Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Will city move forward on public power review?

By
From page A1 | April 24, 2014 |

One step forward, one step back. Repeat.

The city’s effort to get information necessary to forge ahead with a plan to provide electricity to Davis residents through a public utility instead of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been beset by bouts of caution. Now, the attempt is in limbo — at least for now — after the City Council voted not to hear an update on the issue Tuesday night.

It wasn’t that the council was shy about discussing the topic. The meeting had run long, past 11:30 p.m., and a rule about taking on new business went into effect: Four of five council members had to approve any new topics. Public power didn’t get enough votes, but another, less controversial issue did.

A high-level city meeting on public power involving department heads took place Wednesday afternoon, and a PG&E representative was present. The matter will be discussed at the council’s next meeting on May 13.

What will be discussed is a presentation of municipal utilities and their situations, plus a question posed to the council if it wants to move ahead with the formal information-gathering process.

The city already has spent $400,000 to explore breaking away from PG&E and creating a public power entity. It authorized up to $600,000 more for the study in February, a commitment that is drawing fire from residents who are being asked to approve a half-percent sales tax increase on the June 3 ballot.

The $3.6 million generated annually by that tax would be used to help plug a $4.99 million “structural deficit” in the city budget.

A sprinkling of supporters Tuesday night spoke of the city’s effort to get the information it needs to follow a path to public power. PG&E representatives at the meeting did not do what is by now custom: imply that the effort for public power will be fraught with expense, and that PG&E will fight it every step of the way.

Comments like Davis resident Dean Newberry’s call to the council, “We will win,” go up against a lack of historical evidence for the claim, however.

An Enterprise survey of California municipal utilities using information from the American Public Power Association — a public utility lobbying group in Washington, D.C. — indicates that there is no situation in California that is an accurate comparison to what Davis faces.

Municipal electric utilities that serve entire cities in California are usually much like Palo Alto, Alameda, Burbank and Glendale: long-serving utilities incorporated in the late 1800s or the early 20th century without the court fight or regulatory battle with an investor-owned utility like PG&E.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District offers a cautionary tale in the modern era. In 2005, it began an effort to purchase PG&E facilities to offer electricity to customers at a projected 15 percent discount. PG&E proved hostile to the effort and still maintains control of its facilities.

The irrigation district’s attempts were rejected by a county agency formation commission in 2006. The district reapplied for another hearing in 2009, but hasn’t heard anything.

A staff report by Herb Niederberger, general manager of utilities, development and operations for the city of Davis, quoted information from the American Public Power Association that seems in contrast to information the association provided the Enterprise.

In a list of 17 public agencies that formed a public electric utility between 2003 and 2013, seven agencies are listed that broke away in California. However, a closer look reveals that none appear similar to Davis.

* Pittsburg Power Company, which does business on former military bases in that city and in Vallejo as Island Power Company, gained its franchise agreement from the military.

* Moreno Valley Electric Utility, which serves just a fraction of its own and Davis’ populations at 4,300 customers, broke away from Southern California Edison in 2004. Interim Davis City Manager Gene Rogers, who started work in Davis on Tuesday, was the city manager of Moreno Valley when he led the push for that utility, according to the Davis city manager’s office.

The Moreno Valley Electric contracts with Enco Utility Services to manage the operations. Of the entire list, Moreno Valley comes closest to Davis’ situation.

* McAllister Ranch Irrigation District, which is listed as breaking away from PG&E in 2003, is listed as being located near Bakersfield. It maintains no website and its number given by several directory websites is disconnected. A different number given by directory assistance rang off the hook, with no message.

* Rancho Cucamonga Municipal Electric Utility broke away from Southern California Edison in 2001 and served its first customers in 2004. The American Public Power Association lists the number of current customers at 400. Its website lists the population of its combined residential and commercial service area in the daytime as 15,000.

* Industry, this industrial-based Southern California city, has an electric utility that broke away from Southern California Edison in 2004, serving 23 industrial customers.

* Port of Stockton Electric is an electric utility serving the Port of Stockton created in 2003. It provides power to an industrial wharf in Stockton. It is listed as having 3,208 customers.

* Victorville, which is listed as breaking away from Southern California Edison in 2003, does not provide electric service to residential customers, according to its website.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

 

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Red Cross honors community heroes

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

     
    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

     
    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas George Byrne

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8