Sen. Jerry Hill discusses bill aimed to protect PG&E ratepayers

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Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo, Santa Clara counties) introduced three bills that he says will protect PG&E ratepayers, give the legislature a voice in the utility’s reorganization, and ensure greater safety results if a state-regulated electric or gas company changes hands.

Senator Hill discussed his proposals with KRON 4’s Marty Gonzalez.

The package of three bills includes Senate Bill 549, which prohibits state regulators from changing PG&E rates without authorization from the Legislature.

In effect, this requirement gives the Legislature a say in how the reorganization impacts PG&E customers — who otherwise would have no representation in any consideration of rate changes.”

SB 548 requires the CPUC to set a timeframe for regulated electric utilities to inspect their transmission lines.

In court documents filed following the 2018 Camp Fire, the largest and deadliest wildfire in state history, PG&E said it typically inspected the 115,000-volt transmission line implicated in the fire once every five years.

In contrast, Southern California Edison says it conducts detailed inspections of its transmission lines every three years.

SB 550, the final bill in the legislative package, requires the CPUC to ensure that a merger, acquisition or change of control of a state-regulated gas or electric corporation improves safety and that measures are in place for the successor to foster safe utility service.

In addition, SB 550 requires the CPUC to find that a proposed merger, acquisition or change of control “would improve the safety of utility service” before authorizing the restructuring.

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