I was there for both blockades, got arrested, held in various locations, sometimes in a high school gymnasium, other times at the regular San Luis Obispo jail, not nearly as fun. In the gymnasium, we had LOTS of bright creative people to do fun stuff with, and the Police Lieut. in charge snuck in a guitar so Jackson Browne could entertain us. Turns out the officer’s wife was a big fan. PG & E has pulled a lot of dirty tricks on the public, but Diablo Canyon was probably their worst. They got the P.U.C. to approve its construction for 357 million dollars, then went ahead and spent over 6 BILLION. They tried to blame it on us, saying we were making unreasonable safety demands, but it wasn’t the protestors that caused the 1,600% markup in price. I attended a lot of PUC meetings (where they’d let you talk, but basically ignore you) and found out the real gold mine: PG & E’s contract on Diablo Canyon (or any large project) was a Cost Plus deal. Every dollar spent, PG & E as a public utility was GUARANTEED a return of $1.13. So as costs skyrocketed, the rate payers just got shafted deeper and deeper.
So now the plant is finally closing. Guess who’ll pay the billions of dollars to do a complete decommissioning? I will, and you too if you’re stuck in central or northern California.
And remember about a decade ago when PG & E went bankrupt? Turns out PG & E has about 6 major divisions, and the one that went bankrupt was the one that had to be paid by the ratepayers. In typical Wall Street fashion, the “administrative division” did not go bankrupt, and top execs paid themselves bonuses.
Any wonder why I LOATHE PG & E? I spent about a decade of my life fighting them, and now, 35 years later, they are finally getting serious about the renewable energy we were advocating in 1975.
Patrick Young, former coordinator, People for Safe Energy, Fresno, CA