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Photos: California Utility Regulators Hear Public Protest Over PG&E

Thursday, January 31, 2019 | Permalink
Audience members during public comment at the California Public Utilities Commission meeting Jan. 31 hold signs that say "No PG&E bailout."Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Over a dozen protesters urged the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday to prioritize fire victims over Pacific Gas & Electric Company shareholders.

At the CPUC meeting in Sacramento, demonstrators read the names of the 86 people who lost their lives in the Camp Fire, which devastated the town of Paradise and other small communities in Butte County. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

James J. Jackson Jr. with the Democratic Socialists of America reads the names of people killed in the Camp Fire along with other audience members at the CPUC meeting on Jan. 31.Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Mary Kay Benson of Chico, who was evacuated from her senior center during the fire, told commissioners power companies should be publicly owned.

“I'm here because I believe that the communities are more important than corporations,” she said. “Are we all just corporate collateral damage to shareholders’ profits?”

Mary Kay Benson of Chico speaks about PG&E during the California Public Utilities Commission meeting on Jan. 31.Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
Audience members protest during the California Public Utilities Commission meeting on Jan. 31.Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Commissioners did not respond to public comments.

Earlier this week, the CPUC unanimously approved letting PG&E take out $6 billion in loans, a day before the company declared bankruptcy.  

Seth Sanders, of the Sacramento chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, addresses television cameras outside of the CPUC meeting in Sacramento on Jan. 31.Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Also on Thursday, a U.S. bankruptcy judge at a hearing in San Francisco approved the company’s request to borrow $1.5 billion.

Attorneys for wildfire victims urged Judge Dennis Montali to prioritize their client's claims.

An attorney for PG&E, Stephen Karotkin, said PG&E wants to establish a trust fund to resolve all lawsuits from wildfire victims.

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified protester James J. Jackson Jr. It has been corrected.

Andrew Nixon

Multimedia Producer

Multimedia Producer Andrew Nixon illustrates CapRadio’s Web content with visual journalism including still photos and videos. He works in the news and information department, and on CapRadio’s documentary program, “The View From Here.”  Read Full Bio 

Nadine Sebai

Former Temporary State Government Reporter

Nadine Sebai was Capital Public Radio’s temporary state government reporter. Nadine is also a co-editor of Local Matters, a weekly newsletter showcasing investigative and watchdog news stories from local publications across the country.  Read Full Bio 

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