In response to PG&E’s Chapter 11 filing on Jan. 29, 2019, IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell issued the following statement:
“At this point, we do not know exactly what the utility will look like once it emerges from bankruptcy. However, we remain fully committed to protecting our members’ jobs, as well as the wages and benefits that they have earned, so that they can continue to provide safe and reliable gas and electric service to millions of Californians in thousands of communities across the state.
“We staunchly oppose any sale, break-up, municipalization or change of ownership at PG&E for a number of reasons. Parceling out the utility into smaller, weaker segments would unquestionably have a negative impact on the safety and stability of both gas and electric service, it would increase costs, and it would decelerate progress towards California’s ambitious clean energy goals. Furthermore, selling or municipalizing some or all of PG&E’s gas or electric transmission or distribution systems would not solve the overarching issue of climate change and the strict liability policies that have put PG&E and all other California utilities on an unsustainable trajectory.
“The claims from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, filed under California’s inverse condemnation law, are the single largest cause of the company’s financial woes that have led them to this point. Under inverse condemnation, plaintiffs do not need to prove negligence on the part of PG&E, they only have to prove that PG&E equipment was involved in the fire (even in instances of extreme and unanticipated climate change-induced weather events). If left in place, this policy will continue to put an undue onus on all power utilities in California, regardless of ownership, and we urge state lawmakers to act quickly and decisively to reform inverse condemnation immediately.
“There are no easy solutions to the structural, regulatory and climate change-induced problems that PG&E is facing. The company, the unions, the CPUC and state lawmakers must all work together on a comprehensive plan that will harden the system, alleviate undue liability, protect customers and workers, and keep us on track towards 100% renewable energy.”