Energy & Environment

San Jose to propose turning PG&E utility into a cooperative: report

San Jose, Calif., the third-biggest city in California and the largest served by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), will propose converting the private company into a customer-owned utility, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The plan, proposed by Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), would turn the company into a nonprofit. Liccardo told the newspaper that public ownership would make the company more accountable to its own customers.

"This is a crisis begging for a better solution than what PG&E customers see being considered today," Liccardo said, citing recent shutoffs by PG&E that led to the death of a man in El Dorado County who lost power to his oxygen tank. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has blamed the company's "greed" and "mismanagement" for the necessity of the planned outages.

"I've seen better organized riots," Liccardo told the Journal of the recent planned outages.

PG&E has struggled to keep electricity on while its aging electric equipment has been blamed for sparking wildfires.

PG&E told the newspaper the company was not for sale.

"We have not seen the proposal. However, PG&E's facilities are not for sale, and to do so would not be consistent with our charter to operate or our mission to serve Northern and Central California communities," the company said.

"We remain focused on the safety of our customers and communities and will continue working together with our state and local government partners and across all sectors and disciplines to develop comprehensive, long-term safety and energy solutions for the future," PG&E added.