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San Jose Mayor Considers A Shift Away From PG&E, Calls For Customer-Owned Utility Services

A hard hat sits on the ground at a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) work site on July 30, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
A hard hat sits on the ground at a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) work site on July 30, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo isn’t holding back on his frustration with PG&E, the state’s largest utility, after the company induced blackouts that impacted hundreds of thousands of residents last week.

The outages could continue for up to a decade, according to NPR News. Other public officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, have voiced criticism over PG&E’s unprecedented power shut-offs. 

According to Bay Area News Group, Liccardo drafted a memo that goes before the city’s rules committee next week. It calls for looking into creating a municipal-owned utility that prevent future outages. Liccardo isn’t alone in his efforts. San Francisco reportedly offered PG&E $2.5 billion for its local power lines, an offer the company turned down, saying it was too low and rates could rise for customers. A city-owned utility would obviously mean more control for the city, but some experts say the transitioning process could be lengthy and PG&E shutdowns could still have an effect.  

We reached out to Pacific Gas & Electric to invite them to participate in our conversation and received this statement from PG&E spokesperson Mayra Tostado in response:

“We have not seen the proposal. However, PG&E’s facilities are not for sale, and to do so would not be consistent with our charter to operate or our mission to serve Northern and Central California communities. We remain focused on the safety of our customers and communities and will continue working together with our state and local government partners and across all sectors and disciplines to develop comprehensive, long-term safety and energy solutions for the future.”


Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose; he tweets @sliccardo

Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program and senior research scholar at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University; he tweets @MichaelWWara

John Di Stasio, president of the Large Public Power Council and former CEO of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District; he tweets @LPPCPresident