PG&E has done enough for SLO County

October 22, 2016
Gordon Mullin

Gordon Mullin

OPINION by GORDON MULLIN

The California Public Utilities Commission held a public meeting this week giving interested parties the opportunity to present their thoughts to commissioners who are considering the Joint Proposal, an agreement between PG&E, several environmental groups and the union at Diablo Canyon, outlining details of the closure recently forced upon PG&E’s last remaining nuclear power plant.

Here’s my submission:

To the PUC board, thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Joint Proposal.

First, to PG&E: Thank you for creating and operating Diablo Canyon. I appreciate being able to tap into the thousands of megawatts of cheap, carbon free electricity that you have sold to us over the years. I know that your task has been bumpy and some segments of our community have been less than grateful for the service you provided, but I for one, am thankful and if I were king you would be able to continue providing megawatts far into the future.

In my view, there is no higher calling in our society than providing a product or service which is happily, and cheaply, utilized by we, the consumers. We tend to under-rate the value of the goods and services we receive, not realizing their importance to our lives until they are no longer here. A lesson soon to be relearned here in SLO county.

So to the management, employees and shareholders of PG&E for your years of excellent service to this community thank you.

However, in my view, you are being run out of town. PG&E I know would have preferred to continue in this service but the political forces in California gave you no option but closure.

I believe this was a poor decision but, I tilt at windmills here and I understand that the closure will occur. I’ve learned over the years that my failure to accept the inevitable gives me conniptions and hence I’ll sleep better if I let this fight go.

But, there is a final act still to be played out here in this county and it’s all about the end of the taxes paid by our current largest employer. City and county level governments, school boards, etc. are looking into a black hole approaching their budgets and they are understandably concerned.

I have several suggestions for these government entities but I do not have the time today to present them. For those interested, have a look at my earlier piece on the subject at CalCoastNews.

But, I’m here today to give one final comment to PG&E. In my view, you don’t owe us anything beyond what you’ve already generously agreed to in the joint proposal. For the next several years, you will be put under substantial political pressure to further mitigate the tax losses caused by you being run out of town, but I say it isn’t your fault and I see no need for you to dip into your coffers to give us more funds. When, for example, Albertsons grocery store decided to leave my neighborhood, no one asked them to pay for the taxes soon to be lost. And they left voluntarily, unlike PG&E.

So, for what it’s worth, I say PG&E, you’ve given enough already. I know our local government agencies will see you as the weak sugar daddy and they will, via the multiple state agencies that weld a sword over your head, attempt to force you to disgorge more funds than you’ve already promised in the joint proposal. But don’t.

The taxpayers of SLO county will have to grapple with the consequences of the closure and we have no right to seek mitigation from the guy we just tarred and feathered and ran out of town on a rail.


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sloyakman

We have the strangest sense of entitlement in this county. PG&E owes us nothing. Look at all the high paying jobs it provided for years, not to mention infrastructure improvements county wide.


Unhappy about the nuclear waste? Me too. Thank Harry Reid for torpedoing Yucca Mountain at a cost so far to taxpayers of 96 BILLION dollars. Imagine, one Senator is allowed to do something that unimaginable! Makes you want to puke.


Today’s Tribune cover story claims 25 year olds can’t afford to buy houses in SLO…No kidding. They ( I ) can’t afford to buy one in San Francisco or the Silicone Valley or the Bahamas or Paris. What gives anyone the notion that they are somehow entitled to own a home in SLO just because they would like to? Grow up.


moderator

Reid saved the largest sculpture in the world (city) from desecration by that rail spur.

Michael Heizer garden valley work is a national monument


moderator

Obama signed the bill


miles archer

Given ENOUGH?


Enough radioactive waste? Well they’ve certainly given us the gift that keeps on giving haven’t they?


They haven’t DONE enough until the tons of their radioactive waste products that soil our earth are dealt with.


OH, and btw…my electric bill this month (mostly from hydroelectric here) was $28.


TaxMeAgain

Miles, no earth is soiled. All waste from Diablo is neatly welded in metal tubes, inside an inert atmosphere that is again welded shut. Quit spreading lies and fear.


miles archer
shishkabob141

We have allowed our nose to be cut off despite our face.


shelworth

Hear, hear! Well stated, I could never get my mind around the county wanting money from a business after shutting it down. I was hoping PG&E would subdivide their property into one acre lots and build luxury homes on them, beautiful views out there.


Mitch C

It is amazing to watch the government types trying to protect their income stream in the laughable pretense that they are concerned about the citizens. PG&E should do everything that they can to assist their employees who will close Diablo. I do object too the $50 million dollar bailout of government agencies. The $50 million will come from rate payers, if anyone should get a $50 million bailout it should be the ratepayer in the guise of rate reductions. Why should I as a ratepayer give $50 million to government agencies for them to spend on pet projects that I most likely object to anyway.


TaxMeAgain

And don’t forget that those same government agencies and folks that have their hand out did NOTHING to run Mother’s for Peace out of town over the last 30 years. As a matter of fact, SLO Mayor Jan Marx was close with the local Sierra Club and they have been trying to close the plant for years. Now Jan wants more money!!!


DrGeneNelson

Thank you for your comments, Gordon. As a member of Californians for Green Nuclear Power, I was sitting near you in that hot, stuffy auditorium on Thursday afternoon for the CPUC public engagement meeting. I was wearing a small yellow sign with green lettering that read, “KEEP DIABLO CANYON OPEN CGNP.ORG”


CGNP and some other organizations that back nuclear power in California have not “thrown in the towel.” CGNP and other organizations have become parties to the CPUC proceeding in opposition to PG&E’s abandonment plans.


One of the reasons that PG&E wants to abandon DCPP is that the plant will be essentially fully depreciated by 2025. PG&E wants to artificially set the asset value to zero in 2025. As I noted in my CPUC comments, the plant was conservatively designed and could still be running in 2084. PG&E has been a good steward of the plant. PG&E could be failing their fiduciary duty to their shareholders, since the plant is running well and is highly-regarded in the industry. I’m sure that the plant is worth $2 billion, perhaps more. PG&E could develop a “win-win” strategy by selling the plant to Exelon Nuclear, or a similar peer firm.


If you or Cal Coast News readers want to help in this fight, please contact me at Liaison [at] CGNP dot ORG. Thanks!


SLOnative

Who are “Mother’s for Peace” going to be able to extort? Who will mail annual calendars to all households? How much longer will those ugly siren poles remain in coastal neighborhoods?


rukidding

Maybe the local government agencies and schools will have to react to a financial loss like others. Simply put they are going to have to reduce the quality of their lavish lifestyles that they currently live with. Maybe some of their lucrative benefit packages will have to be paid by the employee instead of the taxpayers. I would suggest that they gather some of their brightest, and they have told us there are many, and put a future program together like what current Social Security folks get. In fact they could use that as a benchmark for the future. In case you haven’t heard it’s a $4 a month COLA. Along with that, their medical benefits will be going up way past that figure. But at the same time these folks will want to keep raising our taxes, Measure J for example, along with other fees. It’s the same old story take as much as can get with little in return.

If your home were to be red tagged and uninhabitable, would you expect to pay the same property tax as before?


TWEEKSBALMER

Perfectly stated and I agree you have been a great neighbor and thank you!