Community Choice Electricity in Contra Costa County a bad choice

Community Choice Electricity programs in Contra Costa County are a bad idea. Power from these massively debt-burdened and amateurish experiments is not cheaper nor greener

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Sometimes government pursues bad ideas.[i] Usually the ideas start out bad and then it gets worse. That’s the case with Contra Costa’s interest in “Community Choice” electricity.

reddy kilowattContra Costa County is broke. No, to be accurate, it’s actually beyond broke: The County spends more than it takes in, and it owes more than it’s worth.

Now Contra Costa wants to take another big risk with a lot of money – money it doesn’t have but will borrow from future generations. Contra Costa County wants to get into the energy business because everyone knows high-risk business ventures are the best cure for money problems.

Cheerily-named “Community Choice” electricity programs are new to California, with three currently operational: Marin Clean Energy (2010), Sonoma Clean Power (2014) and Lancaster Choice Energy (2015). San Francisco’s Clean Power SF is expected to launch its program later in this year.

Here’s how it works. Local government agencies form a new, semi-invisible government agency to purchase and sell electricity. The local utility company, such as PG&E, provides transmission, distribution, and customer billing services for a fee paid by the new agency’s customers. All people who live and do business in the area become customers of the new agency unless they ask to “opt out.”

The new agency must compete with the local utility company for customers. Government can make everyone their customer for a moment, but then they have to keep them. So what’s their pitch? Is the energy they’re selling greener than, say, PG&E? Is it cheaper? Is it managed by superior experts in the energy industry?

That’s a big nope . . . three nopes, to be precise.

Community Choice energy isn’t necessarily greener.

Most electricity is made from fossil fuels because it’s cheap, reliable and efficient. Wind and solar power are intermittent, so fossil fuels are needed to ensure 24/7 power. In fact, generating more wind and solar energy actually increases demand for fossil fuels.

Advocates of “CCA” (community choice aggregation) programs say their energy is greener, but that’s not always the case. CCAs often buy renewable energy credits to “greenwash” fossil fuel energy. They buy “renewable energy credits” and, like water into wine, this abracadabra makes fossil fuel energy greeny clean. This lowers costs so CCAs can compete on price with utility companies. But the dirty little secret is some CCA energy is green-in-name-only.

So if “Community Choice” energy isn’t as green as we’re led to believe, certainly it must be cheaper. But, alas, CCAs can’t promise cheaper rates.

Marin Clean Energy (MCE) has been operational since 2010. Initially, rates for MCE’s cheapest electricity option were slightly less than PG&E.  Today MCE offers three options, all of which cost more, on average, than PG&E.  MCE estimates its customers pay a monthly average of $4 to $32 more than PG&E, with the “cleanest” energy options the most expensive.

Simplistic CCA Propaganda fooled voters as Sonoma Clean Power now has non-cancelable power purchase commitments of $505.3 million thru 2026. This equates to more than $56 million for each of SCP’s 9 member agencies.
Simplistic CCA Propaganda fooled voters as Sonoma Clean Power now has non-cancelable power purchase commitments of $505.3 million for energy and power purchase agreements thru 2026. This equates to more than $56 million for each of SCP’s 9 member agencies.

Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), established in 2014, offers customers two options.  Currently its basic option costs about $7/month less than PG&E, while its all-renewable option costs about $11/month more than PG&E.

So if it’s not greener and it’s not cheaper, then perhaps the people running these agencies are more knowledgeable. Maybe they’re more innovative and competent than investor-owned utility companies like PG&E, so they deserve our trust to make our energy future bright.

That sales pitch falls flat because it turns out they’re actually less knowledgeable about the energy business than their non-government competitors.

Investor-owned utility companies like PG&E have decades of experience in procuring low-cost, reliable electricity. Their governing board members have industry experience.

By comparison, “Community Choice” agencies are relatively inexperienced and their governing boards have no industry background to inform decisions.

While Community Choice is new, government-run electric utilities are not. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) suspended its Electrical Aggregation Program in 2001, characterizing the short-lived, multi-agency program a “risky venture” due to market and regulatory uncertainty.

Less than two years ago, the City of Hercules sold its Hercules Municipal Utility following what was dubbed “a decade-long, multimillion-dollar misadventure.”  Overstated growth projections, unrealized profits, and heavy debt contributed to the electricity utility’s failure, leading to its sale to PG&E in 2014 amid a firestorm of public outrage.

The Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) is a Joint Powers Agency established in 1968 to sell power from its geothermal and hydroelectric facilities. Its 15 member agencies include the Port of Oakland, BART, the cities of Alameda, Palo Alto and Santa Clara, in addition to agencies in northern California. NCPA’s finances are strained due to heavy debt service requirements for more than $835 million in long-term debt.

Local elected officials serving on CCA governing boards are good at getting elected and running their cities; they’re not good at competing in high-risk industries over the long term. Experience proves they’re decidedly bad at it.

At the end of the day, Community Choice Agencies offer nothing to consumers. They simply cannot compete, long-term, with local utility companies. Facts don’t deter special interest groups that worship at the altar of Climate Change, profit from government contracts and urge government expansion with tireless zeal. Good sense demands that public officials resist the temptation to jump on this bandwagon.

Energy is a long-term business. Procurement contracts are non-cancellable and can span 30-40 years into the future. Cities that join CCAs are on the hook for large, long-term financial obligations. When things turn south (as they surely will), member agencies are stuck because they cannot afford to exit the program.

For example, as of March 31, 2015 Marin Clean Energy had outstanding non-cancelable power purchase commitments of approximately $886.5 million for energy and related services through October 31, 2041. This equates to more than $52 million for each of MCE’s 17 members, which include the Contra Costa cities of El Cerrito, Richmond, and San Pablo.

Community Choice Agency power is not cheaper nor is it greener. What it is is another government failure waiting to happen.
Community Choice Agency power is not not cheaper and is not greener, but only another government failure waiting to happen.

As of June 30, 2015, Sonoma Clean Power had non-cancelable power purchase related commitments of approximately $505.3 million for energy that has not yet been provided under power purchase agreements that continue to December 31, 2026. This equates to more than $56 million for each of SCP’s 9 member agencies.

Once a county or city government gets into the energy business they can’t get out, short of losing their shirts and abandoning the enterprise altogether, as happened in Hercules. CCAs are destined to become just another government money pit that will increase the burden of government debt our children and grandchildren must pay for such obligations as Contra Costa County’s $1.7 billion in unfunded pension and retiree healthcare promises.

Why add more debt for the sake of go-along-to-get-along political correctness?

Today we’re surrounded by local agencies unable to deliver on service commitments due to scandalously bad decisions – such as BART forgetting to save for the inevitable replacement of its train cars.

State law allows cities and counties to generate, purchase and sell electricity – but that doesn’t mean they should. Cities and counties already have enough to do. The energy business is volatile, competitive and best left to private firms whose investors choose to take risks with their money.

Whatever decisions government makes, you and I go along for the ride. But . . . we have the keys! And the government can’t drive drunk without our consent.

You and I aren’t stupid. We’re also not irresponsible. So when local officials approach us with slurred, sweet talk saying, “C’mon on, baby, let’s go for a ride. Relax, I’m fine. Don’t worry so much. Let’s get out of here” – We need to grasp those car keys tighter and tell them to go home and sleep it off. We’ll talk when they’re sober, clear-headed and ready to face reality.


Read more about Community Choice here.


[i] The Law of Bad Ideas:  Bad ideas don’t go away until they have been tried and failed multiple times, and generally not even then.

Corollary One: Left alone, bad ideas get worse over time.

Corollary Two: The overwhelming desire to implement bad ideas leads to compromises guaranteed to make things worse.

Corollary Three: Those in positions of political power not only have the worst ideas, they also have the means to see those ideas are implemented.

Corollary Four: The worse the idea, the more likely it is to be embraced by academia and political opportunists.

Corollary Five: No politically acceptable idea is so bad it cannot be made worse.

Source: Mike Shedlock, http://bit.ly/1JMSmfo

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Arrogance and ignorance reigns as Richmond nears bankruptcy

Richmond nears bankruptcy as years of fiscal mismanagement and incompetence by its hyper progressive City Council takes its toll.

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In June 2015, we last reported the financial disaster that is the city government of Richmond California after Moody’s downgraded its debt to near junk. Almost six months later, the question is not if the city of Richmond will file for bankruptcy protection, but when. Years of expanding government services, lack of fiscal restraint, poor administration, and just plain incompetence on the part of its City Council has led to this sad state of affairs as Richmond nears bankruptcy.

Embattled Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay
Embattled Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay

Other local governments in Contra Costa County since the 2009 recession have had to use the old journalistic “A.I.” approach which means “adjust and improvise,” as they fiddle with budgets and services to maintain essential tasks such as police and fire protection while balancing the budget. Many cities also passed local sales tax increases to make things work and avoid Draconian cuts.

