the nonprofit group said Brown still must use its executive powers to stop neighborhood oil drilling and take on oil drilling directly. 

Brown Needs To Shut Down Oil Wells He Controls In State Waters After He Signs Important Bill Today Limiting Federal OffShore Drilling 

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog thanked Governor Brown for signing important legislation today trying to stop activation of oil wells in federal waters. The nonprofit group noted that Brown has jurisdiction over four times more state oil wells in state waters off California’s coast than oil wells Trump has control of in federal waters off the coast and Brown needs to shut those wells down. (Click on this map for the details)

Consumer Advocates Thank Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins For Standing Up to Energy Barons To Protect Consumers And The Environment

Los Angeles, CA —  On the last night of the California legislative session, Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins stood up to political and industry pressure and stopped passage of legislation that would have threatened consumers with electricity price manipulation and the invalidation of state environmental laws, according to leading public interest groups.

Consumer and Environmental Advocates Call On Gov. Brown to Stop California Energy Transfer to Trump

SACRAMENTO, CA — Environmental and consumer advocates today urged Governor Jerry Brown to resist the threat of a Trump takeover of the California electricity grid and to also oppose Trump’s plans to frack and drill California. A western regional electricity market would subject Californians to increased power imports from coal-heavy states and higher bills from speculation on power contracts, in a regional grid under the oversight of the Trump administration.

Senator Dodd Busted Shutting Down Wildfire Hearings To Rush To Fundraiser With Utility Lobbyists

Sacramento, CA -- Consumer Watchdog released evidence today showing that the co-chairman of the conference committee convened to discuss taking wildfire victims' legal rights rushed witnesses to end a key hearing in order to get to his fundraiser across the street attended by PG&E and other utility lobbyists.

Watchdog Offers New Info That Western Power Market Plan is Enron All Over Again Without The Legal Remedy

Los Angeles, CA -- As the Governor is expected to announce special deliberations on utility proposals shortly, Consumer Watchdog offered new information to the legislature about problems with the proposed new Western power market. The group warned that legislation to subsume California’s electricity grid into a giant regional power trading system will not only open the state to trading manipulation, but permanently hobble California when it comes to prosecuting Enron-style manipulation in the future.

Consumer Watchdog Condemns California Senate Energy Committee Vote For Western Power Trading Casino

Los Angeles, CA — The California Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee voted today to pass legislation turning California into a giant Western power trading casino that puts ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog said in condemning the vote for AB 813.

Report Warns of Enron All Over Again As Governor Jerry Brown And Electricity Deregulation Era Fixers Poised To Rip Off California Ratepayers

Los Angeles, CA— California leaders are being pressed by former allies of Enron and energy traders who ripped off the state to gamble away California’s energy future on the revival of a plan for a Western regional power trading system that will benefit billionaires and Wall Street and put ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog finds in a new report.

Consumer Watchdog Warns CA Legislators New Utility Bailout Will Leave Gray Davis Stain 

Sacramento, CA -- In a letter to the 120 members of the California legislature, Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court warned that a bailout of California's three investor owned utilities for causing wildfires would "almost certainly be the greatest disgrace for this legislature since its decision two decades ago to deregulate electricity and turn over our energy supply to the Enron pirates."

"The integrity, duty and reputation of this legislature should outweigh the largess these three utilities have showered upon the members of its houses," Court said.

New Report: LADWP’s Ratepayer Advocate Is Costing Angelenos Nearly $7 Billion Extra And Should Be Fired

Santa Monica, CA — Instead of pushing the country’s largest municipal utility to be leaner, greener, and meaner, Fred Pickel, the first ratepayer advocate ever appointed to protect the interests of LADWP ratepayers, has fallen down on the job. A new report, “The Price of Pickel” by Consumer Watchdog, finds that his failure to speak up for ratepayers against unreasonable rate hikes and bad projects is costing ratepayers nearly $7 billion.

For the report, click here.

New Analysis Shows Limiting Oil Drilling In California Is Critical To GHG Emissions Cuts

New analysis released today by the Stockholm Environment Institute finds that limiting oil production in California would lead to substantial greenhouse gas emission cuts at a cost comparable to other state climate policies. The analysis shows that addressing oil production in California -- something Governor Brown has thus far resisted -- will have critical climate, health, and global leadership benefits.

