Outage Management, T&D, Transmission

San Jose mayor suggests city-owned utility to replace PG&E

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a frequent critic of Pacific Gas & Electric’s management, says he wants his city to explore other ways to get its electricity, including a city-owned utility, power lines owned by the city and microgrids.

Liccardo, whose city was one of those to have its power cut by PG&E in a blackout affecting 60,000, has said in a series of press conferences, open letters and public testimonies that he doesn’t approve of PG&E’s faulty grid system or its rolling outages, which the utility says are to prevent sparking wildfires.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Liccardo has drafted a memo to San Jose’s rules committee to explore the creation of a city-owned utility similar to the ones that serve other California cities such as Palo Alto and Santa Clara.

Such a utility could look into buying its own power lines and making disaster-resistant microgrids that operate independently from PG&E.

In his memo, Liccardo questions whether PG&E will be held accountable by regulators, adding it is time to explore a San Jose without PG&E.

One party who might not be so supportive of this plan is PG&E itself. The major California utility recently rejected a $2.5 billion offer from the city of San Francisco to buy some transmission lines. PG&E said it couldn’t accept the offer as it was too low, and might cause ratepayer bills to rise, according to the San Jose Mercury News.