Friday, October 24, 2014
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

    A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

     
    Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Yoga and chanting workshop planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    ‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

    Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Weir honored, a year early

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    For a good cause

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    The magic is long gone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    What’s next with Ebola?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    More theories on the abstention

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rights beget responsibilities

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Water returns to its source

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A solution to the drought

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Experience nature’s treasures

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Subs have other concerns

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sharks suffer from road woes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

     
    Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    .

    Obituaries

    Lewis Melvin Dudman

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Ann Foley Scheuring

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B3