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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Eco Watch

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

01/18/19: EBCE scam: Greener profits? How did this slip under the radar?
Anyone getting one of those EBCE cards late Fall touting lower electric bills and PGE credits is subject to overcharging and the denial of refunds if you are a Tier 1, or, low electric user like myself. A $4 increase on my first EBCE/PGE electric bill due Jan.14.19= almost $50 per year. The EBCE rep had the gall to admit they were "not a match" for me and then refused to issue a refund, referring me to PGE instead-despite the fact they both knew my low usage status before automatically signing me up. He also danced around what EBCE considers to be an "applicable billing cycle date"=greener profits for who??? Is this a pre-bankruptcy backroom deal between EBCE & PGE?

** TIP**Rather than opt-out online on my own, this retired senior biller accepted EBCE's offer to let them process the cancellation over the phone, followed by an email I later received with a confirmation number. AND, in addition to documenting the rep's name, he also provided me a customer service "Interaction Number" verifying details of our conversation. Of course, it may all be bogus, but at least I was hopefully able to add another layer of security. I may revisit the online option if this saga continues too long.

PGE's Spin
I called PGE to get their policy on opting out. They also refused me a refund, citing yada-yada about the PUC with more finger-pointing back to EBCE.
.**As in other comments in this thread, PGE admitted customers were still being billed higher electric charges months after opting out.

** Burden on the vulnerable**
I Timothy 6: 10 states that it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil, not money itself, which flows from God who supplies our needs. I pray that the news agencies make this scam public for the protection of those who can least afford to be violated by corporate greed.
Maxine Butler- Oakland, CA

Posted by Maxine Butler on 01/18/2019 at 1:22 PM

Re: “East Bay Community Energy Wants to Power the Community

They transferred customers without their permission then when we opt out continue to bill my electric bill doubled and I cancelled/opted out TWO months ago BUT they continue billing and each side blames the other. I have filed several complaints for two of my clients who have disabilities and medical needs. They are a complete scam.

Posted by Raquel Santiago on 01/18/2019 at 7:15 AM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

If you want to push solar, legislate that PG&E etc. must take and distribute solar-produced electricity. Why set up a layer of "choice" agencies? EBCE did not address this basic question in the information it sent us; it just enrolled us without asking.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 01/15/2019 at 5:57 PM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

Clearly, PG&E corporate can't manage two distinctly different businesses: gas pipes and electric wires. Split it into a PG company and a PE company.

Secondly, the two new companies must commit to the Climate Emergency and significantly reduce emissions in accordance with IPCC goals.

Posted by B Tom Smith on 01/12/2019 at 12:03 AM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

The PUC is a complete toadie of PG&E ... they all need to fired. Citizens need to be rewarded for going green The harsh realities of the "free market" should apply to big energy as well. No exit fees. No toadies. Sold out regulators should be tarred and feathered.

Posted by Zee Jeff Taylor on 01/11/2019 at 9:09 AM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

Ditto what Al Weinrub said: "How to determine PCIA fees is all arbitrary, and the question is whether you're going to be arbitrary on the side of our communities or arbitrary on the side of the monopoly utilities."

Posted by Mike Bradley on 01/10/2019 at 11:24 AM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

EBCE is another quasi governmental agency with lots of highly paid management employees. So we basically get another taxpayer funded bureaucracy to deal with. Great..

Posted by Ernest Montague on 01/10/2019 at 9:12 AM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

Utilities should not be private enterprises. All utilities should be owned by the community using them and accountable to the community, not to share holders. PG&E has proven itself not to be trustworthy with our lives. The state needs to take PG&E out of private hands and run it ourselves (yes, ourselves, because we are the state.)

Posted by Connie Tyler on 01/09/2019 at 10:08 PM

Re: “State Threatens Viability of East Bay Green Energy Program

PG&E is blowing us up and burning us down. It's hard to trust them on anything. I wouldn't trust them on this.

Posted by Nancy Schimmel on 01/09/2019 at 4:07 PM

Re: “Will the Bayer-Monsanto Merger Further Harm Bees?

Graft. Politicians. All true. Most things fail and our government is doing likewise. When there is nothing but money, no food, bees or birds they can eat money.
We get what we deserve. Wake up people.

