PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Public Policy Engagement

As a regulated energy provider, PG&E’s business is shaped by public policy at the local, state, regional and national levels. We participate in the political process on policy matters that are important to both PG&E and our stakeholders, as the evolution of these policies plays a significant role in how we deliver safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to customers, and defines the structure of the energy market.

Our Approach

PG&E advocates for public policies that help us to better meet the needs of our customers and coworkers, while adding value for our shareholders and furthering our goal of leadership on sustainability.

Much of our public policy work, including engagement with elected officials and policy makers, is done in collaboration with trade organizations such as the Edison Electric Institute, the American Gas Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, the Nuclear Energy Institute and the National Hydropower Association as well as other organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Zero Emission Transportation Association. We also partner with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers and other labor organizations on national energy policy, and with the IBEW Local 1245, the California Coalition of Utility Employees, the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance, and other electric or gas energy providers on state energy policy.

The Sustainability and Governance Committee of the PG&E Corporation Board of Directors maintains oversight of public policy matters. The Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs of PG&E Corporation leads the development and implementation of PG&E’s public policy activities.

The Sustainability and Governance Committee reviews PG&E’s political contributions program. The PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company Boards of Directors establish management approval limits for political contributions from PG&E to candidates, measures, initiatives, corporate political action committees and certain other organizations that may engage in political activity. These approval authorizations may be delegated further within PG&E. The Sustainability and Governance Committee also directs the preparation of an annual report detailing political contributions made by PG&E during the preceding year.

PG&E Corporation and its affiliates and subsidiaries are committed to fully complying with all applicable federal, state, local and foreign political laws, and to maintaining the highest ethical standards in the way we conduct our business.

PG&E makes corporate political contributions to:

  • Candidates for state and local office,
  • Political action committees (PACs),
  • Political parties and other organizations that engage in voter registration and similar activities that encourage citizen involvement in the political process, and
  • Nonprofit organizations, including those formed under Sections 501(c)(4) and 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Along with civic, charitable and volunteer activities, coworkers can participate in PG&E’s political engagement. All eligible coworkers may make voluntary contributions to the following PACs: PG&E Corporation Employees EnergyPAC and Pacific Gas and Electric Company State and Local PAC. PAC contributions go directly to support candidates for elective office and political parties at both the federal and state levels, as well as other political action committees. By law, PG&E cannot use corporate funds to make contributions to federal candidates.

2020 Milestones

Public Policy Issues at the State Level

In 2020, the Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed SB 350, which gave Golden State Energy, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, an option to acquire PG&E’s assets, but only if PG&E fails to operate under the guidelines set forth in its agreed upon Plan of Reorganization. With Governor Newsom’s support, PG&E successfully emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 1, 2020.

The 2020 legislative year was largely impacted by the state’s need to prioritize the COVID-19 response. While many legislative proposals were discontinued by their authors to make way for high priority COVID-19 legislation, PG&E expects to see many of these bill topics re-emerge in the 2021 session. At the end of the legislative session, PG&E formed a coalition with customer groups to support broadly focused state-funded wildfire mitigation measures in lieu of using electric customer-funded mechanisms.

PG&E also advocated at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on climate issues, including amendments to strengthen the sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) regulation. PG&E supports an orderly and systematic transition of the electricity transmission and distribution industry away from the use of SF6 in gas insulated equipment due to its high global warming potential and the lack of a feasible destruction method for this persistent greenhouse gas. PG&E continues to work with CARB and industry on refinements to these amendments in 2021.

In 2021, PG&E looks forward to participating in CARB’s regulatory process to update the Scoping Plan for how the state will achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Public Policy Issues at the Federal Level

We support efforts to spur investment in and enhance the safety and sustainability of our energy infrastructure, including increasing resilience in the face of climate change, protecting the physical and cyber security of the system, and implementing a smarter grid.

In 2020, PG&E advocated and engaged with federal policymakers on opportunities to help address the crises facing our customers and communities including the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn and one of the most destructive wildfire seasons on record. We also educated elected officials and key policymakers about PG&E’s commitment to making critical investments in our natural gas and electric infrastructure, including successfully working with Congress to enact pipeline safety legislation and obtaining a system-wide federal permitting plan.

