To Burn or Not to Burn? That is the Question this Special Election.

Scene from Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, via YouTube.

Had enough of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Public Safety Power Shutdowns yet? I have. The generator’s been throbbing away in the garage all weekend, it’s hard to think with that damned thing running, let alone write, and I was looking forward to shutting it down Monday morning.

But alas! I walked up to the power pole this morning to check the electric meter and still no juice. When I got back to my desk, an email message from PG&E awaited me:

“PG&E Safety Update: Potential of another PSPS event Tuesday 10/29. We’ll make every effort to restore power between events. Please use that opportunity to charge any essential equipment.”

I immediately checked the Weather Channel for Whitmore, the scattered village of 800 souls where I live in the heavily forested foothills 30 miles east of Redding. Sure enough, 15 mph winds from out of the northeast are forecast for Tuesday morning. Another diablo wind event is in the making.

Somehow, I don’t think PG&E is going to “make every effort” to re-energize its massive electrical grid just to shut it down six hours later. We could be on the generator for the rest of the week, and the solace that 2 million of my fellow northern Californians may be in the same boat is beginning to wear thin.

Not that I’m complaining. The forecast for last Saturday afternoon was originally 15 mph winds. PG&E cut the power around 5:30 pm, just as a warm moderate breeze began stirring the towering pines surrounding the house. The breeze picked up speed as it rolled in and by midnight it was shrieking through the treetops. I slept a little sounder knowing the towering high-voltage transmission lines cutting through the woods five miles west were de-energized.

The residents of Geyserville weren’t quite so fortunate. Two days before PG&E’s latest shutdown, a wildfire allegedly sparked by a PG&E transmission line failure broke out and quickly consumed 30,000 acres of Sonoma County wine country. On Sunday, the Kincade Fire exploded, doubling in size as warm, dry diablo winds roared into the North Bay with gusts of up to 90 mph.

According to Cal Fire, the Kincade Fire grew to 66,231 acres by Monday morning with just 5 percent containment. Fear that blowing embers from the wildfire might jump Highway 101 and burn all the way to Bodega Bay has forced the evacuation of 200,000 Sonoma County residents. So far, 96 structures have been destroyed. Two fire fighters have been injured, but there have been no fatalities.

The fiery images coming out of Sonoma County, like those from the Carr and Camp Fires last year, are literally apocalyptic. The Lamb of God has opened the Book of Revelation’s seventh seal and the first angel’s trumpet has sounded, followed by hail and fire mixed with blood, a third part of the trees burned up and all of the green grass. Northern California is starting to have an End Times vibe to it.

“There but for the grace of God go I,” I whisper to myself every time another town goes up in smoke. It’s never too late to accept Pascal’s wager.

Contours of Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, via Cal Fire.

State of Emergency

I’m waxing religious because the more I study and learn about this particular problem—providing reliable electricity to 40 million Californians in a fire-prone landscape that’s worsening with the onset of anthropogenic global warming—the less I’m convinced we’re up to the task. We lack the resources and the will to do the job.

A depressingly titled article, “Why California Will Continue To Burn,” published by Vice last April, includes some astonishing figures regarding the price tag of the work to be done and the damage done so far.

“The federal judge overseeing PG&E’s ongoing probation presented a safety proposal for the utility that would see 650,000 workers remove 100 million trees and inspect and repair thousands of miles of line,” Vice reported. “PG&E claimed the plan would cost $150 billion.”

PG&E, which even in bankruptcy is still worth $20 billion, faces liabilities from various wildfire lawsuits in excess of $30 billion. It would have to jack up electrical rates considerably to implement such an expensive plan, which the judge ultimately withdrew.

If PG&E can’t safely maintain its overhead powerlines, why not just bury them underground? An informative article in the Desert Sun explains that’s too expensive as well, again according to PG&E.

“It costs about $3 million per mile to convert underground electric distribution lines from overhead, while the cost to build a mile of new overhead line is less than a third of that, at approximately $800,000 per mile,” the report states.

“California has 25,526 miles of higher voltage transmission lines, and 239,557 miles of distribution lines, two-thirds of which are overhead, according to CPUC. Less than 100 miles per year are transitioned underground, meaning it would take more than 1,000 years to underground all the lines at the current rate.”

