Greenfields vs AstroTurf

Small, growing cities are trying to use their authority, "under California law... to assign themselves rights to the infrastructure that developers of new housing and commercial tracts," or greenfields, "install for electricity, natural gas and any other utility." Municipal officials believe they can provide electricity at lower rates while generating income for local governments. Electric companies, including Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, are responding by organizing anti-greenfield ballot initiatitves, using fake grassroots or "AstroTurf" groups like the "Citizens for the Right to Vote" in San Diego County and "Moreno Valley Residents for Responsible Utility Service." The Sacramento Bee reports: "The Edison Electric Institute... recently developed an industry handbook - 'New Public Power Takeovers: Strategic Resources for Defeating Municipalization' - outlining step-by-step how to 'nip the movement in the bud.'"