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A three-way battle over control of PG&E

mblakele

FSD Beta (99)
Mar 7, 2016
1,790
6,033
SF Bay Area
A three-way battle over control of PG&E
Whoever wins, Californians will probably lose

[...]

pg&e will continue to teeter. After years of underinvestment its grid needs a massive upgrade. Stephen Byrd of Morgan Stanley, a bank, calculates that burying its transmission and distribution lines in the most vulnerable areas underground to reduce fire risk would cost $100bn. Lawrence Makovich of ihs Markit, a consultancy, points out that the utility is saddled with another cost. A state law passed last year requires that half of electricity come from renewables by 2025, up from about a third in 2017. So like other utilities, pg&e has signed some expensive contracts for clean energy. Walking away from those which charge a premium over dirtier power could save it $1.4bn a year as part of the restructuring, estimates Moody’s, a rating agency—but California’s hyper-green politicians and activists would probably block such a move.

Then there is California’s “inverse condemnation”: an idiosyncratic state law holds utilities liable for damage caused by their equipment during fires even if they followed safety rules and were not negligent. Reckless expansion of housing into fire-prone areas has put nearly $110bn in property at high risk in California. Climate change is only making dry weather drier and wildfires fiercer. By creating untold potential liabilities the statute has made utilities virtually uninsurable.

Last July the state created a $21bn wildfire-insurance fund, to be financed equally by private utilities and customers. Helpfully, the scheme pools risk. But it is too small. It limits the pool to California, notes Joseph Scalise of Bain, a consultancy. States in which utilities have access to insurers and reinsurers can spread risk globally.

The hapless utility could yet be hit with huge fire-related expenses this dry season, which ends in December. These could wipe out its remaining equity. Bondholders may then back out of promised capital injections. Government may be left on the hook. Whoever wins the battle for control of pg&e, ordinary Californians will pay—through taxes or higher electricity bills.​

 
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Reactions: ChrisJ and David29

Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
4,069
1,552
Sonoma, California
I love this, we pay some of the highest electricity rates have thousands of structures burned down have to endure power shutdowns and will pay even more for the above. If someone would take charge and oversee these monopolies out of control maybe this would not have happened. Let get some of the wealthiest and brightest in this state to apply the latest technology to our grid and get these monopolies ended.
 

Brando

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
3,032
2,258
Bainbridge Island, WA
Mama & Papa song: starts out "All the leaves are brown" ...


hapless utility - that's a good one - seems only the tax payer is accountable to pay up

and all the corporations are just hapless
 

SSedan

Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
2,948
2,590
Greenville Wisconsin
I love this, we pay some of the highest electricity rates have thousands of structures burned down have to endure power shutdowns and will pay even more for the above. If someone would take charge and oversee these monopolies out of control maybe this would not have happened. Let get some of the wealthiest and brightest in this state to apply the latest technology to our grid and get these monopolies ended.

Or the monopoly is the reason for the problems getting so far out of hand.......
 

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