Posted by Kevin Boynton on 12/02/2018 at 6:51 AM

Re: “The Problems With Bioplastics

Finally some accurate info on compostable plastics! I know of no Northern California compost facility that is properly processing rigid compostable plastics, yet some are contracted to accept them. It is likely a mistake for cities to be directing their use through sustainable foodware ordinances. It's not that rigid compostable plastics aren't breaking down in the piles. It's that they aren't allowed in the piles in the first place. All jurisdictions will be expected to be making, and using, huge amounts of (quality?) compost under SB 1383. We have to keep our compost salable by keeping compostable plastics out of the compost feedstock - and then stop greenwashing rigid compostable plastics as sustainable.
Andy Schneider

Posted by Andy Schneider on 11/21/2018 at 2:25 PM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

I would like to develop a kelp field in the area of Southern-California in federal waters. I would like to grow kelp from subsurface buoys to surface in areas where the water is too deep for kelp to grow from the seabed. One possibility is to make mooring lines for the subsurface buoys from recycled waste car tires. The tires would be cut and woven to lines using ring weave technology. I have hands on practical knowledge of ring weave technology. I have experience of boating in Southern-California waters. I have a way to collect and process tires, and to store relatively small amount of mooring lines on my property. I have the funds to obtain a boat for starting the process. I would need permission from federal authorities to place the lines and buoys at a convenient location. For this permit I would need more logistic data, of what kind of subsurface buoys and what kind of anchoring systems to use. Any cooperation would be appreciated to develop a plan of buoy and anchoring system definition. ( Any cooperation would be appreciated to facilitate the permitting process.
The intention is to keep expanding the kelp field into international waters, possibly beyond any Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Any comment is appreciated (

Posted by spark on 11/03/2018 at 6:47 PM

Re: “Fish Fight

if you want to do the least harm start to harvest the fish at plankton size this is when they are most abundant ,and most like 99% will be eaten anyway care of newborns has made radical progress in the last fifteen years... my call for restocking food stock fish would be to collect in wild store in the waters they were harvested from by floating nets to only protect from predators in the plankton for a very limited time after which they can be released right back into the waters the tide has carried them at a much more survivable size

Posted by Gerald Fichtner on 11/02/2018 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Oakland Coal Company Dissolves, Reconstitutes

Correction needed, the court appointed mediator is requiring the Warriors to repay the Coliseum JPA 40 million dollars for Oracle arena improvements. Omar Benjamin (Commercial Real Estate) and Jerry Bridges (Port Operations) WERE senior level department heads at the Port of Oakland. As I recall, both resigned. Benjamin, under suspicious circumstances related to inappropriate use of public funds.

Posted by GPatton on 10/31/2018 at 8:57 AM

Re: “Oakland Coal Company Dissolves, Reconstitutes

Why are we blessed to always have shady people intent on screwing the citizens of Oakland. We get Mark Davis, Lew Wolff and a new Warriors ownership group who immediately announce their intent on moving the now world champions to the land of OZ (SF). At least Davis will soon be gone, the new A's owners seem to be doing the right thing and the Warriors are now going to be required to repay the City 20 million dollars it owes for Oracle improvements. What is disappointing about Tagami and his coal project is that the folks on his team, including Tagami himself, are people with history doing positive things for this city. Bridges and Benjamin are both senior level department heads at the Port of Oakland. Tagami and McClure were both Oakland City Planning Commissioners and members of the Port Board of Directors. How they could as a group, try to leverage this history and community relationships in order to reignite the long history of environmental assault on the citizens of West Oakland by pursuing this coal related pipe dream is shameful. To blame the City because they lost their financing and law suits take time in the courts is not damage. It is the cost of doing business. All parties involved are big boys who know that. The depths that greedy small minds will go to make money is truly amazing.

Posted by GPatton on 10/31/2018 at 5:23 AM

Re: “Oakland Coal Company Dissolves, Reconstitutes

Meanwhile the City has failed to monitor the development at the Army Base as the Municipal Code and State law requires. In response to "requesting a copy of the Mitigation Monitoring Program form for the Oakland Army Base Redevelopment Plan (ER01035) that was returned to the Environmental Review Officer after the mitigation measures were implemented as required by OMC 17.158.340.F" the City responded "Attached you will find the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the Oakland Army Base Project (ER01035) updated in 2012 then revised and adopted by the Oakland City Council on July 16, 2013. This is the mitigation program applicable for the reuse of the former Oakland Army Base (OAB). The mitigation measures are being implemented, and monitored by the City, as the horizontal infrastructure (including the new roads, utilities and site preparation) is underway, and as the private development projects at the OAB (such as the new warehouses) are constructed. A mitigation monitoring compliance form is being developed, though it is still a draft. Please follow up with another request in about 60 days. Thank you." The Municipal Code section cited states in part, "For a project for which a mitigated negative declaration or an EIR has been certified, at the time the project is approved, the mitigation measures will be compiled into a checklist form." In other words the City has not prepared the checklist and monitored the development as State and City law require.…, And this is one of many projects where the City has failed to follow this section of the law.

