California mayors have organized and put forward a proposal to buy out PG&E and make it a customer-owned cooperative.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo thought up the idea and has sought support from other mayors and city commissioners. The idea was a result of the PG&E filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing $30 billion worth of liabilities from wildfires.
PG&E has previously opposed the idea of selling portions of the company or pivoting away from being investor-owned. However, with over a dozen municipalities supporting this proposal, many are asking that Governor Gavin Newsom take this idea seriously.
“I’m signing on in solidarity with my fellow mayors whose constituents are suffering under PG&E,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg.
If this proposal were to be approved, then $50 billion in bonds would be sold to buy the utility company and customers would eventually pay off those bills with their monthly energy bills. Additionally, dividends that were originally paid out to investors would be reinvested back into the utility company.
“The governor has opened a door for us, by getting directly involved. That means we have an opportunity to see a reorganized utility emerge that doesn’t just fulfill the legal requirements under bankruptcy law but could address the larger public need for a more responsive utility,” Liccardo said.