San Francisco Offers to Buy PG&E Grid

If accepted, deal would lay foundation for municipal utility in the Bay Area

San Francisco has made a $2.5 billion offer to buy Pacific Gas & Electric’s grid assets within its city limits, the most concrete step yet from cities, counties and public agencies served by the bankrupt Northern California utility to lay claim to their portions of its power grid.

Friday’s offer came in a letter from Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera to PG&E. But it began taking shape in February, a month after PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, when city officials began exploring options to take over power distribution from PG&E.

San Francisco’s bid for PG&E’s assets, while coming amidst PG&E’s bankruptcy, is rooted in a years-long dispute with the utility, as Greentech Media reported Tuesday. City officials have long complained that PG&E has overcharged it for grid upgrades, and last year claimed that PG&E’s intransigence has delayed more than 16 major construction projects, ranging from affordable housing to public safety facilities.

“There has been a lack of investment in infrastructure over the course of the last decade by PG&E,” Herrera told KQED. “And that is, and was, motivated  primarily by pursuit of profit. That’s not something that San Francisco is going to be pursuing. We’re not interested in profit.”

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