Clearly, as Gov. Gavin Newsom recently declared, we’re in a state of emergency. The Vice article explores taking advantage of the crisis by gradually shifting to smaller, localized distributed grids powered by wind, solar and other renewable resources, but then throws water on the proposal.

The entrenched special interests of the state’s large investor owned utilities—PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric—may not be able to safely maintain their large, aging electrical grids or keep them energized, but they have no intention of giving them up.

AD-1 Republican candidate Megan Dahle and her donors, including Sempra Energy.

The Lights May Be Out, But the Special Election Is Still On

There’s only one candidate taking money from Sacramento’s entrenched special interests in next Tuesday’s special election for Assembly District 1, and that’s Republican Megan Dahle. In addition to Big Pharma and Big Tobacco donors, Selma Energy, which owns San Diego Gas and Electric, has donated a total of $27,600 to Dahle and her political action committee, according to Cal-Access.

Sempra Energy was ordered to pay $2.4 billion in damages related to three fires caused by poorly maintained San Diego Gas and Electric equipment in 2007. Those lawsuits are being used as a template in the current litigation against PG&E, which has donated more than $16,000 to Dahle’s husband, Sen. Brian Dahle, over the years.

Indeed, PG&E increased its spending on lobbying nearly eight-fold in 2018, to $8.53 million, buying politicians from both sides, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, who received $200,000 for his campaign.

What do you get when giant monopolized investor owned utilities buy your government? You get investor owned utilities that don’t do their maintenance, can’t keep the lights on and occasionally burn your house down.

Is this the new normal? I’m afraid it might be. I’m starting to feel like civilization’s gotten too big for its own britches.

On a more optimistic note, there’s one candidate running for AD-1 in the special election Tuesday, Nov. 5 who says this doesn’t have to be the new normal. It cheered me up when Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt turned up in my Facebook feed with her new Honda generator on Saturday.

AD-1 Democratic candidate Elizabeth Betancourt says this doesn’t have to be the new normal.

“Bought a generator for the farm today in anticipation of another round of PG&E shut offs,” the candidate posted. “These shut offs are unacceptable and should not be our ‘new normal.’ While an understandable stopgap measure in protecting human life and property from their outmoded, underfunded power infrastructure, they are negatively affecting schools and families, putting at risk individual health and safety, and potentially costing local businesses, rural economies and residents as much as $1 billion.”

“This isn’t PG&E’s line staff and employees; this is upper management,” Betancourt continued. “Wall Street investors are driving the corporate culture of profiting shareholders at any cost. We must have tougher laws and oversight to make sure the rates we pay are invested back into reliable and safe delivery of affordable power for our communities. To do this, we need a representative who is independent of corporate donors; that’s why I’m the only candidate in this race that refuses to take money from PG&E.”

That’s the sort of substantive remarks about serious issues I’ve come to expect from Betancourt, an environmental scientist and small farmer who’s facing an uphill battle against Sen. Dahle’s political machine, comprised of corporations and public safety unions.

Meanwhile, Megan Dahle’s campaign Facebook page has been mum on the latest widespread blackout. It has transformed into a sort of weaponized chain letter, multi-level marketing rendered in baby shower hues designed to boost turnout without actually saying who the candidate is, what she stands for or who’s footing the bill.

“#Get 10 Votes. Tag 10. Text 10. Call 10.”

From Megan Dahle’s Facebook campaign page.

Awesome. Mindless voting, just what the world needs now.

The generator’s throbbing in the background; as expected PG&E hasn’t turned the power back on. If you like the way things are going, vote for Dahle, I assure you they’ll remain the same.

Can Betancourt make a difference, if elected? I’ll be honest, I’m beginning to think that all of us working together 24/7 won’t be enough to stop the coming apocalypse, let alone one person by themselves.

But electing Betancourt would at least be a step in the right direction.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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46 Responses

  1. R.V., you’re one dedicated journalist; keeping your deadline despite the power outage. Thank goodness for generators!

    Thank you for another awesome piece of writing.

    (Early bird ANC readers may have noticed we posted our lead late today. We had a scheduling glitch but all is well now. Carry on. And try not to get blown away. I don’t know about how it is where you are, but my house sounds like it’s ready for liftoff.)

