The defeat of Proposition 16, the PG&E funded ballot measure opposed by local governments as well as numerous consumer and environmental groups, including Environment California, shows that deep-pocketed special interests can’t always buy elections.
Proposition 16 was a blatant power grab by PG&E. It would have placed strict limits on the ability of communities to set up their own electric power service, something that directly threatens PG&E’s market share throughout northern California. The company spent more than $46 million, what amounted to roughly $25 per yes vote, to pass Proposition 16, but came up short 53/47 according to the Secretary of State. Ultimately, voters saw through the glossy mailers promising to fix a purported problem with locally owned utility services, one that voters didn’t perceive existed in the first place.