When Toyota or any other automaker is caught placing flawed parts in some of the models it builds, a recall ensues, with the car company often paying hundreds of millions of dollars to replace fuel injection systems, floor mats or whatever was wrong.
Of course, there is plenty of competition in the car business, as relative newcomers like Hyundai, Kia, Tesla and others rise up continually to challenge the existing giants, forcing them to keep prices within reach and to respond when they’ve done something wrong.
But utility companies in California are not like that. They are monopolies. If you live in Southern California Edison territory, you buy power from it or you install expensive solar panels on your roof. There’s no other company equipped to deliver electricity to very many homes or businesses.
The only thing forcing the big utilities to keep rates reasonably affordable is the state Public Utilities Commission, whose mission is to prevent consumer rip-offs, with a secondary purpose of making sure companies like Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric remain financially strong...