Posted by Ralph Kanz on 10/30/2018 at 8:34 PM

Re: “Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for Cars

Third lane is necessary, traffic back up is horrendous, as somebody who has lived in Marin for over 30 years, and now commutes daily from the East Bay to Marin, I've seen first hand the magnification of commuters from the East Bay to the North Bay over the past decade alone. There are NO bicycle commuters from Richmond to Marin, the proposed bike lane would function as a weekend amenity for those wanting to take in the view..that's about it.

Posted by eelmi on 09/12/2018 at 8:47 PM

Re: “The Fight to Clean Up Another Richmond Brownfield

The area has multiple train tracks. Why not remove the hazardous waste by railcar?
Comments need to be sent to the DTSC before 9/10. Send them to Best to get them in a couple of days early.

Posted by electricista on 09/01/2018 at 4:46 PM

Re: “The Fight to Clean Up Another Richmond Brownfield

The area is criss-crossed with train tracks. Why not transport it by train?

Posted by electricista on 09/01/2018 at 4:46 PM

Re: “The Fight to Clean Up Another Richmond Brownfield

Comment 1
When asked about Zenecas cleanup sites, Richmond residents response is unanimous: the sites need to be thoroughly cleaned up, with all hazardous materials entirely removed. Richmond residents want assurance that they, along with their families and friends, will live their lives in a safe, toxic-free environment, without having to worry about any types of post-cleanup risks or contingencies. And really, who would not?

I find it extremely worrisome that DTSCs toxicologists rely primarily (if not exclusively) on data provided by Zeneca. Zeneca is not an independent third-party and consequently, its data cannot be the main source of reliable numerical figures when choosing an option for a cleanup operation, the outcome of which greatly affects peoples health, now and in the far future.

Barbara A. Lee, Director of DTSC, assures people that she works passionately to ensure the principles of environmental justice. Why, then, is DTSC relying on a polluters data set? It makes no sense to me. In fact, I find it unethical. It is DTSCs duty and responsibility to, first and foremost, protect and defend Richmond residents rights.

Comment 2
The middle-ground cleanup, Alternative 3a, is not an acceptable choice when it comes to thoroughly and permanently resolve the issue of hazardous waste at the Zeneca sites in Richmond. Alternative 3a is certainly more cost effective for Zeneca and DTSC than Alternative 6. Also, 3a is quicker (that's one of the reasons why it's cheaper) and easier to plan, manage and execute than Alternative 6. But the people of Richmond and everybody who came to the Public Hearing I attended unanimously voiced their opinion: we all want a thorough and complete removal of all hazardous waste.

In other words, people want Alternative 6.

DTSC and Zeneca say that this option not be green enough, because it will pollute the atmosphere. According to them, thousands of trucks will be transporting contaminated soil to a TSD facility for treatment, storage and disposal of the hazardous waste. DTSC gives an estimate: 29,000 trucks trips with 15,500,000 miles traveled. Sure thing: that's a lot of carbon dioxide in the air!

However, I would like to point out two important facts:
1. Alternative 6 cleanup will not last forever. With Alternative 3a, cleanup will stick with us like glue. Forever.
2. Reading the document ZENECA_FSRAP-26Mar18-Text_tables-Figs_Intro.pdf, one can easily see that Alternative 6 relies on one mode of transport: land. And also, one type of vehicle: trucks. Many studies show that transporting hazardous waste by trucks is neither the only possibility nor the best way to proceed. In the document, ZENECA_FSRAP-26Mar18-Text_tables-Figs_Intro.pdf, I cannot find a sound explanation for relying exclusively on land transport and on trucks to remove all contaminated soil from the toxic site.

Posted by Oh on 09/01/2018 at 1:44 PM

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