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Doni. As predicted, PG&E didn’t restore power between the shutdowns, and now the wind is blowing like crazy in Whitmore again. I fear for any place that’s currently on fire.

  2. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    RV, My nieces who teach at Pacheco are as upset as you over this latest school closing because of, she calls it, Windgate. In northern parts of the country there are snow days that close schools. In Asia there are smog days that close schools. Only in California are there wind days that close schools. As has been pointed out there are preventive cures but they come at a high monetary cost. Do nothing and it will only get worse.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I lost 3 substitute teaching days in the first blackout, and this one school I teach at, Montgomery Creek, had its well contaminated because of the shutdown, forcing us to drink bottled water and use porta potties. Right now the generator’s running but this can’t go on forever. Or can it?

  3. Avatar Tim says:

    Converting from 85% to 100% renewable energy by 2045, per California’s Democrat supermajority demands, is costing PG&E $2.4 billion each year. In a good year, PG&E earned about half that. Obviously PG&E has had to make cuts to fund that massive shortfall.

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article236739073.html

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      PG&E is crying poor. The state’s power portfolio has its problems, no. 1 being the reliance on natural gas. But PG&E is actually able to charge way above the market rate for renewable energy, which has dropped dramatically, so it’s questionable that they’re losing in this arrangement. What they have failed to do is maintain their equipment, repeatedly over decades, and instead spent the profits padding executive salaries and issuing billions in dividends it had no business issuing give the sorry state of their grid. That practice has been brought to a screaming halt.
      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/judge-to-oversee-pges-wildfire-safety-plans-bars-shareholder-dividends-2019-04-02

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Utilities are supposed to pay dividends – that’s why pensions like CalPers invest in them. But PG&E’s financials have been deteriorating for so long that they actually stopped paying dividends in 2017 (a year before the Camp Fire). You’d have to add up all the dividends paid from 2013-2017 to reach the $4.5 billion claimed by the judge. For camparison, since 2013 PG&E spent $17 billion meeting California’s renewable energy schedule.

      PG&E isn’t crying poor, it is poor. Net, it has lost money since 2013. And even in its good years, it was still earning less than it did in the 1990s. https://www.gurufocus.com/financials/PCG

      Now Newsom is basically begging Warren Buffett to buy PG&E, but Buffett has repeatedly turned down offers because he won’t invest in utilities regulated by the irrational (like the sort who demand PG&E invest heavily in new green energy without being able to raise rates enough to pay for it).

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        If you ran your trucking company like PG&E, you’d go out of business in a year.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Dividends are supposed to be paid after the company has done its maintenance, not in lieu of doing the maintenance. Warren Buffett isn’t going to buy PG&E, even at a fire sale price. Neither should the state of California. Better to start from scratch.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Tim — It’s only obvious that PG&E has to make $2.4 million in cuts to fund a $2.4 billion shortfall if PG&E isn’t allowed to adjust their rates in the face of the SB 100 goals. Is that prohibition written into the law?

      • Avatar Tim says:

        The California Public Utility Commission must approve any increase in PG&E’s rates. The process happens every 3 years and involves raucous public hearings in which uninformed masses bully the bureaucrats into denying needed rate increases.

        For example, for its 2017 rate application PG&E requested an additional $457 million in revenue for 2017, $489 million for 2018, and $390 million for 2019 – a total increase of $1.336 billion. The PUC approved an increase of just $88 million!

        • Avatar Larry Winter says:

          Tim, that $88 million was just for 2017. $444 million increase for 2018 and a $361 million increase for 2019.

          Even with “uninformed masses” at the table.

  4. Avatar Dan says:

    If even a tiny dose of Karma brings a smile to your face, look at PG&E’s stock price chart for the last 10 years and “insider holdings” as well as executive stock options. Yes, executive pain is probably minimal as they deposit their humungous “base” salaries. If Betancourt was a cross between Einstein and Mother Theresa, she would still have difficulting winning now because of growing North state hostility against the incumbent California Dem political machine. IMO.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I hear you Dan in regard to the corruption in Sacramento. The Democrats are getting tagged with it because they’ve been a supermajority for a decade in the Legislature, but the graft has always been there. Notably, the Democratic Party, last time I checked, had donated a paltry sum to Betancourt compared to the Republican Party’s donation to Dahle. I hope voters make the connection that a vote for Dahle is vote for Big Pharma, Big Oil, investor owned utilities, etc. Corruption is a two-way street, if you buy the ticket, you can’t get off the ride.

