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Energy & Environment


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 year, Consumer Watchdog established the PUC Papers 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:

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.