Engaging in Public Policy Matters

Photo: Linda Cicero

As a regulated, investor-owned utility in California, PG&E regularly engages in public policy issues of importance to our business and our customers. Given the scope and geographic reach of our business, we are involved in a wide range of public policy matters at the local, state, regional and national levels.

In general, PG&E advocates for public policies that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. For example, PG&E is a long-standing advocate for state and federal policies that encourage energy efficiency and clean energy, through a mix of incentives and standards to spur innovation in new technologies, create jobs and benefit the environment.

Public Policy Governance at PG&E

The Public Policy Committee of the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors maintains oversight of public policy matters, including political contributions. At the senior management level, the SVP of Regulatory Relations and the SVP of Corporate Affairs lead the development and implementation of PG&E’s public policy activities.

PG&E’s Approach to Public Policy Matters

As a company that provides energy to approximately 15 million Californians, it is important that we have a voice in policies that affect our business. PG&E seeks to advance public policies that enable 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 seeking policies that will enable us to provide our customers with the services they expect, while containing their costs as much as possible.

Much of our public policy work is done through coalitions. For example, at the national level, we were instrumental in establishing the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an alliance of major utilities, other large businesses, national environmental groups and labor unions to support comprehensive and effective clean-energy and climate change legislation in Congress.

At times, PG&E takes a stand on tough policy issues when doing so is in the best interest of our business and in keeping with the values that guide our work every day. From our public opposition to California’s Proposition 8 in 2008, which made gay marriage unconstitutional, to our early and sustained support for AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and our support for California’s aggressive vehicle emissions standards, we have taken positions on a range of important public policies over the years.

Selected Public Policy Issues in 2010

In 2010, PG&E continued its decade-long effort to advocate for a national, market-based approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While legislation we supported passed the House of Representatives in June 2009, it stalled in the Senate in 2010. PG&E also supported numerous other pieces of clean energy and energy efficiency legislation in Congress.

PG&E also joined a broad-based coalition of business, labor and environmental groups to oppose Proposition 23, a state ballot measure that would have suspended California’s implementation of AB 32. We made a $500,000 shareholder-funded contribution to the opposition campaign. The ballot measure was defeated by voters in November 2010.

In addition, PG&E championed a ballot measure, Proposition 16, The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act, which appeared on the June 2010 ballot and was defeated by Californian voters. If enacted, it would have amended the state’s constitution to require a two-thirds vote before a local government could spend public money or incur public debt to create or expand a government-run electricity business.


Twitter Facebook Next 100 Currents