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.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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