  5. Avatar Carrie says:

    Without power now for three days in Happy Valley, generator running the whole time. Like I told friend Peggy, it feels demeaning and demoralizing to have to go thru this. Sure, the generator helps but since I am an aging senior with health issues and a creature of habit, being taken out of your comfort zone like we have been, it’s callous and unforgivable! Sure, I’m venting. I also feel for others in the same predicament. All the businesses, employees, etc.
    Thank you, R. V.

  6. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Another informative, well-researched article from R.V. that makes an important point.

    I’m not convinced that there’s any hope for California either. However, if there IS hope it will come in the form of people like Elizabeth Betancourt.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Yes Patrecia, California is the laughing stock of the nation. The 5th largest economy in the world can’t keep the lights on in the state…the 5th largest economy in the world has half of the homeless in the nation, the 5th largest economy in the world has gas prices double the national average. California is failing, like you did…the middle class is fleeing the state in droves.
      California had been controlled by Democrats since 1971 and had had a super majority for years. Not one Republican holds a state office…and you want to elect MORE Democrats? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. We can start by recalling Newsom and start electing more Republicans to state offices.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        Five of the last ten California governors have been Republicans.

        In addition, California has been deprived of Billions of dollars a year in revenue for the past 40 years through the corporate loopholes in Prop 13. The wealthy Republicans who financed and promoted it convinced voters that it was all about “saving grandma’s home”, when that wasn’t its primary purpose and effect at all.

        And as I’ve pointed out before, California is the most populace state in the country (by far), and has the highest housing costs. That combination is largely responsible for the state’s homeless crisis. Govenor Newsom has apparently done everything possible to encourage the construction of lower-end housing, but developers aren’t biting due to current market forces.

        Also, Betancourt could hardly run as a Republican, since she refuses to accept corporate donations (Republicans – like Megan Dahle – are all corporate toadies). However, she is obvously not a status-quo candidate.

        Finally, the last thing California needs are regressive right-wing politicians. If you want to see REAL poverty (not the fake stat you’ve quoted, which defines “poverty” based on the percentage of a person’s income that have to pay for housing) look at most red states.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Patrecia, California is not deprived of income. We are close to being highest taxed state in the country, just think where we would be if we didn’t have prop 13. There is not much a gop governor can do when the legislature is dominated by Democrats. Sorry…you can’t place this crisis on the Republicans. My 91 year old father who lives in Sonoma county has not had power for half of this month, he finally headed off to his home in Mexico… think about that for a minute. Mexico has a more reliable power grid than the 5 the largest economy in the world. So explain to me againwhy we should vote for another Democrat legislator

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        PG&E donates generously to both Republicans and Democrats. This isn’t a partisan problem. It’s a corruption problem.

  7. Avatar Randy says:

    I too thought that the wind was over Sunday and the PGE projections of another “wind event” on Tuesday was just unnecessary over reaction but here I am Tuesday night with the wind still blowing hard. Just watched a video from LA ‘Gettyfire’ showing a limb hooked on the power lines. “The fire was likely caused by a tree branch that broke off during the high wind conditions and subsequently landed on nearby powerlines, which resulted in sparking and arcing that ignited nearby brush,” LAFD said.

  8. Avatar Robert V. Scheide SR. says:

    There are actually several fixes for this I haven’t heard mentioned. Of course don’t wait for PG and E to suggest it.

    The gassers could buy all 11 million household a 4oo kw generator at about a 1000 bucks each.
    At their current value of 20 billion the state could buy them and the generators too.

    This is a massive problem and is naive to even think that PG and E or any private utility will pony up the bucks to fix something this this big.

    So we better git to it.

    PG and E are already charging twice what the city of Redding does and the same is true of most public utilities. They don’t deserve it, they didn’t do their job.

