California utility’s green rip-off

Pacific Gas & Electric’s special program to charge consumers more for electricity in return for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is proving to be nothing short of a rip-off.

California regulators approved  in December 2006 PG&E’s three-year plan to raise electricity rates in order to collect $16.4 million which was to go toward the utility’s “ClimateSmart” program, an effort to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees. The program, launched in June 2007, also allowed consumers to sign-up by voluntarily agreeing to pay more for electricity.

Two years in the program, PG&E is seeking an 18-month extension of ClimateSmart because it has neither met its greenhouse gas reduction committment — it’s 500,000 tons short of the 1.5 million-ton target — nor has it signed up the number of customers originally predicted (0.6 percent actual vs. 3.3. percent predicted), according to a report in Carbon Control News (June 29).

Ratepayer advocacy groups had criticized the program as wasteful and aimed mainly at enhancing PG&E’s image as a leading green utility.

As it turns out, PG&E is merely providing additional evidence that “green” is synonymous with “fraud.”

fraud (frôd)
n.

  1. A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.
  2. A piece of trickery; a trick.
  3. a. One that defrauds; a cheat.
    b. One who assumes a false pose; an impostor.
  4. Anything labeled as “green.”

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