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About
Glossary

Copyright 2008-10,
CaliforniaPHOTON.com
V 1.06
site last updated: 6/26/2010

C a l i f o r n i a   P H O T O N

Pacific Gas & Electric

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) (NYSE: PCG), is the company that provides electricity to most of Northern California, serving 4.7 million customers. Founded in 1905, PG&E is headquartered in San Francisco.

As of December 1992, PG&E operated 173 electric generating units and 85 generating stations, 18,450 miles (29,690 km) of transmission lines and 101,400 miles (163,200 km) of distribution system.

The company sold many of these assets in the later 1990s under California's wholesale energy market "deregulation". