Non-profit

The Utility Reform Network (TURN)

Website:

www.turn.org/

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

23-7351081

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $6,351,260
Expenses: $5,391,469
Assets: $7,423,854

Formation:

February 1974

Type:

Advocacy organization

Executive Director:

Tom Long

The Utility Reform Network (TURN) is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that creates campaigns and advocates for policies to restrict the power of utility providers in California. Such activities have included levying high financial penalties on utility providers in case of natural disasters and regulating corporate communications with government agencies. [1] [2]

Background

In 1972, activist Sylvia Siegel founded The Utility Reform Network in order to represent anti-industry positions before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a California regulatory agency responsible for protecting consumers and maintaining environmental standards. In 1974, the organization acquired tax-exempt status. In 1984, the organization gained notoriety when the popular CBS television program “60 Minutes” interviewed Siegel about her work with TURN. [3][4]

Activities

Following the San Bruno pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California on September 9, 2010, TURN filed a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission to compel the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to respond to requests for data. TURN alleged that PG&E had engaged in efforts to interfere with due process in the legal case brought against the company after the pipeline explosion. [5]

In 2016, TURN supported California Senate Bill 215, a bill which would strictly regulate all communications between private corporations and the CPUC to allegedly preserve communications. Sponsored by former California State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and State Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), the bill became law in September of 2016. [6]

In February of 2020, TURN advocated for a high financial penalty to be levied against PG&E by the CPUC in the wake of wildfires in California. That month, TURN claimed credit for the CPUC’s decision to issue a higher financial penalty than originally forecasted that met TURN’s demands. [7]

In August of 2020, TURN urged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) to investigate a series of rolling blackouts mandated by the state government. TURN pushed for the investigation on the allegation that free market activity was responsible for the energy shortages and higher wholesale prices that supposedly justified the blackouts. [8]

People

Mark Toney has been the executive director of TURN since 2008. Previously, Toney was the executive director of the Center for Third World Organizing and executive director at Direct Action for Rights and Equality, two left-of-center organizations which promote left-leaning positions on race and economic issues. Toney also sits on the board of a number of left-of-center organizations, including ACLU California, the Consumer Federation of California, and the National Whistleblower Center. [9]

Mindy Spatt joined TURN as its media advocacy director in 1998 and is currently the organization’s communications chief. Previously, Spatt worked as a legal writer at California Continuing Education of the Bar, a program within the University of California system that offers continuing education programs for lawyers. [10]

Constance Pierre became TURN’s organizing director in 2019. Previously, Pierre worked with Unite Here, a left-of-center labor union consisting of employees in the hotel, restaurant, and gaming industries. In 2013, Pierre became a principal at Just Power Consulting, a consulting firm which caters to nonprofit organizations. Previously, Pierre was a member of TURN’s board of directors. [11]

Tom Long became TURN’s Legal Director in 2011. Long also worked as TURN’s senior telecommunications attorney from 1990 to 2000. During the interim, Long was a deputy city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco and the legal and telecommunications advisor to the California Public Utilities Commission. [12]

References

  1. “TURN WINS REFORM OF SCANDAL-RIDDEN CPUC.” TURN. September 29, 2016. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/press-release/turn-wins-cpuc-reform-with-sb-215/ ^
  2. “TURN PROPOSALS FOR STRONGER WILDFIRE PENALTIES ACCEPTED.” TURN. February 27, 2020. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/press-release/turn-proposals-for-stronger-wildfire-penalties-accepted/ ^
  3. “Utility Reform Network.” ProPublica. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237351081 ^
  4. Johnston, David. “Sylvia Siegel, Activist on Utility Rates, Is Dead at 89.” New York Times. August 22, 2007. Accessed November 17, 2020.https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/business/22siegel.html?_r=0 ^
  5. “A13-12-012 TURN Motion to Compel final with corrected attachments.” Public Utilities Commission of the State of California. December 19, 2013. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20150203020428/http://www.turn.org/issues/energy/item/download/64_a30adc0f31f3375470960d7f731ec2d3.html ^
  6. “TURN WINS REFORM OF SCANDAL-RIDDEN CPUC.” TURN. September 29, 2016. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/press-release/turn-wins-cpuc-reform-with-sb-215/ ^
  7. “TURN PROPOSALS FOR STRONGER WILDFIRE PENALTIES ACCEPTED.” TURN. February 27, 2020. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/press-release/turn-proposals-for-stronger-wildfire-penalties-accepted/ ^
  8. Letter to Attorney General Becerra. TURN. August 24, 2020. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/CAISO-Investigation-08-24-20.pdf ^
  9. “Mark Toney.” TURN. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/staff-board/mark-toney/ ^
  10. “Mindy Spatt.” TURN. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/staff-board/mindy-spatt/ ^
  11. “Constance Slider Pierre.” TURN. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/staff-board/constance-slider-pierre/ ^
  12. “Tom Long.” TURN. Accessed November 16, 2020. https://www.turn.org/staff-board/tom-long/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1974

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $6,351,260 $5,391,469 $7,423,854 $1,675,813 N $992,536 $5,335,918 $22,806 $735,959
    2016 Jun Form 990 $5,141,029 $4,714,273 $6,228,928 $1,461,360 N $969,762 $4,164,576 $6,691 $582,370
    2015 Jun Form 990 $5,493,594 $4,436,033 $6,361,914 $2,012,854 N $430,691 $5,056,935 $5,968 $556,284 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $2,979,792 $3,959,982 $4,842,522 $1,550,436 N $606,527 $2,256,587 $6,485 $284,582 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $6,238,531 $4,461,330 $6,479,822 $2,207,546 N $567,099 $5,660,198 $11,234 $262,002 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $3,846,196 $4,103,380 $4,071,785 $1,588,866 N $359,354 $3,458,772 $28,070 $260,699 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $3,267,751 $3,991,228 $1,648,505 $239,804 N $566,866 $2,688,015 $12,870 $262,974 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    The Utility Reform Network (TURN)

    785 MARKET STREET SUITE 1400
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-2003