Fresno again mulls government takeover of electric service from PG&E

Fresno leaders first raised the idea of government-run electric service last October.

Six months after pumping the breaks on ousting Pacific Gas and Electric and providing electricity directly to its residents, the City of Fresno is once again looking to explore the possibility. 

Thursday, the Fresno City Council will consider hiring a consultant to look into improving the services and affordability of electricity, including a government-run takeover of electric service. 


The backstory: Last October, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and City Councilman Garry Bredefeld launched an effort to explore the city taking over PG&E’s operations in city limits. 

  • The effort came in part because of PG&E’s responsibility in starting wildfires across California, resulting in the death of over 100 people, and the rate increases in recent years. At the time, Bredefeld called PG&E a “recidivist criminal enterprise” and gave the utility a new name: the Plunder, Gouge and Extortion company. 
  • But by November a majority of the council disagreed and shot down any potential study for the time being, telling the Dyer administration to return at a later date with more information. 
  • Just a couple weeks later, Dyer distanced himself from the proposal, saying he never thought the city should push for a taxpayer-funded takeover of PG&E’s operations. 

The big picture: Teaming up with the Dyer Administration, Bredefeld and fellow Councilmembers Tyler Maxwell and Luis Chavez are bringing a proposal forward during Thursday’s meeting to hire a consultant. 

  • The agreement would be for $256,443 with consulting firm Baker Tilly US. 

Driving the news: This week’s renewed effort is not dissimilar to last year’s attempt, arguing that PG&E’s rates have increased by more than 26 percent since 2021. 

  • Dyer administration officials continue to emphasize concern over PG&E’s ability to provide new utility connections and service for new construction projects in a timely manner.
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