Money Talks, but it Don’t Sing and Dance
This is a California story, but don’t look for any beach-babes or shark-encounters. To make a pun of it, it’s an electrifying tale of possible progress and legislative subversion.
But it’s a big story, because California is a big state.
Commerce-wise, it’s America’s behemoth with an economy totaling $3 trillion annually, the 5th largest in the world. But it has a problem. It’s major public utility, Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE) has a habit of blowing up and burning down major areas of the state. Let me count the ways:
The 2010 San Bruno natural gas explosion that destroyed a neighborhood and killed eight people, costing Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) $565 million in settlements and another $1.7 billion in fines.
The 2015-2016 Aliso Canyon natural gas blowout, which Sempra energy paid $1.8 billion for in settlements. Sempra energy owns SoCal Gas and San Diego Gas and Electric.
The $7.5 billion cost of wildfires in PG&E’s territory in 2017 alone. In 2021, PG&E was allowed to recover those …