Consumer Watchdog Demands That State Oil Regulators Publicly Reveal Leaking California Oil Wells That Are Counted But Not Disclosed

Santa Monica, CA—Consumer Watchdog urged Governor Jerry Brown to direct state oil regulators to publicly post all oil well leaks in the state after learning that the state is tracking all spills from wells of oil, drilling fluids, and toxic water but not disclosing them.

Lawyers Get The Dough And DWP Ratepayers Get The Shaft, Sound Familiar?

A Superior Court Judge today approved a settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against the Department of Water & Power (DWP) and City of Los Angeles for illegally taxing ratepayers billions of dollars on their power bills and using it for city services, rejecting our objection. Under 2010’s voter-approved Prop 26, money raised from power rates that is not used to improve utility service is an illegal tax and to make it lega

Consumer Watchdog Challenges City Attorney Mike Feuer To Stand Up For LA Ratepayers Not Politicians In DWP Transfer Case To Be Heard Wednesday

Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog has urged LA City Attorney Mike Feuer to oppose a deceptive and inadequate Notice to ratepayers in a class action settlement over the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in power rates to City coffers.

Consumer Watchdog Urges Gov. Brown To Halt All CA Offshore Drilling In Response To Trump Move To Open Federal Waters

Santa Monica, CA — Governor Jerry Brown should immediately stop all offshore drilling in state waters in response to President Trump’s decision to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic, including in federal waters off of California, Consumer Watchdog said today.

New "The Twelve Days of Jerry" Christmas Song and Animation Show Jerry Brown’s Big Polluting Gifts To Dirty Energy Industry

Santa Monica, CA—As Sempra’s Aliso Canyon natural gas reserve sprang another leak this week, reigniting nosebleeds and headaches among nearby LA County residents, Consumer Watchdog released an animation featuring Governor Jerry Brown and an updated "Twelve Days of Christmas" song highlighting his support for fossil fuels and dirty energy policies.    

Gov. Brown Should Stop Protecting the Oil Industry

Governor Jerry Brown sells himself as one of the world’s foremost climate change warriors. But as long as he protects the oil industry, California will miss its ambitious 2030 greenhouse gas emissions targets.

In Europe recently, Governor Brown touted “cap-and-trade” as the answer. A new report by Near Zero, an adviser to the state on its market mechanism to control emissions, shows why he is wrong.

DWP Rubberstamps $242 Million Tuesday Takeaway from Ratepayers In Violation Of Their Rights

Santa Monica, CA -- Today’s vote by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners for LADWP to transfer $242 million in ratepayer money to the City’s coffers is an illegal tax that should be either rebated or plowed into the LADWP’s electric infrastructure, said Consumer Watchdog and LADWP Advocacy Committee President Jack Humphreville.

Consumer Watchdog said that it was exploring legal options to have a court prevent the money from being taken from ratepayers to fill a city budget hole rather than for utility services.

Consumer Watchdog Decries LADWP Transfer Of $242 Million From Ratepayers To City Budget Without Voter Approval

Santa Monica, CA — The Board of Water and Power Commissioners for LADWP has put on its agenda a Tuesday vote to transfer nearly $242 million from “surplus” power rates — overcharges to ratepayers — to fill a hole in the city budget without voter approval at the ballot box.

Consumer Watchdog said such a so-called “transfer fee” should be illegal under Prop 26, which requires voter approval for such fees because they are really taxes.

Germany Could Teach Jerry Brown How To Be Greener, Consumer Watchdog Says

Los Angeles, CA — As California’s Governor traverses the world urging it to wake up to climate change, California’s leading consumer group called on Brown to take note of how much tougher Europe is on oil and gas companies than he has been. Brown has yet to support or approve limits on fossil fuel infrastructure in California, even though he has increased renewable energy and efficiency standards and championed low carbon fuel standards.

Failure to adequately regulate utilities helped fuel CA wildfires

Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Corruption can kill.

The fires that laid waste to California’s Wine Country and at least 42 lives were not merely the product of a changing climate and extra-heated winds. 