An opposite approach has been taken by the City of Richmond in juggling its financial predicament outlined by Dan Bornstein’s recent column in the Contra Costa Times. A.I. in this case means “arrogance” and “ignorance” as Richmond’s hyper progressive leadership leads its citizenry off the fiscal cliff to certain bankruptcy.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and the Progressive Alliance that has controlled the political reins for too many years just don’t get it. They continue to ignore the city’s structural deficit of approximately 19 million dollars a year. The city is also oblivious to its pension and medical benefits deficit for city workers owed CalPERS that is more than 450 million dollars and growing each month.

Earlier articles have shown how abuses in overtime for (mostly) the police and fire departments have lead to ridiculous pay packages for Richmond employees (see table nearby). At the same time this has been going on, these individuals’ pension and medical benefits have gone up exponentially.

As an example in 2014, Richmond’s Fire Chief Michael Banks pulled in a gross income of $561,278, which included $287,034 in overtime and $75,993 in benefits. This package was $52,835 more than the compensation received the previous year by Fire Captain Angel Bubo, who at the time had the highest income of any public employee in Contra Costa County.

  City of Richmond, California Employee Compensation

It is well documented that if every man, women, child, and decline to state resident of Richmond were to send CalPERS a check for $4,100 they would still be in the red for pensions and medical coverage for retirees.

None of this matters to City Manager Bill Lindsay who acts like the Publisher’s Clearing House is going to bail Richmond out of its current economic mess any month now. Richmond’s criticism of Moody’s Investment Services and Standard & Poor’s downgrade of its bond rating to “junk bond” is tantamount to shooting the messenger.

Mayor Butt’s stated “They want us to cut our budget to the bone, they want us to lay off people, to curtail programs, to spend less money, put more money in reserves, pay off our pension obligations and that sort of thing.”  It never occurred to him that the bond rating companies do risk management and have no stake in its findings.

Richmond mayor Tom Butt
Richmond Mayor, Tom Butt

In his campaign for mayor campaign Butt stated, “The City of Richmond is more fiscally sound than it has been in decades” Perhaps this perspective helps explain why he thinks Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s do not know what they are talking about.

In concert with Butt’s questionable sense of reality, City Manager Lindsay held back the release of a report in 2014 that showed the bleak financial outlook the city faces today and in the future. It is likely this oversight helped the city to convince voters to pass a .50 percent sales tax increase that was intended for road repair and infrastructure needs.

As might be expected, the first year’s revenue was used to make debt payments rather than fixing pot holes as promised.

Meanwhile it has been business as usual for local government in Richmond to operate in the red and fall behind each month, as it fails to set aside payments for its retiree benefit obligations.

It is only a matter of time until Richmond joins Vallejo, Stockton, and San Bernardino in having to declare bankruptcy. As Richmond nears bankruptcy, Bill Lindsay will likely not care as he is expected to step down as city manager in early 2016 when his lucrative contract ends that pays him more than any other City Manager in Contra Costa County.

Tom Butt and the self-righteous progressives who rule Richmond will likely blame Chevron, Republicans, Wall Street, landlords, Corporate America, and anyone else standing nearby for causing its financial woes. It is doubtful that a lack of concern for the city’s bottom line could somehow be responsible for the mess Richmond is in.

As Richmond nears bankruptcy and the Chapter 9 flag is run up the flag pole, a judge would supervise the city’s operations. Existing labor contracts, retiree’s medical benefits, and debt obligations will need to be restructured. City contracts with vendors could be changed as well.

Cost cutting will need to occur whether the City Council likes it or not. Even then, bankruptcy is not the cure for everything as existing state law prohibits most pension obligations sacrosanct.

chevron logo (6)We can see how bankruptcy played out in Vallejo. While that city emerged from bankruptcy four years ago, it is still on shaky ground according Moody’s. Despite prudent cost cutting efforts by City Manager Dan Keen, Vallejo must still keep its budget under control. Even today Vallejo’s police department is understaffed by around 20% because of financial considerations.

Unfortunately, it will likely take years for Richmond to right the ship of government as it carries far more debt per person than most other locales in California that have  declared chapter 9. There are no overnight fixes for the years of fiscal mismanagement.

It will be interesting to see what will happen with Richmond’s City Council races in 2016. If Richmond becomes a ward of the state will voters continue to elect the same wild-eyed Progressive activists who have literally destroyed the local government?

