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Sen. Scott Wiener Proposes State Take Over Of California Utility PG&E

A fallen PG&E utility pole lays on a property burned during the Kincade Fire.
A fallen PG&E utility pole lays on a property burned during the Kincade Fire.

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California’s largest power company PG&E has been embroiled in problems throughout the last decade. Now, Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener is calling for the state to take over the utility’s operations with proposed legislation

As KQED reports, the state-run utility would be modeled off the Long Island Power Authority in New York. Others have also called for changes in how the utility is run, including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who proclaimed interest in a local take over. Although some PG&E workers have voiced concerns about their jobs and pensions, Wiener has said protecting workers is a key priority.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss how the proposed take over could impact rate payers. What do you think? Should the state take control of the utility? 

We reached out to PG&E, and the company responded with this statement:

We oppose Senator Wiener’s proposed framework, and PG&E’s facilities are not for sale. Additionally, changing the structure of the company would not create a safer or cleaner operation. Recent takeover attempts have largely failed due to a range of factors.
We remain firmly convinced that a government or customer takeover is not the optimal solution that will address the challenges ahead and serve the long-run interests of all customers in the communities we serve. We remain focused on fairly resolving wildfire claims and exiting the Chapter 11 process as quickly as possible. PG&E is committed to working with all stakeholders to make the necessary changes moving forward to build a stronger and safer PG&E and be the company our customers and communities want and deserve.
As we shared in our CPUC testimony on Friday, PG&E is pursuing a plan to regionalize our operations to better achieve the customer-focused health, welfare, and safety outcomes everyone wants, expects and deserves.


Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), author of SB 917; California State Senator representing Senate District 11, which includes all of the city and county of San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and part of South San Francisco; he tweets @Scott_Wiener

Mindy Spatt, communciates chief with the non-profit consumer advocacy group The Utility Reform Network (TURN)