SAN DIEGO, Aug. 12, 2019 — As a result of Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) looming bankruptcy, California ratepayers are being asked to bail out the nation’s largest utility by paying $10.5 billion into a wildfire fund to cover future liabilities.
PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2019, citing an estimated $30 billion in liability stemming from its role in catastrophic wildfires of 2017 and 2018. One of these was the Camp Fire, the deadliest in California’s history. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, PG&E knew for years that its aging transmission system was at risk of sparking wildfires but repeatedly delayed the necessary upgrades.
PG&E now has until September 26, 2019 to submit to the bankruptcy court its plan to reorganize company finances and compensate the victims of the wildfires. A group of insurance companies and a group of PG&E bondholders have also put forth their own proposals. This is the company’s second bankruptcy in two decades.
PG&E’s bankruptcy plan will not include compensation for victims of future wildfires. For that, Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a $21 billion wildfire fund. Half of the money for this fund will come from customers of the state’s three utility giants: PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. The companies’ shareholders will be responsible for the other half.
Lest anyone feel sorry for the shareholders, PG&E is now asking California regulators to raise its annual profits from 10.25% to 12% (nationwide the average return allowed by states is 9.45%). According to PG&E, this profit increase would translate to $4.12 added to the average monthly residential bill. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are seeking similar profit increases.
NeoVolta designed its NV14 home energy storage system to help homeowners fight back against the utility companies. Energy generated during the daytime can be stored in the NV14’s clean, cobalt-free battery and used during evening “peak demand” hours when utility rates are often twice as high. The system’s inverter can be coupled to a DC panel for greater efficiency and additional savings. And in the event of a blackout, the NV14 will power a home’s critical loads indefinitely.
“It’s frankly appalling that customers must once again shoulder the cost for the greed and negligence of investor-owned utilities,” said Brent Willson, CEO of NeoVolta. “But with the NV14 storage system, you can take back the power. The NV14 offers savings on your home utility bill, while giving you the security and peace of mind that come with reliable backup power.”