How will Chevron, operator of the Richmond Refinery react to Richmond bankruptcy. In the past the large oil company has fought ongoing skirmishes with a local government that hates Big Oil but wants every dollar it can get through guilt trips and litigation.

Instead of opposing Progressives in Richmond, Chevron might consider doing the opposite and not contest the outcome of  upcoming City Council elections. Knowing that bankruptcy will limit the power of local government to hassle it, Chevron can sit on the sidelines and let Richmond suffer the results years of its own fiscal mismanagement.

Recent history in Richmond should be a wake-up call for local, state, and federal governments as well. Recklessly spending money and wasting valuable resources eventually lead to disaster. Richmond is certainly begging, even if they do not know it, for an adult to step forward and tell it “no” for a change.

 

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Why I fought for every child to be eligible for Richmond Promise Scholarships

First, Richmond Promise was presented to the public, at least initially, as a community benefit for every child in Richmond who needs financial aid.

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This fall I had the honor of serving as co-chair of the Richmond Promise Ad-Hoc Committee. The committee was tasked with making recommendations to the Richmond City Council regarding the Richmond Promise scholarships program.

richmond promise scholarships for all
Charter school community rallies for inclusion in the Richmond Promise scholarships program. Photo Courtesy Richmond Confidential.
In my opinion, the million dollar question was which schoolchildren should be eligible to receive Richmond Promise Scholarships. Committee members had very strong opinions about this.

Some committee members believed that only children graduating from West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) schools should be eligible. Other committee members believed that only children graduating from WCCUSD schools or charter schools should be eligible.

From the very beginning, I fought for every child in Richmond who needs financial aid to be eligible for a Richmond Promise Scholarships irrespective of their school of record. I did this for the following two reasons:

First, Richmond Promise Scholarships were presented to the public, at least initially, as a community benefit for every child in Richmond who needs financial aid. I thought it would be inappropriate for our committee to recommend something different.

Second, I could not in good conscience penalize children and parents for opting out of some WCCUSD schools. For example, Richmond High School and Kennedy High School are ranked the 40th and 73rd worst public schools in America by NeighborhoodScout.

Although I am a strong supporter of traditional public schools, under the circumstances I voted for every child in Richmond who needs financial aid to be eligible for a Richmond Promise Scholarship irrespective of their school of record. I urge the honorable members of the Richmond City Council to do the same.

Mister_Phillips-uncropped~ Mister Phillips is an attorney at law and elected member of the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee. He lives in Richmond with his wife and children.

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SB 350 drops gasoline cuts in win for California drivers, workers

SB 350, California Gov Jerry Brown’s landmark climate change legislation, will drop the highly controversial plan to cut gasoline supplies by 50% by 2030

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SB 350, California Governor Jerry Brown’s landmark climate change legislation, will drop the highly controversial plan to cut gasoline supplies by 50% by 2030. Other elements of the bill to improve clean electricity will move forward if SB 350 is passed on Friday, while Gov Brown will likely use regulatory moves to forward his climate agenda against oil consumption.

arco-gas-pricesThe polarizing SB 350 legislation was fiercely opposed by both sides, including the opposition of the Western States Petroleum Association, and California drivers, agriculture interests, while championed by environment activists that could not for some reason convince Californian’s that a scheme that cuts fuel by 50% would not impact California families dependent on driving cars to for work.

California Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) had accused the oil industry of a campaign of fear-mongering against SB 350 but compromised to get the rest of the bill a chance to pass. According to the Los Angeles Times, Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno), who leads the moderate Democrats, called dropping the climate change bill’s oil portion good news.

“I anticipate that there will be a lot of support for SB 350,” he said, adding that with the bill’s remaining parts, California would still be “the leading entity on climate change.”

Meanwhile Governor Brown and the Sierra Club in California, which likened opposition to SB 350 as a crime against humanity, tried to make lemonade out of lemons when it characterized the compromise as a skirmish won by the oil industry which will eventually lose the war.

Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, in a press release remarked,

Senate President Pro Tem de Leon has shown great courage in challenging the oil industry’s hold on the state and the state of the environment. And now, as Governor Brown has expressed his commitment to fight even harder to reduce our dependence on oil through other avenues, including regulatory avenues, I feel more certain than ever that the oil industry won this skirmish, but they won’t win the war.