Early reports suggest the failure of Gov. Jerry Brown and his appointees to adequately regulate our public utilities to prevent such fires also fueled the fast-moving flames.

Governor Signs Bill Benefitting One Company And His Sister

Santa Monica, CA — Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation merging two water districts to benefit Five Point Holdings, builder of a massive new development called Newhall Ranch in northern L.A. County. Kathleen Brown, the governor’s sister, sits on the board and was paid $122,667 in 2016, according to a Five Point prospectus filed with the SEC.

Will Governor Really Sign Bill Benefiting Sister’s Development Company?

Santa Monica, CA — Governor Brown’s sister Kathleen was paid $122,667 in 2016 as a member of the board of Five Point Holdings, a developer about to benefit from Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on a bill crafted to ensure that its controversial planned community called Newhall Ranch has plentiful access to water in a thirsty desert, Consumer Watchdog said today.

Senate Completes Creation of “Brown Utility Commission,” Neutering PUC Independence

Santa Monica, CA — The California Senate completed Governor Jerry Brown’s consolidation of the California Public Utility Commission in the hands of three of his closest former aides and two of his former appointees, guaranteeing half a decade of influence by the utility-friendly Governor long after he leaves office, Consumer Watchdog said today.

California Wants Millions to Fund Water Project

Dozens of water agencies and millions of families and farmers could be on the hook for building two giant tunnels to carry Northern California's water southward under new plans to shore up funding for the $16 billion project.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dozens of water agencies and millions of families and farmers would be on the hook for building two giant tunnels to carry Northern California's water southward under new plans to shore up funding for Gov. Jerry Brown's $16 billion project.

Senate Confirms Two Latest Appointees To State Utilities Panel

Gov. Jerry Brown’s two latest nominees to the California Public Utilities Commission were confirmed by state lawmakers in the closing hours of the legislative session despite a campaign to stop one of the nominations.

The confirmations of Commissioners Clifford Rechtschaffen and Martha Guzman Aceves were announced Saturday by commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper.

Consumer Advocacy Groups Want LADWP’s Official Watchdog Fired. Here’s Why

Several groups have gathered at Los Angeles City Hall today to call for the firing of an official watchdog charged with fighting for the interests of Department of Water and Power customers.

Representatives of Consumer Watchdog and other groups say the utility’s official “ratepayer advocate,” Fred Pickel, has not been working on the side of utility customers. As a result, they have launched a campaign to oust him.

Consumer Watchdog Kicks Off Campaign To Fire LADWP Ratepayer Advocate Fred Pickel

Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog, Food & Water Watch, DWP ratepayers and other advocacy groups rally today in front of City Hall to urge the Los Angeles City Council to fire DWP ratepayer advocate Fred Pickel for selling out ratepayers instead of protecting their interests.

“Pickel is an energy consultant whose bread has always been buttered by utilities," said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. "He has taken every opportunity to support LADWP while disregarding ratepayers and providing dismal customer service.

End of Session Hijinks In Sacramento Leave Consumers In Cold

As the legislature ended its business for the year in the early morning hours, legislative leaders proclaimed a prolific progressive session. Not so if you care about consumer protection.

Key public interest causes were abandoned because of the power of the usual moneyed interest groups and the dependency of state house politicians on them.

Power Grid Expansion Plan Withdrawn Amid Political Backlash

The late-session plan to restructure management of the California power grid skidded to a halt Wednesday in the wake of growing opposition from interest groups and a spate of negative publicity.

While lobbyists and advocacy groups spent much of the week pressing for passage or defeat of the proposal long-backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the lawmaker who introduced the bill withdrew his dual measures early in the afternoon.

CAISO Expansion Legislation Delayed Until 2018

According to Natural Resources Defense Council, which backs the move towards regionalization of western energy markets, Holden has said the issue will likely be revisited in January during the second half of California’s two-year session.

For now, the conservation group sees a lost opportunity. A quarter of the country's power flows through the Western grid, connecting more than a dozen states, two Canadian provinces and Northern Mexico. Nearly 40 separate entities manage day-to-day grid operations.

