Public Policy Engagement
PG&E’s business as a regulated provider of gas and electricity is largely shaped by public policy at the local, state, regional and national levels. We regularly engage on a wide range of public policy matters that are important to PG&E and our customers, knowing that the evolution of these policies plays a significant role in achieving safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy for customers, as well as defining the structure of the market that impacts PG&E and other energy companies.
PG&E advocates for public policies that help us to better meet the needs of our customers and employees, while adding value for our shareholders and supporting our goal of environmental leadership.
This includes taking highly visible leadership roles on issues of local, state, national and international significance, such as our participation in events surrounding the COP21 international climate talks in Paris. PG&E Corporation’s Chairman and CEO, who was among a number of senior leaders representing PG&E in Paris, advocated for developing a smart and resilient grid to deliver a low-carbon future for our customers, among related issues.
Prior to the Paris talks, PG&E Corporation’s Chairman and CEO joined President Obama and senior administration officials at the White House as they announced new pledges by major companies to reduce greenhouse gases and address the impacts of global warming. PG&E was among the companies signing on to the administration’s American Business Act on Climate initiative, which aimed at rallying U.S. companies behind the need for action on climate change.
Much of our public policy work is done through coalitions. For example, we actively work with trade organizations such as the Edison Electric Institute, the American Gas Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Hydropower Association, as well as with organizations such as the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the Clean Power Plan Initiative, the Alliance to Save Energy, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund to advocate for responsible policies that support priorities such as energy efficiency and clean energy.
Additionally, we partner with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers on national energy policy, and the IBEW Local 1245, the Engineers and Scientists of California Local 20, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers on state energy policy.
Public Policy Governance at PG&E
The Compliance and Public Policy Committee of the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors maintains oversight of public policy matters. At the senior management level, our Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Public Policy leads the development and implementation of PG&E’s public policy activities.
The Compliance and Public Policy Committee reviews PG&E’s political contributions program. The PG&E Corporation Board of Directors establishes management approval limits for political contributions from PG&E to candidates, measures, initiatives, political action committees and certain other organizations that may engage in political activity. These approval limits may be delegated further within PG&E. The Compliance and Public Policy Committee also directs the preparation of an annual report detailing political contributions made by PG&E during the preceding year.
PG&E Corporation and its affiliates and subsidiaries are committed to fully complying with both the letter and the spirit of all applicable federal, state, local and foreign political laws, and to maintaining the highest ethical standards in the way we conduct our business.
PG&E makes corporate political contributions to:
- Candidates for state and local office.
- Political action committees (PACs).
- Political parties and other organizations that engage in voter registration and similar activities that encourage citizen involvement in the political process.
- Nonprofit organizations, including those formed under Section 501(c)(4) and 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Along with civic, charitable and volunteer activities, employees can participate in PG&E’s political engagement. All eligible employees may make voluntary contributions to the following PACs: PG&E Corporation Employees EnergyPAC and Pacific Gas and Electric Company State and Local PAC. PAC contributions go directly to support candidates for elective office and political parties at both the federal and state levels, as well as other political action committees. By law, PG&E cannot use corporate funds to make contributions to federal candidates.
Selected public policy issues at the state level include:
- Clean energy and climate change. PG&E supported SB 350 as an important step toward achieving California’s aggressive climate change and clean energy goals. Signed by California’s Governor, SB 350 increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030, and doubles state energy efficiency goals. SB 350 supports the Governor’s April 2015 Executive Order, which set a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. We continue to engage in public policy discussions that focus on the broader goal of delivering cleaner energy in a safe, reliable and affordable manner, including the regional, multistate expansion of California’s Independent System Operator to help facilitate renewable energy integration across the West.
- Safety of underground facilities. PG&E has been a strong supporter of comprehensive legislation to protect underground utility facilities through an effective enforcement program. PG&E supported SB 661, which would create an independent board to investigate possible violations of the One Call law. The One Call law requires that homeowners, contractors and anyone with a project involving excavation call 811 to reach the Underground Service Authority, which will contact PG&E and other companies that may have underground lines in the area. Representatives from these companies will then mark the location of these lines so that projects may proceed safely.
Selected public policy issues at the federal level include:
- Energy legislation. We are focused on action related to electric vehicle deployment, grid innovation, making the hydro-power licensing and relicensing process more effective and efficient, pursuing electric reliability and vegetation management reforms, and energy efficiency and natural gas pipeline permitting improvements.
- Infrastructure investment. We support efforts to spur investment in our energy infrastructure, including resiliency in the face of climate change, protection of the physical and cyber security of the system and our vision for the Grid of Things™.
- Pipeline safety. PG&E fully supports the passage of S. 2276, the Securing America's Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016—federal legislation that directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish new federal minimum safety requirements for pipeline operators, including standards for underground natural gas storage facilities. This new law includes important provisions to improve the federal pipeline safety program and is an important step in further enhancing public safety.
- Workforce issues. We support workforce diversity, hiring veterans and growing leaders from within. We advocate for public policy that supports public-private partnerships such as PG&E’s PowerPathway program to create a pipeline of qualified veterans and others who can become highly skilled workers for the American economy and the energy industry. This includes our support for H.R. 3286, the HIRE Vets Act (the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2015), which would establish an effective voluntary program to promote private sector recruiting, hiring and retention of men and women who have served honorably in the U.S. military through an awards program recognizing the meaningful and verifiable efforts undertaken by employers. We also support the Obama administration’s focus on the role that the private sector can play in developing the capabilities and leadership skills of their team members.
- Small business support. We support the Obama administration’s work to assist small businesses in addressing financial challenges, including acting as one of the initial 26 companies to participate in the administration’s SupplierPay pledge.
In 2015, PG&E Corporation Employees EnergyPAC made contributions of $554,000 at the federal level and $3,000 at the state and local level. PG&E contributed $2,934,328 to state and local political candidates, ballot measures, political parties and other committees. Additionally, in 2015, membership in the PG&E Corporation Employees EnergyPAC increased more than 15 percent over the prior year. Our annual political contributions are publicly reported on PG&E Corporation's website.
|PG&E Employees Federal PAC Contributions|
|PG&E Employees State and Local PAC Contributions|
|Corporate Campaign Contributions|
|Total California Corporate Contributions to Candidates||$368,325|
|Total Corporate Contributions to Other Committees||$2,566,003|
|Portion of Dues That Were Nondeductible|
- 1. Represents the portion of membership dues to trade associations that was nondeductible under Section 162(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. Includes trade associations that received annual membership dues over $50,000. The reported amount is based on information provided by the trade associations to PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Return to table
PG&E also discloses its policies and procedures regarding its lobbying activities and trade association payments, including the portions of any annual trade association membership dues over $50,000, to the extent those dues are used for lobbying purposes.
PG&E-sponsored Energy Academy students meet leaders at State Capitol
PG&E Energy Academy students from Stockton and Sacramento had a unique experience at the California State Capitol: the opportunity to lobby state legislators and staff and advocate on behalf of their programs. PG&E brought 18 students from its Energy Academy programs at Foothill High School in Sacramento and Venture Academy in Stockton to the Capitol for the second annual Student Lobby Day.
Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, (in black and white suit) meets with Energy Academy students.