California to consider restructuring PG&E to protect residents

December 23, 2018


Amid ongoing serious safety problems, California utility regulators are considering a handful of options to restructure PG&E, according to a Friday announcement.

In recent years, PG&E has had serious safety problems with both its natural gas and electric operations. In 2015, the Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) mounted an investigation to determine whether PG&E’s organizational culture and governance prioritizes safety. [Cal Coast Times]

As part of its review of PG&E’s safety culture, the CPUC “examined the companies’ current corporate governance, management, and structure to determine the best path forward for Northern Californians to receive safe energy service.”

In Nov. 2018, the CPUC adopted the safety findings and recommendations of its Safety and Enforcement Division contained in the Northstar Report.

The CPUC is seeking public input on a set of proposals “before determining how to move forward.” The proposals includes splitting the company into several holding companies, replacing the board of directors with people focused more on safety, replacing corporate management, and making PG&E exclusively a regulated utility.

“This is not a punitive exercise. The keystone question is would, compared to PG&E and PG&E Corp. as presently constituted, any of the proposals provide Northern Californians with safer natural gas and electric service at just and reasonable rates,” said CPUC President Michael Picker, the Commissioner assigned to the proceeding and the author of the Ruling, which is effective immediately.

For members of the public wishing to weigh in on the proposed changes, comments are due by Jan. 30, 2019.

“We must be careful and practical,” Picker said. “This process will be like repairing a jetliner while it’s in flight. Crashing a plane to make it safer isn’t good for the passengers.”

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I have been a PGE customer for 35 years or so at many many different locations and I have been very happy with there service .As far as fires and safety the San Bruno could have been from earthquake activity or construction work etc .The paradise fire could have started from a person shooting at a bird near high power wire or a bird dropped its prey on wire etc .There have been fires started by bears climbing poles etc.Also many many people in paradise area always attempting to get free power or pissed off PGE shutoff their power to their mariuana grow since they 6k for 1 months power etc .When I was a kid for years there was set of automotive jumper cables attached on wires on power pole hidden by a tree on a north county highway .Wishing for govt control of a utility is like Mexico’s govt owned gasoline .Or worst yet the Chinese will buy out PGE then we will be paying 4 to 6 times higher energy bills .In paradise house roofs were covered In pine needles ,,a pine tree every foot .Building codes should be changed in wildland fire areas cement or block walls and metal roofs enforce the 100 to 200 foot clearance of brush near any structure .

How about a elimination of monopolistic companies? An increase in competition might help change the attitude of a company with monopoly. Why spend money on providing a safer and better product or service when you don’t have to worry about other companies coming into your area and doing that exact thing and taking your customers? Power/gas, wired cable/internet, garbage and water companies might have a different attitudes when there aren’t forced customers in a given area. Competition is normally a good thing but sometimes the government has different attitudes.

Wow! Reading some of the views below is truly disgusting. Well then, lets shut down all corporations … Apple, Microsoft, Shell, Mobil, Netflix, CBS, NBC, Twitter, Facebook, Vons, Safeway, Costco, WalMart, etc. No power, no gas, no communications, no food. This should be “fun”. Just what we need. This will really resolve our problems. How very little intelligence is displayed by the “shut’em down”, “corporations only exist for profits” viewpoints. Without profits business would not survive, and America would not survive. Welcome to the human world. Take your blinders off and see the world in true reality. Then truly educate yourselves. This really points to America’s failed system of public education, failing to impart the vital need for logical, critical thinking. No wonder our society and civilization are dying.

Great time to make some money on PG&E stock options. The public has been posted for the opportunity and by design won’t act but the politicos who are in the know will exercise the opportunity for profit taking and leave the grandpa investors with an empty bag. Don’t ever think you are investing in the business, you are investing in the stigma which can pay in both directions.

If PG&E is really being investigated and this is not just an empty gesture to placate the irate citizens who have lost homes and family members, I will be surprised. The “culture” of PG&E has always been “profit first”. Whilst the linemen who brave the elements in the worst of times to restore power are nothing short of heroic, they are the first to have salaries and benefits questioned or cut coincidental to those at the top awarding themselves even greater fortunes.

PG&E opened a nuclear plant in a location that was not only riddled with earthquake faults, it was also the scene of at least 3 tsunami events during the 1800’s that ranged from 50′ to 100′. Didn’t know about that? Look it up. The Tribune published articles at the time. The storage tanks had to be relocated at the top of the cliffs because these upheavals wiped them out on lower elevations.

Lauding the company for keeping us dependent on oil and gas and then nuclear (the very most expensive and dangerous possible choice) for power and then expecting people to show gratitude for the ensuing environmental damage and costs seems a bit disingenuous. Had we invested in solar, the offending transmission lines and transformers would not have existed to pose deadly danger. The carbon emissions would have been almost non-existent and we would not have nuclear waste problems that last over 250,00 years (half-life of plutonium), with no end in sight.

