Discussions continue for Fresno leaders surrounding high utility bills

Brittany Jacob Image
Friday, November 4, 2022
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On Thursday, Fresno city council members had a long discussion on how to best provide electric service and power to residents.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Thursday, Fresno city council members had a long discussion on how to best provide electric service and power to residents.

Mayor Jerry Dyer, Councilman Tyler Maxwell, City Manager Georgeanne White and Councilman Garry Bredefeld sponsored the item -- all to look for possible alternatives to the city's current power provider - PG&E.

"This is about a monopoly operating within our city, operating within our Valley, within California where there are very few checks and balances that occur although we have the PUC in place," Dyer said.

On Monday, city, county and state leaders came together to call out ongoing PG&E issues impacting Fresno County residents, including the long delays some customers are facing to get connected to the power grid.

RELATED: Fresno leaders voice concerns with PG&E, aim to lower utility bills

Bredefeld believes one of the ways to fix these problems is for the city to form its own Public Utility District.

"What we put out is do a study that gives us all options, and that seemed to create a lot of confusion for them - they weren't sure what that meant," he said.

On Thursday, in a 4-3 vote, the issue was tabled.

"So these politicians just did a dance, create a lot of smoke and just delayed doing anything," Bredefeld said.

Soria and Arias disagreed. Arias says he feels like the sponsors did not have a solid plan.

"When you are considering the single largest expansion of local government and a multi-billion dollar decision, all we had today was a one-sentence proposal by the administration, and the council felt that was not appropriate and it didn't do justice for the type of decisions that we have to consider," he said.

A PG&E spokesperson acknowledged supply chain issues have led to delays with transformers.