On November 9, some 1,400 UWUA members from throughout California rallied together at the Pasadena Convention Center urging lawmakers to adopt a more moderate, integrated approach to powering the state’s energy future. Members urged lawmakers consider factors such as energy reliability and affordability while at the same time working together to address climate change.
“Today, over 20 million customers in southern California rely on 140,000 miles of natural gas infrastructure to deliver low-cost, reliable energy to fulfill their cooking and heating needs,” said Jim Slevin, president of UWUA. “While we must take action to address climate change, rushing to 100 percent electricity through massive infrastructure changes, as some are suggesting, would leave California’s utility customers footing an enormous bill.”
UWUA Locals 132, 483, and 522 represent SoCal Gas workers who deliver gas to tens of thousands of customers in Southern California. Eliminating natural gas threatens to eliminate their jobs, price millions of residents out of the housing market and jeopardizes the economy and future economic growth.
Supporters including Senator Maria Elena Durazo joined the meeting and spoke about legislation that will be introduced soon. The bill will improve the efficiency and safety of natural gas infrastructure, require gas utilities to fix known methane leaks in their systems and set new staffing and training requirements. The legislation would make a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping workers safe on the job and keep rates affordable.
“Our job is to keep our customers safe and ensure they have reliable access to energy they depend on to power their lives,” said Eric Hofmann, president of UWUA Local 132. “We’re concerned about some of the proposals out there and the impact they would have, especially on low-income and senior populations. If we’re going to stand a chance at reducing carbon emissions, we must take a holistic, all-of-the-above approach that maximizes impact while minimizing costs to communities, workers, and consumers.”
In a show of solidarity, leaders from 10 UWUA water and power generation locals in the state joined the rally in support of their SoCal Gas brothers and sisters, as did all of the UWUA National Officers.