Several mayors throughout the state are pushing for PG&E to become a customer-owned cooperative.
San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon was one of nearly two dozen California mayors to sign a letter asking the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to consider their plan.
After its equipment was found to be the cause of multiple wildfires, PG&E filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The utility's reorganization plan must be approved by the state governor and the CPUC.
The letter said that not paying shareholder dividends would save billions of dollars that could be used for system upgrades and other costs.
"A customer-owned PG&E will better focus its scarce dollars on long-neglected maintenance, repairs, and capital upgrade, and mitigating some part of the substantial upward pressure on rates," the letter reads.
In a social media post, Harmon said, "We have seen first hand how having a primary focus of shareholders puts the profits of a few over the energy access of the ratepayers. Its time to take back the utilities and create a distributed renewable resilient energy system!"
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Proud to be joining with mayors across the state to start this essential conversation of creating ownership by the people rather than the corporation. We have seen first hand how having a primary focus of shareholders puts the profits of a few over the energy access of the ratepayers. Its time to take back the utilities and create a distributed renewable resilient energy system! Let's do this! Mayors and county supervisors who signed the letter collectively represent more than 5 million residents, or nearly a third of the number of people served by PG&E. Local government officials have a long way to go before their proposal could become reality, but the growing support Liccardo has received is perhaps the strongest sign yet that cities’ and counties’ distaste for PG&E is reaching a historic tipping point. If successful, the co-op proposal would be distinct from a government-run utility, looking more like a credit union or mutual insurance company, Liccardo said. The model already exists in the utility sector: In Georgia, for example, 4.4 million people are served by member-owned nonprofit utilities, according to the Georgia Electric Membership Corp. #coop #peoplefirst @californiareport @ksbynews @kcbxfm @newtimesslo @peopleforbernie @slo_progressives @caforprogress