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:

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.

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