PG&E: Capitalism’s Revenge on the Customer

PG&E itself sure doesn’t trust the infrastructure it’s in charge of maintaining. It’s not surprising that they tell us we can expect more of these massive power outages in the future. This is capitalism’s revenge on the customer: PG&E gets to keep control of our electricity and gas even when the company’s actions turn out to be murderous. And if you want to sue them? Ha! They show you who’s in charge! Deadlines for filing a claim exclude thousands from being compensated! Power outages for the rest of us!

PG&E has raked up over a billion in profits for years on end, and paid its CEOs and top executives millions of dollars in cash and equity per year…by skimping on maintenance (since labor, being their highest cost, cuts into their profits). Our fine democratic government puts the California Public Utilities Commission in charge of protecting us from PG&E’s potential misdeeds as a monopoly, and instead it acts as an accomplice. The fact that PG&E has declared bankruptcy leads many to think that the company’s shareholders and managers aren’t making money anymore. Don’t think for a minute that the executives in this company have lost a cent of their pay, or given up a single vacation on a private jet! PG&E is paying its new CEO, Bill Johnson an annual base salary of $2.5 million along with a one-time transition payment of $3 million on the first day of his employment, (it’s hard work to run a company with a murderous reputation so of course he deserves over $3 million a year).  And that’s just the cash salary. It doesn’t include what he will get in equity in the company.

This is our so-called meritocracy, where after the fires the ex-CEO of the company, Geisha Williams got a raise! She walked away with $9.3 million dollars in 2018! She can afford to be off the grid with solar panels and batteries for storage. And we get power outages… until we change the system, and decide who does what labor, for human need.