Steven Weissman, California Public Utilities Commission, Uc Berkeley discussed on All Things Considered
Campfire lawsuits from the twenty seventeen wildfires, and it's January bankruptcy filing. Steven Weissman joins us to discuss what this profit loss might mean. For ratepayers. He's utility expert at UC Berkeley at a former administrative law judge at the California Public utilities commission. I guess first off probably no one is surprised that PG would have a drop in earnings. But did you expect this big of a drop? It was really good going to depend very much on what the company decided to set its. Priorities to -ccomplish, and and so one potential outcome was as we've seen that they actually have been taking some of the net revenue said available in the short run. And if used to try to get on top of its efforts to stiffen up the system to help prevent future welfare. So this is not not entirely surprising outcome. What do you think this might mean for electric rates, we pay? The letter is really don't have any particular direct impact on rates if the company was collecting a enormous amount of net revenue that might put downward pressure on rates. I think the company is indicating right now that it's spending money where it can it's trying to preserve. Some net earnings to help reassure investors. But it'll probably use this as further argument for why it should be granted the rate increases currently requesting. Do you think that there needs to be some fundamental changes? And and if so what do you think needs to become contemplated here where we're going to have a very big challenge with the wildfire costs. If we continue to have the types of losses that we suffered over the last two years money has to come from somewhere. It's gotta come from utility ratepayers shareholders or come form of higher insurance premiums higher taxes or uncovered losses if their people a future wildfires. There's a tremendous amount of economic liabilities state from I'm going wildfires. And so there's really no alternative no acceptable alternative to finding a way to reduce your city of wildfires. And what do you think of governor? Newsome's ideas, thus far he's right now working on thirty five projects across the state to mitigate wildfire risk with courage to see the the wildfire risk reduction strategy becoming a much higher budget priority for the state. These projects are all moving in the right direction. However, frankly, I don't think there enough. I think what we're going to need to have some kind of of standards established by the state and enforced by the state that apply to all people who manage property, whether it's local governments the state itself or private citizens standards. That will ensure that that everybody will be taking the steps they can take to reduce the intensity of what wildfire feeding fuels on their land. And if not face some liabilities from from having failed to do so. Okay. Thank you, so much pleasure. Steven Weissman is utility expert at UC Berkeley. And a former administrative law judge at the California Public utilities commission. And I'm Tara Siler KT news support for K Q E D comes from the corporation for public broadcasting and San Jose center for the performing arts presenting national geographic's symphony for our world,.