PG&E provides natural gas and electricity to most of the northern two-thirds of California and last year had revenues in excess of $17bn. This year the company’s fortunes have dramatically reversed due to them having to pay liabilities following a devastating wildfire in 2019 that they were deemed responsible for igniting. The situation is so dire that the Governor has threatened a public takeover of the company but more than 110 Northern California city and county officials, led by the city of San Jose, are now proposing to turn the utility giant into a customer-owned cooperative.
The structure of the deal has yet to be confirmed but it’s believed that the state government will finance it with $50bn in bonds. The resultant company will be a consumer coop which will keep the company’s service territory intact to ensure that residents of rural, fire-prone areas don’t face a steep increase in costs.