Green power

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

You may wonder why PG&E is so supportive of California’s various green power initiatives:

It also benefits from the way California regulates its utilities. Their sales are separated, or “decoupled,” from revenue, so they neither earn more by selling more energy nor lose money by promoting efficiency measures that reduce those sales.

Instead, California’s utilities make a guaranteed profit on all their investments — $2.8 billion this year for PG&E. The regulators have also approved big budgets for energy efficiency, something that has helped PG&E’s top business clients save money, while boosting PG&E’s bottom line. The $300 million PG&E set aside for energy efficiency in 2007 includes a lot of “customer education,” which often doubles as public relations for the company.

It’s such a fine line between forward-thinking and gaming the system.

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