    Having spent 26 years running power plants ,mostly government run 6 years of that were with IDAHO POWER the rest were government run. All had moths in their wallets and you had to get in their face to fix problems.

    If you have government run plants you have to hire operators with big balls because they are going to have to get angry to get the problem fixed. I have seen time where to save a little overtime they would take chances . I would like to add that did’t happen on my watch and had many a fight to get the job done. Operators especially on the back shifts are the only person to take care of problems and if they are not gutsy , bad things could happens.

    Government and private alike are doing things I object too.. Like unmanning river run plants on the back shifts which I consider too be way to dangerous. If you can’t afford to man it you shouldn’t own it.

    I have been retired over 20 years and am greatly concerned about the quality of current day operators and the lack of training programs. Computers are everywhere and just about all have gone to plug and play maintenance..That means you replace cards hoping that one would make it work..In the old days you fixed the dam thing with parts not boards.

    Having you power out is damn annoying, Having your whole system down it frightening.

    In conclusion buying the gassers out is the only answerl

    • Avatar Randy says:

      How about instead of fossil fueled generators we get help with small scale solar backup systems. Currently I have one 12v deep cycle battery with a $40 inverter that powers up two computers several times a day and a gas stove. Our waterheater is also gas but our solar water heater heats all the water we need as long as the sun shines. Of course other people have entirely different situations but I think now is the time to begin ‘upgrading’ to onsite power in all ways possible. Of course just using less power is fundamental and easy to adapt to.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Randy, how about we expect energy providers to supply energy like the rest of the country. Why is that too much to ask for? The 5th largest economy in the world should be able to provide power to its citizens, shouldn’t it? But instead of being outraged…heck, just go out and spend money on solar panels and generators. Good gawd…what a bunch of sheeples

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Thanks once again Doug for revealing your true self.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Revealing my true self? My true self kinda expects our state to provide power to its citizens. How about the businesses that are losing income, the students that are missing out on education? As I stated above, my 91 year old father was without power for 12 out of t the first 22 days of October…he finally had to leave to Mexico to guarantee that he would have power. What exactly did I reveal of myself? That I’m pissed off at the incompetent and corrupt state government?

          • Avatar Larry Winter says:

            Doug, you expect the state to provide power to its citizens? Are you calling for state takeover of all utilities? I’m with you on that one if you are.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Dad, a lot of people are saying the state should buy PG&E and take it public. I think it might be cheaper just to scrap their grid and build a new one, incorporating small localized distributed grids into a new larger grid with buried lines. If we do go public, we might have the same problems getting maintenance done, as you experienced at the Bureau.

      • Avatar Robert V. Scheide SR. says:

        I read some where that it is lot cheaper to build new, so yeah , still like buying generators to who have need

      • Avatar ED MAREK says:

        Electric distribution lines are an impossibility for the future climate of most of rural California.

        I’ve been listening to my neighbors’s generators chugging away from my home north of Oak run, producing extraordinarily inefficient, polluting, and expensive electricity, for the last four days.

        I’ve been running my home appliances off of my BEV battery instead.

        And if PG&E doesn’t announce a power restoration schedule by tonight, I’ll just drive down to Redding to charge up, and bring another ~ week’s worth of electricity back with the rest of the groceries.

        The future grid connection in rural areas will be our roads and batteries, used to supplement and balance our home generation (generally solar).

        This article give you the basics on using batteries for both Grid-to-Vehicle (G-to-V) and Vehicle to Home (V-to-H) applications:

        https://thedriven.io/2019/07/11/nissan-sees-leaf-as-home-energy-source-says-tesla-big-battery-waste-of-resources/

        Misubishi has produced a video using its PHEV (adding the potential option of accessing a massive on-board generator (enough to power up a retail business or group of homes) here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTEENrbyeAg

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Very interesting Ed. Will that battery run my well pump? That’s one of our primary concerns up here. I think the future is definitely localized, small distributed grids for the rural areas, using solar and wind power and perhaps state-of-the art small biomass generating stations in areas that require a lot of forest waste removal. Thanks for the links.

          • Avatar Ed says:

            R.V.

            Any Electric vehicle battery can power a few dozen well pumps, BUT you need to have the right hardware to access the pack.

