On Wednesday, July 12, more than 45 IBEW 1245 organizing stewards, staff and executive board members packed the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee hearing to support Senate Bill 410 (Becker). The bill is critical to address the widespread problem of chronic delays in utilities connecting new residential and commercial buildings to the electric grid.
SB 410 requires PG&E and other investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to immediately reduce the severe backlog of customer-requested work and prevent future unreasonable delays. The IOUs will be required to complete the requested work sooner and significantly increase capacity on their electric grid. The bill requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to monitor and penalize utilities who fail to fulfill the mandate, and it also establishes additional guardrails that protect ratepayers from increased electricity costs.
“SB 410 is an important bill that will accelerate customer service and electrification, as well as require utilities to upgrade their electrical distribution systems to meet California’s clean energy goals,” IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager Hunter Stern explained, noting that this also amounts to more work for 1245 members and other IBEW workers across the state.
IBEW 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean thanked the organizing stewards and staff for attending the hearing, and emphasized, “We are here to make sure that our work is properly funded, our customers are properly served, and the economy keeps running smoothly.”
The sea of blue IBEW 1245 shirts unquestionably made an impact.
“Seeing so many staff and organizing stewards here is amazing,” said IBEW 1245 Vice President Willy Garris. “It’s good to see everyone across the territory stepping up and doing their part.”
The powerful show of union strength was not lost on the voting committee members. After nearly an hour of robust back-and-forth, SB 410 passed out of Committee 11-0, (four Committee members did not vote). Next stop: the Appropriations Committee.
“It’s inspiring to see our staff, our leaders and our members come together as one to fight for legislation that will ultimately protect our jobs, our families and our communities,” said 1245 Assistant Business Manager Rene Cruz Martinez, leader of the IBEW 1245 organizing program.
“Generations of workers will benefit from what we do here today,” added IBEW 1245 Business Representative Mike Tilden. “Sure, we are benefiting ourselves, but we’re also benefitting future generations.”
–Eileen Purcell, IBEW 1245 Senior Advisor to the Business Manager