Oakland, CA: PG&E Corp., the bankrupt major California utility facing billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, has has just announced an agreement to overhaul the board and hire former Tennessee Valley Authority executive William Johnson, a utility insider lacking in renewable energy leadership, as CEO.

Vote Solar’s executive director Adam Browning issued the following statement in response to these reports:

“A safe, healthy and resilient clean energy system is both what Californians want and what our policies require. Leading the state’s largest utility, PG&E from its current state of bankruptcy and its risky dependence on the fossil-fueled status quo to an innovative distribution utility that promotes a safer 100% clean powered grid will take the right kind of forward-thinking leadership by the PG&E board and its executive team."

"While we need a renewable energy leader, TVA, under Bill Johnson’s leadership, is a renewable energy laggard. California is demanding 21st century solutions, and Mr Johnson’s resume is very much rooted in the past. After a history of deadly disasters, PG&E customers also deserve board leadership with a laser focus on the safety of our families and communities.

I’m concerned that these board and CEO decisions, which were promoted behind-the-scenes by a few New York hedge funds, keeps PG&E on a dangerous course track of continuing to place shareholder interests above the interests of the public that this utility is intended to serve. Californians deserve better.”

Out of concern for the best interest of ratepayers, Vote Solar along with Earthjustice and Environment California delivered a letter to PG&E’s interim CEO and Board Chair in March. Full text of the letter is available here

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PG&E and TVA Clean Energy Facts:

  • The proof is in the pudding: PG&E procures 10 times more renewables (as a percentage of total electricity it delivers) than TVA.

  • Due to strong renewable energy policies, renewables comprise 34% of California’s electricity in 2018, and by law California (and PG&E) is required to go to 60% renewable by 2035 and 100% carbon-free by 2045

  • In contrast, TVA is a total laggard in utility-scale renewables: TVA currently has 3% wind and solar in 2018 with aspirations to go to a measly 5% by 2027.

  • TVA makes it hard for customers to go solar. TVA's grid access charge was criticized by pro-solar groups, along with its lagging solar programs, one of which it now says it will cancel. On distributed solar and also equity and justice, TVA has notoriously pushed for fixed fees.

 

About Vote Solar: Founded in 2002, Vote Solar is a non-profit policy advocacy organization working to lower solar costs and expand solar access in states nationwide. Learn more at www.votesolar.org

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Media contact: Rosalind Jackson, 415-817-5061, rosalind(at)votesolar.org

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