Local Impact as PG&E Files for Chapter 11

As expected, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protections.  PG&E in a press release Tuesday announced that it remains committed to continue to deliver “safe and reliable electric and natural gas service to (its) customers.”

In addition, they pledge to continue to invest in their system’s safety and maintenance, and to work with “customers, civic leaders, regulators, policymakers, the financial community and other key stakeholders to consider alternatives to provide for the safe delivery of natural gas and electricity and new safety solutions in an environment challenged by climate change.”

“Our most important responsibility is and must be safety, and that remains our focus. Throughout this process, we are fully committed to enhancing our wildfire safety efforts, as well as helping restoration and rebuilding efforts across the communities impacted by the devastating Northern California wildfires,” said John Simeon, interim CEO.

“We also intend to work together with our customers, employees and other stakeholders to create a more sustainable foundation for the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable service in the years ahead. To be clear, we have heard the calls for change and we are determined to take action throughout this process to build the energy system our customers want and deserve,” Mr. Simeon said.

“Through this process, we will prioritize what matters most to our customers and the communities we serve – safety and reliability. We believe that this process will make sure that we have sufficient liquidity to serve our customers and support our operations and obligations,” Mr. Simon said.

“I know that our 24,000 dedicated employees remain steadfastly focused on delivering safe and reliable natural gas and electric service for the 16 million people across our service area,” said Mr. Simon. “Each day I see the hard work and resilience of our team, and I thank them for their continued dedication to working safely and delivering for our customers.”

Senator Bill Dodd in a statement had harsh words for the utility.

 

“Given its track record of obfuscation and mismanagement, I’m not surprised PG&E claims it can no longer meet its financial obligations,” Sen. Dodd said. “It’s extremely disappointing and underscores the need for change at PG&E in both its leadership and corporate culture. In the weeks ahead, I will be working with the governor and legislative leaders to ensure the safety, reliability and affordability of electric power in California.

“Wildfire victims shouldn’t have to deal with the uncertainty this causes, which in many respects re-victimizes them,” Sen. Dodd said. “Where PG&E has broken the law, it’s unconscionable for it to be protected from paying any of those damaged.”

In the meantime, Valley Clean Energy (VCE) reassured its customers that this move would mean very little for its customer.

In a statement, Valley Clean Energy stated, “What will that mean for Valley Clean Energy customers? Probably very little—it’s likely you won’t notice any difference at all in your electricity service.”

As a local electricity provider, VCE was “formed specifically to promote a healthier climate while keeping the best interests of its customers in mind.”

They stated, “We source clean, competitively priced electricity and feed it into the grid, and PG&E provides transmission, maintenance, service and billing for our customers. Revenues from the program stay right here at home, supporting our local communities, rather than paying PG&E shareholders. With VCE, communities are working together towards a healthier climate.”

“VCE ratepayers can rest assured that their energy needs will continue to be cared for by their own board of local elected officials,” said Board Chair Tom Stallard, who also serves on the Woodland City Council.

“PG&E has stated on the record that they expect to continue providing electric and natural gas service to customers, and working with Community Choice Aggragations (CCAs) to provide transmission, billing and remittance services as one of their highest priorities,” Mr. Stallard continued.

VCE is coordinating its efforts with other Community Choice Aggregations and with PG&E to address the potential impacts this filing may have on CCA programs in PG&E territory. There are 12 CCAs in PG&E service areas, representing approximately 2.4 million accounts.

“What else do we know so far? PG&E has filed a ‘first day’ motion seeking approval from the Bankruptcy Court to continue collecting revenues and passing them through to CCAs, as part of the normal course of business. VCE supports this motion—as do the other CCAs in PG&E territory—and fully expects the Court to approve it,” the statement noted.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

 

Local Impact as PG&E Files for Chapter 11, by David Greenwald, The Davis Vanguard, January 30, 2019.

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