EDITORIAL: Shame on Sacramento: Power-Grid Power Play No Way To Run A State

There is just one reason lawmakers try to push through rewritten bills in the final days of the California Legislature’s session each and every September: It’s because they know the more scrutiny the proposals get, the less chance they have of passage. That’s a contemptible, undemocratic rationale.

Legislature Pulls Brown’s Electric Deregulation Plan Ramrod After Public Backlash

Sacramento, CA – A public backlash against Governor Brown’s eleventh hour attempt to give Western energy barons and Trump officials power over California’s energy and the state’s laws has ended for the year.

Assembly Member Chris Holden has stated his last-minute bills will not go forward after activists and newspaper editorial boards condemned the backroom dealing and ramrod of complex proposals with only days left in the legislative session.

Governor Brown’s Former Cabinet Secretary Secretly Lobbying for California’s Grid Operator

Santa Monica, CA — Governor Brown’s former cabinet secretary, and former executive for Pacific Gas & Electric, Dana Williamson, is said to be lobbying in the state Capitol to ramrod through reauthorization of a regional trading market for electricity that set up the state’s disastrous energy crisis two decades ago, according to legislative sources.

Watchdog Warns Gov. Brown’s 11th Hour Western Grid Proposal Will Let Trump Gut CA Laws

Sacramento, CA – Consumer Watchdog today wrote the California Senate that a proposal backed by Governor Brown for a regional electricity market would allow Donald Trump’s appointees to invalidate California ratepayer and environmental protection laws.

The last-minute legislation has the backing of some of the same corporate environmentalist groups and unions that backed electricity deregulation in the late 1990s and in fact reauthorizes a law first passed during California’s deregulation debacle to create a Western trading market. 

KNBC TV-4 Los Angeles, CA: Exide Cleanup Under Fire for Leaving Homes With Contamination

Young children play in the back yard under the shade of an avocado tree. The kids dig holes while their grandfather makes homemade guacamole. It's a scene that's played out at the Mariz family home in Maywood for years.

But no more.

"They found lead throughout my front yard but not as bad as the backyard. The backyard is worse," said Reynaldo Mariz.

Lead levels are so high that state officials have told Mariz to stay out of his backyard until it's cleaned. But until recently, his grand kids played in the contaminated dirt all the time.

As Aliso Canyon Injections Resume, Some Valley Residents Say They Fear The Worst

Jane Fowler says she’s crippled with fear over Southern California Gas Co. resuming injections at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near her home.

The Granada Hills resident has endured headaches and nausea in recent years, she said, that would vanish when she distanced herself from the underground storage field, site of the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history.

Consumer Report Alleges Conflicts Of Interest Between Gov. Brown and Sempra

One day after Sempra Energy’s regulated natural gas utility announced it had reopened the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage plant, a Southern California consumer activist group raised new questions about the San Diego energy giant’s close ties to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Governor’s Office rejected the groups’ report as old and baseless, saying there are no conflicts of interest and Brown-appointed regulators are holding utilities to account.

PUC Appointee Deserves A Hard Look From State Senate

Depending on how things go in a scheduled Aug. 23 state Senate confirmation hearing on Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest choice for a seat on the powerful state Public Utilities Commission, many millions of consumers could face both health risks and higher-than-necessary electric, gas and water bills for the next six years.

That’s the length of the term to which Brown appointed his longtime close aide Clifford Rechtschaffen, labeled a “lapdog” of the oil industry by some consumer advocates. Once confirmed, he can’t be fired by either Brown or the next governor.

Op-Ed: Why PUC Confirmation Is A Key Test For Legislators

The recent reopening of the Aliso Canyon natural gas reserve, source of the largest methane leak in U.S. history, should remind state lawmakers that regulation is as worthy of their focus as legislation.

A confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Gov. Jerry Brown’s top aide on oil and gas to the Public Utilities Commission gives the state Senate an opportunity to set the record straight on Aliso Canyon and the Achilles’ heel of the Brown administration.

EDITORIAL: State Senators Must Ask Tough Questions Of PUC Nominees

There are some indications that Clifford Rechtschaffen, one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s two latest appointments to the state Public Utilities Commission, would be more of an advocate for utilities than for consumers, ratepayers and those adversely affected by environmental issues.

