On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), we are writing to support AB 33 which would allow the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to issue low-cost bonds to compensate victims of unprecedented wildfire damage. By way of background, The SVO is the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,400+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.
Silicon Valley businesses depend on a reliable electrical grid and energy supply in order to power the state’s economy. With wildfires ranging from the Oregon Border all the way down to San Diego, the state must grapple with the reality that we are living in a “new normal” when it comes to climate change and its relation to unprecedented wildfire damage. Last year’s historic wildfires, which have already proven as the worst wildfire season in California’s history, have already damaged about 10,000 buildings and claimed the lives of at least 66 people. The state must take leadership to help prevent future wildfires and deal with the rising costs of wildfires to the public.
The widespread nature and long-term liabilities associated with wildfire damage require that the state legislature take action immediately to secure California’s energy future. AB 33 would create a low-cost financing mechanism, known as securitization. Securitization will fairly compensate wildfire victims for their losses in a timely manner. This process would significantly lower costs to utility customers, when compared to other forms of traditional lending and/or rate increases.
For these reasons, The SVO supports AB 33 to provide a secure financing mechanism to fairly compensate wildfire victims.