Monday, January 31, 2011

Patriot Hustler vs. PG&E

Last Tuesday, in front of the California Public Utilities Commission headquarters on Van Ness and McAllister, there was a day-long protest by air-conditioning and duct laborers whose contract had been abruptly canceled by Pacific Gas & Electric a couple of weeks ago.

Anthony Winkler (above) explained, "You know that 2% 'green and energy savings' fee you see on the bottom of your PG&E bill? That was for programs to increase energy efficiency, such as putting in new ducts and air-conditioning systems in the Fresno Unified School District. We just finished that job and it's going to increase energy efficiency by about 30%, and there's no way you can get that kind of savings in any other way. But PG&E has decided not to fund the program anymore, even though they are still going to be charging you that 2%."

I don't know the truth of that statement, but I'd be more willing to believe Mr. Winkler than any PG&E spokesperson, since lying seems to be their default setting these days, as witnessed by the recent fatal San Bruno explosion and its continuing cover-ups. The California PUC is probably not going to be any help either, since the regulators and the regulated are so incestuously intertwined, as witnessed by the grotesquely improper "appreciation" dinner last Thursday in San Francisco for a "Friends of CPUC" group that was shaking down utility companies for donations.

The really interesting thing about the protest was that it was part of a group led by Eddie Roche, a self-mythologizing former Marine who bought a house in Inglewood (South Central L.A.), and started an air-conditioning class for the gang-bangers in the neighborhood that's been an inspirational success. That's his Patriot Hustler bus above, and you can get to Eddie's extraordinarily entertaining website filled with fascinating videos by clicking here.

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