San Francisco protesters push for PG&E accountability amid fire season

As fire season gets into full swing, Pacific Gas & Electric knows its under the watchful eyes of government and customers alike — including some San Francisco groups and officials who want the investor-owned utility to become public property. Some call it PG&E's "License to Burn."

PG&E finds itself in a cross current between Mother Nature and irate consumers. The Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign, a coalition of social and political action groups, stood on San Francisco's City Hall steps to encourage Supervisor Connie Chan to submit a resolution to the Board of Supervisors.

The resolution demands that Governor Newsom withhold PG&E's safety certificate, which the coalition says allows the utility to use ratepayer dollars to pay for damages that their equipment causes.

"Newsom and others have completely left them off the hook, despite PG&E's negligence and causing catastrophic mega-fires every single years since 2016," said Jackie Fielder of the SF Local Agency Formation Commission.

"Let's not forget that it was PG&E's gross negligence of directing money that we pay in our bills to upgrade infrastructure and actually moved it in to bonuses for the CEO and investors of the corporation," said Local Clean Energy Alliance member Jessica Tovar. 

"The time to act is now, and the governor should reject PG&E's ‘License to Burn,’" said Antonio Diaz of People Organizing to Demand Economic Rights.

Mark Toney is Director of The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a long-time consumer watchdog of PG&E.

"PG&E has over 250,000 backlogs of repairs that need to be made that they are behind on. PG&E continues to have its inspections fail to meet the basic standard of doing the vegetation management in the high risk fire zones," said Toney.

PG&E says it already holds a valid, state issued and approved safety certificate. The proposed resolution which, like all resolutions, does not have the power of law, and would have no real legal effect.