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State Senator Bill Dodd has ideas for restructuring PG&E. Find out what they are.

Town Hall Meeting, November 19 
Napa Valley College Little Theater
2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has until June 30, 2020, to restructure. If it doesn't accomplish this, Governor Newsom has threatened that the state will take over the utility. So far PG&E's restructuring plan favors shareholders and would raise debt and equity. But other competing groups also have plans for restructuring and takeover: big equity funds, bondholders, and municipalities offering to buy PG&E. One way or the other, ratepayers are going to be on the hook. Read more about these plans in The Economist article here.
 
Until recently, State Senator Dodd has been a supporter of PG&E, participating in its fundraisers. With co-host Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, Dodd will discuss continuing concerns. “We must keep our communities safe, and the way PG&E has responded is unacceptable. I’m calling for fundamental change to the governance, control, and oversight of the troubled utility.” Hopefully, he will discuss these proposed plans and what is best for us, the ratepayers and the voters in his district.

But will anything fundamentally change? Bring your questions. Are there alternatives that may better serve us than shoring up PG&E? (Read Kathy Felch's prospective analysis below, Thinking off the Grid.)

The town hall will feature a panel of state and local experts discussing actions already underway to protect the public, necessary improvements, and next steps. 

Hope to see you there!
Another Option? Thinking Off the Grid
Let's underground transmission and distribution lines.  The Economist article estimates the cost of doing so in high-risk areas to be $100bn.  The wildfire insurance fund is set at $21bn.  PG&E declared bankruptcy over an estimated $30bn debt.  What if the State takes over PG&E, changes the wildfire insurance fund mission to include preventive measures, and pays for damage caused by fires?  PG&E is not the only cause of wildfires, but it is a contributor. We still need wildfire protection but we can eliminate the PG&E cause by burying or eliminating both its transmission and distribution lines.  (And underground  everywhere, not just in what we call high wildfire risk areas which are vulnerable to political influence a la gerrymandering.)  If the taxpayers are going to bear the cost of “protecting” us from wildfires, let’s get ahead of the problem rather than just mopping up afterward.  
For those skeptical of the State’s ability to run PG&E:
  • The State has been running the energy pool for all California through the ISO for decades.
  • Municipal power companies are doing the job now and have been for decades.  Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), being a publicly owned district, had public participation.
  • The State would be hard-pressed to do a worse job than PG&E.
  • The $100bn estimate is likely high.  Let's get an estimate of the cost of solarizing all buildings in the high fire risk areas and decommissioning all PG&E transmission lines.  If the wildfire insurance pool funds solar for each building consuming electricity we do not need transmission lines; if the locally produced electricity is for a small group of buildings, underground those wires; if we keep transmission lines, excess solar is fed back to the system without the need to buy “green”, more expensive energy (say from MCE).  --analysis by Kathy Felch
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Eyes on Napa: Patricia Damery and Debby Fortune, co-editors; Editorial Board: Charlotte Williams, Kathy Felch, Rusty Cohen.