California wants to reform PG&E, but just how is uncertain

California leaders clearly want something about Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to change after many of the wildfires scorching the state in recent years were linked to the utility’s power lines.

Now PG&E and its regulators, critics and others are grappling with the hard part: What exactly do they want to do?

They could split the gas and electric sides of the business into separate companies. Some or all of PG&E could be owned by the government. Or they could break up PG&E, the state’s largest utility, in another way — perhaps making the electric business a “wires only” company focused solely on distributing and transmitting power.

There are other options, too, and PG&E has said it is open to making major structural changes as it tries to adapt to the state’s changing climate.

The last two devastating wildfire seasons prompted PG&E to file for bankruptcy protection, which will involve reorganizing the business in some way, and the California Public Utilities Commission also is considering structural options.

Each proposal being considered by the commission comes with a laundry list of debatable pros and cons, and it remains far from clear what might emerge as the most likely choice.

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California wants to reform PG&E, but just how is uncertain, by J.D. Morris, The San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2019.

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