PG&E bankruptcy emboldens California municipalities – but breaking up is hard to do

Breaking up with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is hard to do.

But the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and other municipalities across California are evaluating the possibility of doing just that, seeking to take advantage of a groundswell of public discontent in the wake of PG&E’s wildfire-driven collapse into bankruptcy, which has left the utility giant in an unfamiliar position of political vulnerability.

A move toward utility “municipalization” in the state could introduce yet another set of complications for PG&E, which has historically resisted efforts by cities to gain energy independence and is already battling with contentious bankruptcy proceedings, an uncertain legislative reform process, and the threat, just around the corner, of another vicious wildfire season.

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