To support our customers in this unprecedented time, PG&E worked with our allied trade associations and coalitions to advocate for increased federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides much needed energy bill payment assistance to PG&E customers on fixed and low incomes. In March 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, an emergency spending package that included $900 million in supplemental LIHEAP funding.

Additionally, in December 2020, Congress approved, and the President signed into law, legislation reauthorizing funding for federal pipeline safety programs. PG&E supports this new law, and we are grateful for the bipartisan support that it received. It supports pipeline safety enhancement programs and is key to assisting in the ongoing advancements being made around innovative technologies and operational practices that improve safety. Over the last decade, PG&E has made significant progress to improve the safety and reliability of our gas system, and we will continue to work with state and federal policymakers to identify new opportunities and achieve even greater goals around safety.

Other areas of focus at the federal level include:

  • Increasing community resilience: PG&E is engaging with federal policymakers on ways to increase pre-disaster mitigation and build resilience to national disasters. PG&E partnered with the California Rural Indian Health Board to champion a Fiscal Year 2021 federal appropriations request to fund emergency equipment for tribal health centers impacted by Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. Thanks to the support of nearly three dozen Members of Congress, we were successful in securing $1 million for emergency generators.
  • Clean energy and carbon reduction policy: PG&E supports an economy-wide, market-based federal price on carbon as the most efficient, cost-effective means to reduce emissions, and we support complementary policies, such as incentives for electric vehicles and energy efficiency, that will help further reduce emissions. In addition to direct engagement with federal policymakers, PG&E participates in several coalition groups focused on climate and clean energy policy. For instance, PG&E Corporation is a founding member of the Zero Emission Transportation Association, which launched in 2020 and advocates for federal policies to enable transportation electrification. We are also focused on action related to grid innovation and reliability; renewable energy and storage research, development and adoption; hydropower licensing modernization; transportation electrification and efficiency; and energy efficiency codes and standards.
  • Improved physical and cyber security for our energy infrastructure: Securing critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats requires careful collaboration and support from federal partners. To that end, PG&E worked closely with the U.S. Department of Energy in response to the Bulk Power Executive Order and subsequent Prohibition Order, both issued in 2020. The Orders came in response to mounting concerns in the utility sector that foreign adversaries could surreptitiously be installing software on electric grid devices capable of monitoring or disrupting utility systems.
  • Modernized permitting processes: PG&E’s Multiple Region Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) was approved in June 2020, which provides PG&E with a comprehensive permitting strategy for federally listed species across our service area. With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval of the plan, PG&E’s entire service area now has federal coverage for endangered species most likely to be found near our gas and electric infrastructure.

Measuring Progress

In 2020, PG&E-affiliated employee PACs (PG&E Corporation Employee EnergyPAC and Pacific Gas and Electric Company State and Local PAC) made contributions of $320,500 at the federal level and $0 at the state and local level. PG&E contributed $2,469,000 to state and local political candidates, ballot measures, political parties and other committees. Our annual political contributions are publicly reported on PG&E Corporation’s website.

Political Contributions, 2020
PG&E Corporation Employee Federal PAC Contributions
U.S. House $135,000
U.S. Senate $26,000
Other Federal PACs and Committees $159,500
Total $320,500
Pacific Gas and Electric Company Employee State and Local PAC Contributions
Total $0
Corporate Campaign Contributions
Total Corporate Contributions to Candidates $42,750
Total Corporate Contributions to Other Committees $2,426,250
Total $2,469,000

PG&E also discloses its policies and procedures regarding its lobbying activities and trade association payments, including the portions of any annual trade association membership dues over $50,000, to the extent those dues are used for lobbying purposes.

Trade Association Dues, 2020 Footnote 1
Portion of Dues That Were Nondeductible
Total $457,026
  • 1. Represents the portion of membership dues to trade associations that was nondeductible under Section 162(e)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. Includes trade associations that received annual membership dues over $50,000. The reported amount is based on information provided by the trade associations to PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. 1