Smart Ideas From Other Cities: Utilities Powered by the People

By Ida Mojadad : sfweekly – excerpt

State regulators are weighing a dramatic shake-up of PG&E. Could San Francisco join dozens of other jurisdictions in establishing a public utility?

What would California’s increasingly devastating wildfires look like if PG&E were beholden to the people instead of to its shareholders?

That’s the crux of a proposal by state regulators that could prove trouble for the utility headquartered in San Francisco — despite the California Legislature’s repeated bailouts amid lawsuits and criminal investigations. In December, the California Public Utilities Commission announced that, in the name of public safety, PG&E could soon have its board replaced or be broken up into regional subsidiaries.

But the most striking option is for it to be designated as a public utility run by the government, not merely a regulated monopoly. This presents an opening for San Francisco to join dozens of other cities that either have long-established municipal utilities or are considering it….

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to discuss the proceeding at its Jan. 10 meeting at 9:30 a.m. held at 505 Van Ness Ave... (more)


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