Here’s what the PG&E Bailout means for hardworking Californians:
For ratepayers this bailout means higher rates. Period.
Piling tens of billions of dollars in additional debt onto PG&E will have real costs. It’s the equivalent of maxing out the credit card to pay for past bankruptcy claims. This means that PG&E will have to raise rates to cover new or unforeseen expenses, such as future wildfires, unplanned equipment repairs or infrastructure upgrades.
Tanking PG&E’s credit this way will also lead to higher borrowing costs that will also be passed on to ratepayers.
For California taxpayers this bailout is unfair.
Granting tax-exempt status for PG&E’s bailout bonds would mean billions of dollars in lost tax revenue for California. That includes $2.7 billion in lost funding for California’s schools, hospitals, public safety and other critical services.
For PG&E employees this bailout means an uncertain future.
By relying on increased debt instead of investments to get out of bankruptcy, PG&E will need to take additional cost cutting measures, meaning fewer jobs and benefits for employees.
For homeowners this bailout means added wildfire risk.
Bailout bonds might provide a temporary reprieve for PG&E, but saddling the company with more debt reduces the ability of the company to make essential improvements to become more resilient against the threat of wildfires.
For PG&E’s owners this bailout is a dream come true.
They get to keep their massive profits and maintain control of PG&E at the expense of the future health of California’s utilities, financial stability and safety.