Sylvia's Blog

This blog was created in memory of my mother, Sylvia Siegel, who passed away peacefully in her sleep on 8/18/2007. It's intended to serve as a collection point for articles written about her, and for any type of anecdotes that anyone would care to share. So feel free to post entries and share. If you want to be added to the list of contributors, just send me an e-mail and I'll add you to the list. Also in my mom's memory, I will use this as a vehicle to post consumer-oriented information, especially related to telecommunications.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Queen of Ratepayer Advocates

Some people we meet in life are impossible to forget; Sylvia Siegel was one of those people. Decades ago an unusual “sit-in” at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) brought me to San Francisco.

On that summer day in 1981, an unlikely alliance of doctors, business owners, ministers, professors, accountants, parents and grandparents from San Luis Obispo chose to step outside their comfort zones to question the wisdom of putting nuclear reactors on California’s seismically active coast.

Sylvia joined us, called her press contacts, and made sure everyone knew this “sit-in” had TURN’s full support. From that day forward, Sylvia visited us often and became a friend and champion we relied upon and never forgot.

When Sylvia stood on the steps of the Public Utilities Commission, she didn’t mince words about cost overruns and delays – the bane of the nuclear industry. Her righteous indignation when the CPUC allowed PG&E to charge ratepayers a ten-fold rate increase, without reviewing the reason, was a sight to behold.

California owes a great debt to Sylvia Siegel; she left behind an organization of incredibly talented advocates who will keep her spirit alive wherever and whenever ratepayers’ interests are at stake.

Rochelle Becker is executive director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a statewide organization dedicated to sustainable, non-nuclear energy solutions.