San Francisco to offer $2.5B for PG&E's power grid, provide its own service to residents

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco wants to be a power broker when it comes to electricity. The city by the bay is looking to buy PG&E's power grid and provide its own service to residents but the price tag for the takeover is huge.

Supervisor Matt Haney is ready to dump PG&E.

He says the city will offer the utility $2.5 Billion for its power line system across the city and provide its own power to residents, perhaps at a lower rate.

"This is a chance to own our own grid and not have a private company have a monopoly on it," said Supervisor Haney.

Revenue bonds would pay for the purchase. The city is already providing electricity to thousands through the Clean Power SF program, by purchasing renewable energy from sources, then using PG&E's lines to get it to homes.

"If San Francisco takes over, it will be good and if it lowers the rates it would be better," said San Francisco resident Joana Mattero.

"Poor people who have to have electricity and gas, they don't need their money to go to shareholders and PG&E," said San Francisco resident Richard Wood Massi.

With PG&E in bankruptcy, this may be an offer it can't refuse. Proceeds from the sale could help the utility pay victims of deadly Northern California wildfires, started by power lines.

In a statement to ABC7 News, the utility said:

"PG&E has been a part of San Francisco since the company's founding.. and while we don't believe municipalization is in the best interests of our customers and stakeholders, we are committed to working with the city."

But not everyone likes the takeover idea. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) says the city has other priorities.

Its website says: "This takeover will make San Francisco worse, not better. We take safety very seriously, we just don't trust the people who can't make the buses run on time and can't clean the streets."

Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera are leading the bid for PG&E. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposal later this month.

If approved, City officials say PG&E would still provide gas service to customers.
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