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PG&E plans draw fire

A reorganisation plan filed by California's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, has raised a storm of criticism.

Critics have charged that PG&E’s reorganisation plan, which envisages the transfer of its generation assets to an unregulated subsidiary, is an attempt to dodge state regulation. President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has called the plan ’a regulatory jailbreak’ and ‘a corporate shell game to evade proper state regulation’.

Another concern arising from the plan is how Pacific Gas & Electric would continue to manage its hydroelectric properties, which make up the world’s largest privately held hydro power system. The Regional Council of Rural Counties of California is concerned as to who will be responsible for safeguarding the environmental health of the hydro system’s reservoirs and rivers.

The watercourses and the reservoirs are the mainstay of the fishing, boating and tourism industry in an area that covers nearly two-thirds of California.