And while there seem to be those who would have us feel deep sympathy for a company that has allowed this situation to evolve, using their financial influence (California has possibly the highest electrical rates in the country) to direct legislation in their favor time and again, I would not shed such crocodile tears. The main shareholders of PG&E are the Rothschilds. They have more money than god and endless holdings in oil, gas and nuclear, hence the forced reliance on these commodities.

I would agree that there is a lot more we could do to regulate (that dirty word, but you can’t complain about regulations with one breath and then call for more in the next) our housing development policies. They need work. But the shifting climate is also at play here and that is not getting better any time soon. We can also thank entities like PG&E who are using our own money to fight remediation in that area. If PG&E were dismantled and local, green power were to take it’s place I would be thrilled. It would end up cheaper, better for the environment and we would have many options and blends to choose from, depending on location and circumstances. And if there was still a need for linemen, I would see them handsomely rewarded for the job they do.

These choices are being utilizes all over the developed world. The time to embrace the future is NOW. While we still have a chance.

It’s California, Nothing will ever be cheaper. The profits for these monopoly’s will always be there. They donate to the politicians.

If PG&E were dismantled you’d be thrilled? You be thrilled to live in the dark 90% of the time is what your saying. Your tanning bed and electric toilet seat heater would crap out, no pun, and you’d have nothing but unreliable service. You even admit it yourself the lineman are what keep things going yet you believe an outside indy company will be reliable,cheaper and more enviro friendly? That’s like comparing Greka oil to Chevron. Keep in mind PG&E is legally bound like any other traded co to make profits for its shareholders.

truthinscience, are you kidding me? All those words, and not a single mention of no tree thinning; few fire breaks; no clear cutting; most / all logging companies driven out of business; liberal groups preventing the harvesting of dead trees; a beetle infestation also mismanaged; and an 80% reduction in the yearly board feet of lumber harvested out of California forests, followed by a fivefold increase in fires! Duh!

Even Governor Moonbeam has admitted there have been huge mistakes in forest mismanagement.

Very interesting. I guess nobody has a real clue about what is going on. Breaking up PG&E will not fix this issue, nowhere near close, being a purely a move for political purposes. The issue is FAR FAR larger than one company, who has been supporting California for 100 years, continually innovating and enhancing operations while wrestling with increasingly burdensome regulation, many times regulation that truly is not physically protecting the public or increasing the public’s protection. The CPUC has always been hard pressed to display independent thinking, not relying heavily on science to dictate how utilities should be operating and changing to face a rapidly changing climate and changing living practices that have constantly flown in the face of science, i.e. building massive housing and business developments over explosive pipelines and permitting people to build homes and businesses in thick stands of trees and brush. We humans are beginning to pay the price we should have been paying years ago for proactive measures. So, now the solution is to break up a well-run gas and electric power utility whose workers brave the elements of operating and maintaining power stations and transmission lines in every conceivable kind of weather 24 hours a day 365 days a year, including operating and maintaining a first-class operation at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, one of the premier nuclear stations in the world. All in the effort to provide non-stop gas and electric service to the public. Society’s and governmental regulators just cannot see their way clear to REALLY understanding the root causes of why there are gas line explosions and wildfires, and how humans should have NEVER been allowed to place themselves in the line of fire (to pun intended). I lay a great deal of these problems squarely at the feet of the real estate development industry and its strong, never-ending grip on our governmental systems. Humanity is now having its eyes opened to the true realities of our lives in the face of science and our inability of learning and acting on what science dictates can happen when humans ignore what science clearly tells us. As usual, the political process, and its control by wealthy interests, dictates that so much of what America does must ignore what science says. Look at Washington D.C, a hive of educated (?) idiots who couldn’t careless about Americans, only governmental leader power and wealth. Breaking up PG&E is a totally laughable knee-jerk reaction by anyone in California’s government, who are intentionally wearing blinders to the real world, driven by protecting or gaining future votes and/or increasing their power and wealth at the expense of the residents of California and the rest of Americans. America’s infrastructure is now deteriorating extensively, but society does not want to pay to maintain it, having to instead to pay to keep food on table, if people even have a job, or, on the flip side, buy expensive cars, go on plush vacations every year and live in 3,000-5,000 sf homes. How about the many folks who never get to go on vacations because our society is costing us an arm and a leg to deal with increasing costs due to our lack of attention and proactive planning. We are truly living and learning, the hard way. Welcome to eye-opening life, the new growing abnormal in America. Hand on to your hat and buckle up for the roller coaster ride ahead, as this is just the tip of the massive iceberg of problems ahead, because we just could not be proactive and plan ahead. America does not plan, we only operate by crisis. The massive crisis facing America and the world is just beginning. It is criminal that we adults (?) are leaving it to our children and grandchildren to face. I feel very sorry for young folks today who are having children. They are not opening their eyes and minds to the destructive future America is facing.

Grab your pocketbooks everyone. The end result is that the rate payers will be financially held responsible for the actions of PG&E.

All while PG&E management retires with their golden parachutes intact and million dollar pensions for life.