“We are looking at legislation to force PG&E to become a public utility, but that’s still in the early planning stages and we haven’t settled on the exact details yet,” Senator Wiener told Bloomberg News on Tuesday. “[I plan to introduce] some sort of legislation forcing them to become a public utility.”
Senator Wiener is planning to introduce the new bill by February and has said that it’s “desirable” to give the public control of PG&E.
This isn’t Senator Wiener’s first time trying to send a message to the utility company. Earlier this year he introduced Senate Bill 378. SB 378 would have placed the burden of outages on power companies and would have mandated compensation and longer notices before outages. It didn’t make it out of debate, but it received a considerable amount of renewed interest following the blackouts caused by PG&E and the widespread misery it caused.
“This is make or break time for everyone involved,” explained Dana, an employee in the State Capitol who has been involved with some of the issues surrounding PG&E with the state. “PG&E does not want to be bought out so badly that it turned down billions from San Francisco over the city buying some of their infrastructure, but has been dragging their feet in getting out of bankruptcy. The Governor’s office wants a solution that will both limit wildfires and not have millions lose power, but they’re breathing down PG&E’s neck about taking over. The Senate now has this bill coming up that’s also threatening to take PG&E off the map. And then there are the citizens, who are all pissed about this and simply don’t want to be screwed over again and not be harmed.”
“It’s really all on PG&E to get out of this, because they know if they don’t, they stand to lose everything, legally, in California.”
With PG&E currently in bankruptcy and facing offers and threats from the Governor, major cities, and now the state Senate, Senator Wiener’s bill is turning up the pressure on PG&E to come up with a plan, and to come up with one fast.
Evan V. Symon is the Senior Editor for the California Globe. Prior to the Globe, he reported for the Pasadena Independent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and was head of the Personal Experiences section at Cracked. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.