Jerry Brown is reported to have said,

Oil has won the skirmish. But they’ve lost the bigger battle. Because I am more determined than ever.

sb 350 agriculture
SB 350 would cost jobs in agricultural communities thorough California, and harm workers and families reliant on automobiles

Chris Megerian of the LA Times reported on Twitter that “California regulators at the Air Resources Board say existing policies will keep moving the state toward big gasoline reductions anyway.”

GOP legislators opposed SB 350 but Brown and De León could not rally moderate Assembly Democrats who sought restrictions on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ability to willy nilly impose regulations and restrictions on emissions. In addition to Henry Perea of Fresno, Assemblyman Adam Gray, representing of Merced County and parts of Stanislaus County.

Adam Gray wrote:

AB 350 mandates a 50 percent reduction of petroleum use, but in the Valley – more than anywhere else in California – that means reducing jobs, businesses and opportunities. The Valley’s No. 1 industry, agriculture, is dependent on transportation by both trucks (produce) and cars (labor). We commute farther to our jobs than anyone else and have the least access to public transportation. We also have some of the highest levels of poverty and unemployment in the nation. Yet SB 350 puts these disadvantaged communities first in line to pay more and offers almost nothing in return.

Last year, as chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, I requested a study of the tax credits California offered to electric car buyers. We offer these incentives to increase the affordability of these low-polluting cars for middle- and low-income Californians. The study proved my suspicion that these credits almost exclusively benefit our wealthiest residents.

Seventy-eight percent of the credits went to buyers who earn more than $100,000 annually.

The Air Resources Board’s fix was to exclude people with incomes over $500,000 from receiving the credit. Showing just how out of touch these unelected bureaucrats are, the board defended its practice of using state dollars to help people making $450,000 per year pay for their new electric vehicles. Let’s put that in perspective. In Merced County, the median income is under $30,000 a year; the median income per household is only $35,500.

SB 350 would significantly expand the Air Resources Board’s already almost unlimited authority to determine how California will meet these new targets, cutting the Legislature out of the process with no review or approval necessary. Giving unelected regulators blank checks to meet goals without oversight ignores our basic responsibility as legislators. It empowers bureaucrats, accountable to no one, to make the important decisions.

The Modesto Bee, opined

We share their concerns and agree with their position. After all, people who live in the valley plow fields, haul produce, process food. All that requires machinery, which takes energy to operate. While we agree strongly with SB350’s goals, we don’t see anything in it to indicate the state will help this region achieve those goals – without costing us jobs, substantial money and mobility.

This bill would hand off the responsibility to well-meaning bureaucrats, and that scares us more than anything else about it. We’ve seen what such an approach can do as the state tries to cure a century of environmental ills by claiming ever more water from our rivers. As government projects and plans have failed to save imperiled fish – some due to drought, but some to government mismanagement of cold-water resources – fish populations have not improved. We do not trust and should not be forced to accept a law that lacks accountability at the ballot box.

 

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PG&E celebrates new $40 Million Concord Electronic Distribution Control Center

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) celebrated the completion of its new $40 million, 38,000-square-foot Concord electronic distribution control center that will manage the service grid to enhance electric reliability for PG&E customers throughout the Bay Area and Central Coast.

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) celebrated the completion of its new $40 million, 38,000-square-foot Concord electronic distribution control center that will manage the service grid to enhance electric reliability for PG&E customers throughout the Bay Area and Central Coast.

Six "pods" allow technicians to manage power distribution and respond to emergency outages
Six “pods” allow technicians to manage power distribution and respond to emergency outages

The PG&E Concord electronic distribution control center houses new, state-of-the-art smart grid technology. The new grid control center will enhance electric reliability and resiliency for PG&E customers throughout the Bay Area and the Central Coast.

The Concord electronic distribution control center is one of three new electric distribution grid control centers that will control PG&E’s more than 140,000 circuit mile electric distribution system—the system which delivers electricity to individual homes and businesses throughout the communities that PG&E serves. The Concord facility is designed to routinely handle 50% of workload for electricity distribution throughout the Central Coast. A second facility is already in operation in Fresno, Ca, and a similar facility in Rocklin, CA comes online in 4Q 2015.

Eschewing cork boards with paper maps, the all digital facility houses six “pods” or multi-user work areas that technicians can use to monitor power transmissions as well as provide workspace for overflow techs in the case of emergency procedures or overloading in one of the other areas due to bad weather.

