CMTA ratepayer coalition opposes ‘blank check’ for utility wildfire costs

By Michael Shaw

Capitol Update, July 13, 2018

CMTA and a coalition of agricultural, industrial and residential ratepayer organizations sent a letter to the recently announced members of the Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response demanding that ratepayers not be seen or treated as the ‘blank check’ for utilities seeking to push off billions of dollars in costs while protecting shareholders from any impact.

The coalition includes a broad array of folks that normally fight like cats and dogs over which group will pay how much to support the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to customers large and small across the state, so this coming together of traditionally opposed groups signifies the imminent threat of major rate increases that could follow if limits are not put on electric utility costs.

The Conference Committee has not set any schedule for meeting over the legislative summer recess that began on July 9thand runs until August 6th. However, it is expected that they will hold at least one hearing over the break and this coalition will be present to share the ratepayer perspective. 

Your support of this effort will strengthen the argument that any additional costs for protecting the electric system and our communities from damaging wildfires should not include utility negligence or outrageous upgrades that do not bear a reasonable connection to the interests of ratepayers. Any increases must be also carried by shareholders and the state and not simply be a ratepayer burden. 

Look for additional communications as we ramp up our outreach to legislators over this critical issue. 

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