That’s why the Senate Rules Committee needs to ask tough questions of Rechtschaffen in his confirmation hearing this week.

State Senators Say Utility Regulators Must Restore Trust

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California Senate panel gave narrow approval Wednesday to Gov. Jerry Brown's two recent appointees to a powerful utilities commission after imploring them to restore public trust in an agency that's been damaged by scandals and environmental disasters, including the largest-known methane gas leak in U.S. history.

Senate Leader Says Brown's Utilities Commissioners Must Face More Questions Before A Floor Vote

The California Senate Rules Committee voted 3 to 0 on August 23 to confirm Governor Jerry Brown’s nomination of Clifford Rechtschaffen and Martha Guzman Aceves as commissioners on the California Public Utilities Commission, but Senate leaders said the two have serious questions to answer before the confirmation is put to a floor vote.

Consumer advocates speaking at the hearing strongly opposed Rechtschaffen because of his history of coziness with Big Oil and Big Gas interests under the Brown administration. Nobody at the hearing voiced specific opposition to Aceves’ confirmation.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On LA City Council To Fire LADWP Ratepayer Advocate Based On His Backing Of Delta Tunnels

Los Angeles, CA -- The Los Angeles City Council should reject a recommendation by Fred Pickel, Director of the Office of Public Accountability at the LADWP, that the city back tunnels altering water diversions South from the San Francisco Bay Delta, and should fire him for once again favoring utility over ratepayer interests, Consumer Watchdog said today.

“Pickel’s assertions that the Delta tunnel project is affordable for ratepayers is pure fantasy,” said Consumer Watchdog Advocate Liza Tucker.

Public Interest Groups Urge CA Senate To Deny Gov's Point Man Confirmation To PUC After He Fired Tough Oil Well Safety Regulators & Weakened Safety Rules

Sacramento, CA --  Public interest groups are urging the California Senate Rules Committee to demand answers about oil and gas well safety breaches from Governor Brown’s top oil and gas aide and to not confirm him to the Public Utilities Commission without them.

Gas Injections Resume At Aliso Canyon More Than 20 Months After Massive Leak

Despite concerns raised by residents and Los Angeles County leaders, Southern California Gas Co. said Monday it is restarting natural gas injections at Aliso Canyon wells and that the company has completed all safety measures to do so.

Throughout Monday the company issued mixed messages about when injections resumed. But a letter sent to Porter Ranch residents Monday made it clear, confirming that SoCalGas had “started the process to resume limited injection operations.”

Governor’s Sister Kathleen Brown Makes More Than $1 Million Dollars From Sempra Board Work, And Stands To Make More, As Regulators Favor Company And Resume Injections At Aliso Canyon Gas Reserve

Santa Monica, CA -- Sempra shareholders have profited wildly from the favorable decisions taken by Jerry Brown’s appointees since the Governor was elected, and his sister Kathleen Brown, a Sempra board member, has made more than $1 million in cash and stock since joining the board four years ago, Consumer Watchdog said today in a new report.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On LA City Council President To Appoint Consumer Advocate To Find Next Ratepayer Advocate, Says Pickel Failed LADWP Customers

Santa Monica, CA---Consumer Watchdog today urged City Council President Herb Wesson to name a consumer advocate to the citizens’ committee that will nominate the next ratepayer advocate at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. DWP’s first ratepayer advocate, Fred Pickel, is a power industry insider and former consultant to Enron who has failed ratepayers by consistently putting DWP’s interests above consumers, said the group.

Consumer Advocate: DWP Is Rife With Conflicts Of Interest

A consumer advocate says it’s time to shed some light on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s screwy spending priorities.  DWP customers have borne the brunt of under investment in infrastructure, what with two recent power outages in the middle of a heat wave.  Consumer Watchdog President Jaime Court says there’s self-dealing by the powers that be.

”I don’t think they’re criminal. I do think there are a lot of very, very smelly situations that involve the taking of rate payer and tax payer money and the infrastructure of the city falling apart.”

Jerry Brown Announces Global Climate Action Summit As He Promotes Fracking, Delta Tunnels

The New York Times didn’t mention that “America's de facto leader on climate change” received $9.8 million from oil, gas and utilities, often within days of winning big favors, since he ran for Governor, according to a report released by the the Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog last August: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/dirtyhands

Advocates: Exide Cleanup Plan Leaves Many To 'Fend For Ourselves'

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment.

