In a cynical move to avoid financial responsibility for causing the devastating Camp Fire, PG&E has declared itself bankrupt. This comes before any responsibility for the fire has actually been laid at their feet. Perhaps a guilty conscience is at work here. PG&E has been found criminally responsible for other destructive and fatal fires in the recent past.

What is really needed is true public ownership of all of our utility companies. Pacific Gas & Electric, like the other big utility companies in California, is really a quasi-public, but mostly private corporation. It is ultimately responsible to its stock holders not the public. The lapdog Public Utilities Commission (PUC) does exercise some regulatory oversight of these utilities, but clearly not enough. We, the people of California, need to take them over and run them in our interests, not the interests of private stock holders.

A good model for this is the well-run, long-functioning public utility company in the Sacramento area. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has a long history of providing people with lower cost reliable electricity. It is an acknowledged leader in the shift away from fossil fuels, and closed down its nuclear reactor when the public no longer supported it.

Let’s make public utilities in California truly public! Take over PG&E and run it in our best interests, not the financial interests of private stock holders!

– John Reiger
State Chair, Peace and Freedom Party

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