California Environmental Justice Alliance

Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

Groups Demand Stop Outrageous Giveaway to Utilities

Bill written by Assm. Perea, PG&E, SCE and SDG&E would add up to $120 additional charge for
low-income and working-class families

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOS ANGELES, CA — Sierra Club, California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), and Presente.org took out a full-page ad in the Fresno Bee today chiding local Assemblymember Henry Perea over legislation to increase electric bills on low-income and middle class families by adding a fixed charge of up to $120 per year on every customer bill. This regressive charge would not only constitute an unfair rate increase for many Californians, but also halts progress on a clean energy future based on conservation, efficiency and rooftop solar.

“How many more hits on our pocketbook can we take?” said Strela Cervas of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, a statewide coalition of six community-based organizations working in low-income, communities of color. “We demand that Perea drop the greedy fixed charge from the bills of low-income and working-class families. Our families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for back-to-school supplies for their kids — they aren’t fodder for the utilities to squeeze out more corporate profits.”

Including a fixed charge on every customer’s bill means that a growing portion of an average family’s bill could not be offset by rooftop solar or by reducing energy demand. Analysis by the Sierra Club found that a monthly $10 fixed charge on electric bills would cut rooftop solar growth by 42% and cut energy savings 37% by limiting the amount of money customers can save. Reducing the use of clean energy at home would not only slow the green economy, but lead to increased pollution as demand for dirty power rises.

“This bill represents a major power grab by the utilities to limit the growth of important clean sources of energy like rooftop solar. Basically, this represents the worst kind of politics of doing the bidding for powerful utilities at the cost of working families. Assemblymember Perea should be ashamed,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org, the nations largest online advocacy organization for the Latino community.  “This major cost shift will rest on the backs of middle and working class families is not only wrong but represents plain out bad policy for our families,” added Carmona.

“This outrageous giveaway to the utilities moves California backwards,” said Evan Gillespie, Director of the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. Lobbyists for powerful utilities have bamboozled state-leaders into thinking that utilities care about their customers. That’s as believable as Colonel Sanders claiming he cares about chickens. This attack on families’ pocketbooks and their environmental priorities is misguided.”

The advertisement, running Tuesday in the front section of the Fresno Bee, urges constituents to contact Assemblymember Perea and urge him to drop the fixed charge. A copy of the ad can be accessed here:

Contact: 

Strela Cervas, scervas@caleja.org or (323) 826-9771 x 104

Evan Gillespie, evan.gillespie@sierraclub.org or (203) 376-1679

Trevor Fitzgibbon, trevor@fitzgibbonmedia.com or (202) 406-0646

About California Environmental Justice Alliance

The California Environmental Justice Alliance is a statewide coalition of grassroots, community-based organizations advancing environmental justice in statewide policy. CEJA represents approximately 15,000 residents in communities of color in California. Our members are: Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Communities for a Better Environment, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, the Environmental Health Coalition, and People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights.

About Presente.org

Presente.org is the largest online Latino advocacy organization with solid expertise in building online, social media and grassroots engagement strategies and programs. Presented is dedicated to moving our nation towards policies and cultural frameworks where the dignity, freedom and well-being of all people outweighs the bigotry, fear and short-term greed of the few.

About Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the nation, with more than 1.2 million members and supporters nationwide. The My Generation Campaign is a statewide effort to ensure that every Californian is able to enjoy the access and benefits that come from the use of affordable, local clean renewable sources of energy and end our reliance on dangerous fossil fuels and other dirty energy sources..