Consumer advocates and community activists say the state Department of Toxic Substances Control's long-awaited plan to remove lead from more than 2,000 properties around the former Exide battery recycling plant doesn't do enough to protect residents from lead exposure.

Op-Ed: Brown’s Beijing Fling With Contributors

While in Beijing, Gov. Jerry Brown publicly promoted the fight against climate change. Just as important was the quiet attendance of AES, a major builder of fossil-fuel power plants in California.

Was the governor making plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, or was he making deals to build more climate-warming natural gas plants? Unfortunately, California’s transparency laws don’t ensure the disclosure of such backroom conversations.

DWP's Plum Deal With L.A. Raises Doubts

Critics question if union's concession on nonprofits warrants City Hall's granting of $56 million in raises.

For nearly two decades, ratepayers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have pumped nearly $4 million a year into a pair of nonprofits created to improve employee training and safety at the city-owned utility.

The nonprofits paid top utility managers and union leaders six-figure salaries and provided plush expense accounts but never demonstrated they had much impact on either training or safety.

California’s Double-Edged “Climate Leadership”: Behind The Big Talk, A Cozy Relationship With Big Oil

When President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, California elected officials were immediate leaders in the reaction, promising to forge ahead regardless of what Trump might do. They were building on an existing infrastructure of 175 subnational entities committed to fighting climate change, the Under2 Coalition, which California helped initiate.

Governor Jerry Brown Betrays Californians with Massive Giveaway to Oil Industry in Proposed Extension of Cap-and-Trade

Sacramento, CA — Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch oppose Assembly Bill 398, brokered by Governor Jerry Brown to extend California’s cap-and-trade program past 2020, as a massive giveaway of billions of dollars to the oil and gas industry that fails to rein in one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in California. The organizations are calling on state legislators to defeat the bill, which could be called for a vote on Thursday.

Consumer Watchdog Calls Location of Governor Brown’s Climate Action Summit Misguided

Santa Monica, CA—As Governor Brown challenges the Trump administration today on climate change by issuing a sweeping invitation to a global “climate action” summit in San Francisco, Consumer Watchdog is challenging the Governor to hold the summit in Northern California’s Richmond or in Southern California cities like Wilmington or Torrance—home to emissions-spewing refineries.

Fossil Fuel Electric Plant Developers Fund Brown’s Beijing Fling

Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog today called on the Public Utilities Commission to require disclosure of any communications about new, unnecessary natural gas-fired power plants in Southern California made during Governor Jerry Brown’s recent trip to Beijing to tout clean energy. The trip, during which energy company executives had intimate access to the governor and energy regulators, shows the need for greater transparency around power plant decision-making.

Jerry Brown Not So Green: CA Ratepayers Overpaid Billions For Dirty Energy

Californians are paying billions of dollars too much for electric plants we don’t need. That’s the finding of a major Los Angeles Times investigation and a new Consumer Watchdog report explains why.

Governor Brown has embraced the building of fossil fuel generated electricity, along with the reopening of Aliso Canyon’s gas reserve, even while Californians have a glut of electric capacity.

Note To Prez: Keystone XL Will Raise Gas Prices, Not Create US Jobs

The populist president just revived what will be a bad economic deal for Midwest gas prices and American jobs, the Keystone XL pipeline.

My nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog studied the issue in 2013 and found that the Keystone XL extension was a way to move Canadian crude to Asia through the gulf coast, which would re-route cheap crude that now feeds Midwest refineries. The likely result: higher Midwest gasoline prices.

T-Rex Tillerson To Save Oil Industry From Extinction As Secretary of State?

Would longtime Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson make the most inappropriate Secretary of State in American history? 

Make no mistake. T-Rex would have one key mission: rescue the oil industry from near extinction following rising global awareness of climate change.

In 2012, Vladimir Putin was quoted saying to Tillerson, “Mr. Tillerson, I am very happy to see you... This is already our second meeting in a short span of time and there is a good explanation for this: increasingly close relations are being forged between your company and Russian market players.” (Bloomberg News)