            My hardware was my ~$60 120 volt inverter from Harbor Freight, running off my car’s 12 volt battery. Meaning I had a 1.5 kW bottleneck, preventing me from using my well pump.

            The device I want, as shown in the links above, doesn’t have its name settled yet. With a “two way Charger”, “Charger/Discharger” or “Energy Distributor” (an ED, being my preference…) you can access your vehicle’s ~400 Volt traction battery directly and send high kW directly to your electrical panel, your stationary storage batteries, or to another plugged-in vehicle’s battery pack at the same location.

            Too much energy from your home solar panels to store in mid-Summer? Plug into the ED in the Supermarket parking lot on a hot afternoon next time you’re in Redding, and sell some kWh back to the grid at the high peak-demand price. You can buy the same kWh back in the Winter (when the Sun hasn’t been seen for a week) at the (much lower) Winter price.

            Most vehicle manufacturers themselves haven’t yet figured out the massive implications are for having electricity on wheels. Using vehicle batteries ONLY to power the vehicles is sort of like the early days of cell phones, when we only thought they were useful for moving voice.

            As to small biomass, every Winter as I burn, I contemplate the reality that I could power my home and car ~10 times over, if I  could only capture all that energy. 

            But the reality is, cheap batteries and renewable energy (mostly solar in our area) has gotten so cheap that it would probably take large subsidies to make small biomass  pay. Not that that is a bad idea, since the expenses are largely for labor costs, meaning more jobs for under-employed rural regions.

          • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

            Thanks again Ed. I took a look at those links and see what you’re talking about. That set up is perfect for Whitmore.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      PG&E should cost more than REU. The average REU customer needs to pay enough to maintain 88 feet of electric line while the average PG&E customer needs to pay enough to maintain 122 feet of electric line (over much more rugged terrain). That’s 39% more infrastructure per customer…

      (REU serves 42,000 accounts and maintains 700 miles of electric line. PG&E serves 5.4 million electric accounts and (inadequately) maintains 125,000 miles of electric line)

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Also 40% of PG&E’s customers are low income and are eligible for reduced rates. I don’t have the stats for REU, but it should be a lot less. The average PG&E customer also uses less electricity (smaller average house size + cooler average summer temperature). That all means the infrastructure cost per Kwh is a lot higher for PG&E

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        The recent blackouts aside, I’ve been a happy PG&E customer for years. They’ve actually been doing quite of bit of maintenance in the Whitmore area for the past nine months, particularly on their high voltage stuff, but some residential lines as well. The line to our house is buried. There’s still an enormous amount of residential lines that run right through trees and brush. It will be interesting to see if this crisis foments a solution.

  9. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great article R.V. In a logical world, all companies, schools and government agencies would have to put aside monies for future maintenance of buildings and infrastructure. Schools don’t but then get a bond passed for urgent upgrades and repairs to buildings and classrooms. PG&E is in an a huge dilemma. They have prvided service to million of people since the 1800s. We have become dependent upon the service they provide, but this new era of anthropogenic global warming changes the whole picture of providing what are dangerous utilities….gas and electricity! By the way, I already sent in my ballot for a candidate I can only describe as brilliant.

  10. Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

    Another HOME RUN for R.V. ! It’s time the PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA take over and run PGE as a publicly owned non-profit and use the PGE resources and people power to rebuild it, including the grid, from the in-the-ground up! Wall Street investment hedge funds are burring us down to the ground, putting the cash into their pockets while FEMA and taxpayers foot the bill. While we’re at it, let’s put renewables and solar everywhere we can and keep the Tax Credits flowing!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Undoing the financialization of investor owned utilities is key, whoever ends up owning PG&E. I’m leery of the state buying it and taking it over without seeing the plan first. Maintaining the grid properly overlaps with restoring our forests and wildlands to resilience and the scape and scope of the work that needs to be done means jobs, jobs, jobs. How we pay for it is the serious question.

  11. Avatar Zeek Abrihabrada says:

    Power to the People! It’s too bad there wasn’t enough financing to bring smaller community power projects to the people.Imagine that the Millville plains had 5000 solar panels. Enough to provide energy to the town of Millville. Take that out to all the other towns.
    Or some financing to all that wanted to install solar with battery backup?

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