By Janie Har and Adam Beam
February 3, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO —
Frustrated by repeated safety lapses at the nation’s largest electric company, a California lawmaker on Monday introduced legislation that would force taxpayers to buy the struggling utility and turn it into a public entity with a safety-first mission ahead of shareholder profits.
The proposal follows the bankruptcy filing last year by Pacific Gas & Electric after sections of its sprawling network of power lines were knocked down in windstorms and started wildfires that killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Since then, the company has intentionally shut off power to millions of people during windstorms to prevent wildfires and avoid liability.
Under the proposed legislation, taxpayers would borrow money to purchase all shares of Pacific Gas & Electric, which has a market value of about $9 billion, and turn it into a public entity subject to open-records laws. Local governments would have a chance to buy pieces of the network to start their own municipal power districts.
Read more at KCRA 3