San Jose City Council to consider creating its own utility company

San Jose City Council is considering the possibility of creating its own power company, which could chart the South Bay city on a new, more independent, course and severe ties with current electric provider Pacific Gas & Electric

The council plans to decide Tuesday if it should move forward with gathering more information on the impact it would have on the city. 

Tuesday's City Council vote is to decide what is necessary to create a power company managed by the city, but a lot more research has to be done before any official decision is made, said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan.

"Tomorrow even if it passes, the City is not committing itself to having a San Jose Power or a municipal utility," Mahan said.  

The City Council will take a look at the economic impact and other key factors before finalizing any decision. 

"As the state expands transmission lines into San Jose, if we were to tap directly into those, we may have more direct control over our destiny. As in prioritizing projects, ensuring they get connected to the grid faster. There could be some real benefits there," Mahan said.  

Currently, the City of San Jose is serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric and Mahan said he has discussed San Jose’s needs and concerns with the electric company officials. He said the council will discuss if creating a San Jose utility company may avoid more construction delays and lead to future savings. 

"Right now what we’re looking at in the short term is interconnection rates. How quickly can new housing and jobs get connected to the grid so that we can continue to facilitate economic development in San Jose?" Mahan said. 

Demand for electricity throughout the state continues to grow, which is one reason new transmission lines are being installed throughout the South Bay region. 

"The primary line we’re looking at will be coming down from Newark, through North San Jose near our waste water treatment facility, which is a major energy user. Then come down past the airport, another major user of energy, down into to the Diridon Station area where we anticipate downtown west eventually being built out," Mahan said.  

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Mahan also said, although they’re weighing the possibility of a utility company, he doesn’t want to overburden the city with more responsibility than it already has. 

KTVU reached out to PG&E for comment, but they didn’t respond in time for this report. 


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