Yolo energy cooperative wants to buy PG&E’s local assets

Yolo energy cooperative wants to buy PG&E’s local assets

The Valley Clean Energy Board of Directors — composed of elected officials from Woodland, Davis, and Yolo County — is studying the potential buying of PG&E’s distribution facilities in the county as a way to provide safer, cleaner, more reliable and affordable electricity service to its customers.

According to a release issued Friday, PG&E’s recent bankruptcy filing provides “an opportunity for a fresh look at how electricity is delivered.”

Spokeswoman Vicky Zavattero explained the decision to explore options to provide electric distribution service is not unique to the local energy provider — the city of San Francisco and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District in the greater Manteca/Ripon/Escalon area are doing the same.

Valley Clean Energy was formed in June 2018 as a “community-power” agency to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis, and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County.

The VCE board is composed of two county supervisors, two members of the Woodland and Davis city councils.

In June, after 15 years of fighting for local control, the mayors of Manteca, Ripon and Escalon authored a letter asking for support from Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to Zavattero.

The governor’s appointed Energy Strike Force wrote in its April 12, 2019, report, “After years of mismanagement and safety failures, no options can be taken off the table to reform PG&E, including municipalization of all or a portion of PG&E’s operations…”

The PG&E bankruptcy affords an ideal opportunity to determine whether a “public power” electric service approach might provide greater control, benefits and safeguards to California communities, Zavattero indicated.

“Exploring the feasibility of this option is the responsible thing to do for our customers,” said VCE Board Chairman Tom Stallard, a Woodland councilman. “And the timing of this opportunity is unique. If we find a practical path forward, transferring PG&E’s poles and lines could mean a safer electricity system and benefits for both customers and the environment — it could bring a real sea change in local power provision.”

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