Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
Doubts About Customers Paying For PG&E Solar Panel Production
Pacific Gas and Electric Company's recent application A1011002 to have customers pay for PG&E's involvement in San Jose solar panel production makes me wonder what this California public utility is up to.
The A1011002 filing requests that the California Public Utilities Commission allow PG&E to bill customers for PG&E's share of SVTC Technology's new solar panel production facility. Somehow, manufacturing solar panels is not what I would call a traditional role of a California public utility. Given the California Public Utilities Code language that defines what a public utility is, nowhere is there a provision for a firm or government agency to by manufacturing anything. In fact, PG&E encroachment into the manufacturing sector almost sounds anti-competitive.
Even if CPUC decides that PG&E can become a public utility manufacturer, there is the issue of who is going to pay for it. Under CPUC's previous decisions (upheld on appeal) regarding the First Priority Condition to infuse working and other capital into a public utility by its corporate holding company, PG&E Corporation should get the duty of infusing capital into its public utility PG&E, not ratepaying consumers.
The customers of PG&E have enough to worry about already in this economy than to be made draftee investors of something that they will never profit from like PG&E Corporation will.