TURN Director Considers Moving to Insurance Agency

By Published On: October 10, 2003

After eight years as executive director of The Utility Reform Network (TURN), Nettie Hoge plans to move to the state insurance commission as a staff attorney upon receiving confirmation from the governor. Hoge had been at the commission when its former-and again current-commissioner John Garamendi was in charge. She left when Chuck Quackenbush took the helm of the agency in 1995. “TURN is in a good position now, both organizationally and financially, with competitive recruitment and benefits,” Hoge said of what she considers her most important legacy. She insisted that even though the organization’s attorneys are paid competitively for nonprofits, TURN runs lean. “On Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy case, we spent about a thousandth of what it cost for PG&E’s staff,” she claimed. While acknowledging frequent dustups with Hoge, PG&E senior vice president Dan Richard allowed that “she was very effective for TURN.” Hoge believes she has helped improve relations between the legislature and the ratepayer advocacy group. “TURN has more credibility than when we were smaller and at the edges,” she said. Hoge wondered, however, about the questionable connection between politicians’ apparent interest in protecting consumers and the promulgation of what TURN believes to be anticonsumer laws. “There’s always the tension in the job-do they put you there for show?” she asked. TURN still needs to work on its member relations, education, and outreach, Hoge said. “To make more proactive citizens-I would have loved to do more education,” she noted. “We’re addressing justice and equity and the distribution of wealth. That’s so important, yet it looks like nerdy, uninteresting stuff compared to organizations that have sad puppies and children’s issues.”

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