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PG&E fat cats should pay up

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Who should pay the costs of closing the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant? Mainstream opinion seems to waver between making PG&E customers pay through hikes in electric bills or making cities and counties find the money themselves to cover the effects on them of revenue losses from Diablo property taxes. PG&E spelled out a commitment to help localities cover the losses, and their favorite solution, as usual, is to soak the consumer. But a recent court ruling has nixed that approach and everything is up in the air.

The one thing that politicians and pundits and media talking heads will not suggest is that PG&E should cover the costs themselves out of corporate profits. But to capitalist ideologues and apologists, that idea is an absolute no-no. "We can't hurt investors, stockholders! They are untouchable!" Bull!

This is the same PG&E that poisoned thousands of people in Hinckley, California, and no corporate executives went to prison. This is the same PG&E that criminally neglected its gas lines, leading to explosions that killed and maimed many, and destroyed homes and neighborhoods. Still no one to prison, Sure, they had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in both cases. So why not now about Diablo? Don't they kind of owe us? Shouldn't they take one on the chin for "the team"? Let the corporate hacks absorb it, and make it illegal for them to pass it on to anybody.

If investors no longer want to invest in PG&E after that, so be it. Seize the company and all its assets and make it a real and complete public utility finally. Compensate small and nonprofit institutional investors, but the fat cats can take a bath for once. Something tells me they'll be fine—not that I give a damn.

Jim Griffin



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