“Our investment in the Concord electronic distribution control center will strengthen resiliency of the grid, while enhancing reliability ,” said Geisha Williams, the new president go PG&E Electric Operations. “Additionally, the facility adds flexibility to our system, allowing for broader integration of clean, renewable energy.

 

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No on SB 350 movement attacked by California climate alarmists

The No on SB 350 movement in California is under attack by radical environmentalists and climate alarmists who promote cutting gasoline and diesel fuel by 50%

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Surprised by a burgeoning, grassroots No on SB 350 movement of California motorists who oppose legislation that promises to cut gas and diesel fuel in California by 50%, radical environmentalists and climate alarmists in Sacramento have launched a last minute counter social media campaign.

no on sb 350 opponents
Radical environmentalists in California respond to No on SB 350 movement opposing 50% cuts to gasoline and diesel fuel

As reported here recently, SB 350 seeks to reduce petroleum use by 50% in just 15 years. While existing policies including requirements for more efficient vehicles and use of natural gas may get that number to 20%, “Planned activities over next two years can achieve significant additional petroleum reductions.”

SB 350 calls for immediate new restrictions on vehicle miles driven possibly by inflating prices by rationing gas, levying a new tax (fee) for vehicle miles driven in addition to possible new taxes on gas, while allocating resources for more expensive alternative fuels like biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen.

California drivers say No on SB 350

But can families in California afford SB 350 economically or the impact it will have on daily lives of normal people? Worse, consider the impact on the California economy for extremely bizarre policies of Governor Brown that will have no impact on Climate change, or whatever radical environmentalists and climate alarmists are calling so-called global warming these days.

Dan Walters at the Sacramento Bee (not related to the Contra Costa Bee) writes,

…whatever happens here – even slashing California’s emissions by three-fourths [from 9] to 2 tons per capita – won’t have a major, or perhaps even measurable, physical impact. Its effect, if any, would be metaphysical, as the governor clearly hopes.

Increasingly everyday people are not represented well by ill-informed elites that promote schemes such as AB-32 and a series of implementing laws like SB 350 that do not produce any of the claimed benefits. According to the California Drivers Alliance, “Some say it’s about state regulators limiting how far we can drive, rationing gas, increasing costs or penalizing drivers for using too much gas. But really, it’s about making it harder for regular people to drive to work and drive home each day.”

SB 350 also seeks to increase energy efficiency in buildings by 50% by 2030, and gives California’s energy agencies the authority to willy-nilly review and revise California’s energy efficiency programs to marshal the funds and regulatory actions necessary to reach this target regardless of costs to homeowners, contractors, as well as building, and facility managers.

Promoted by a Democrat political consultant, Steve Maviglio, the counter campaign includes photos of legislators pictured next to a child in a respirator, calling on said legislator to support children not big oil companies.

Holy cow. What a stretch. Here’s the press release.

Clean Energy California today launched a social media advertising campaign targeting key California legislators who have been featured in ads promoted by the oil industry in the battle over SB 350, climate change legislation sponsored by State Senate President pro Tem Kevin De León.

The ads, which began today on Twitter and Facebook, mock the ads placed by the oil industry group, “California Drivers Alliance,” a project of Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), that also are running on social media. The oil industry ads call for readers to “Help Assemblymember {LAWMAKER’S NAME} Vote No” on Senate Bill 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act. SB 350 would cut petroleum use, increase renewable energy in electricity and increase energy efficiency in existing buildings.

The Clean Energy California ads instead play on the WSPA ads, posing the question, “Will Assemblywoman Catharine Baker ‘help’ the oil industry?” and call on Californians to sign a petition supporting SB 350 (De León), and SB 32 (Pavley), a separate measure that would set long-term carbon pollution targets.

“We found it ironic that the oil industry, with its multi-billion dollar profits and record of pollution, is calling on Californians for ‘help,’ said Steve Maviglio, former Communications Director for the No on Prop 23 Campaign, the oil industry’s 2010 attempt to repeal the state’s landmark climate and clean energy law, and a consultant to Clean Energy California. “The choice for these Assemblymembers is clear: help the oil industry or help improve our air quality and the fast-growing clean energy industry by supporting SB 350 and SB 32.”

Maviglio said WSPA made a “significant” advertising buy targeting key legislators. Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) is the first target of the ads.

Courage Campaign is proud to partner with Clean Energy California on this effort to hold legislators accountable and support this vital legislation.

Follow Clean Energy California on Twitter at @CleanEnergyCA. Like them on Facebook.

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