PG&E lobbying doubletime

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image courtesy of www.opensecrets.org

PG&E spent almost $2 million on lobbying during the first quarter of 2008, according to an Associated Press report today. Last year they spent just under $4 million, which means they're pacing to spend double that this year.

As the industry tally for electric utilities on OpenSecrets.org shows, PG&E is third in the national field – outranked by Southern Company and the Edison Electric Institute (basically a gigantic energy lobbying group of which PG&E is also a member.)

Of course, that’s just taking care of national business. Closer to home, the $13 billion utility company has dropped $208,357.08 this year on lobbying – mostly wining and dining California Public Utilities Commissioners, influencing election outcomes, and paying the salaries of their employees who sit on public boards like the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

And just an FYI for y'all -- the spike in PG&E lobbying in 2006, as shown in the above graph, can be traced to the $11 million the corporation spent defeating a public power campaign in Yolo County. As a public power initiative for San Francisco heads to the November 2008 ballot, can we expect another banner year of spending from PG&E?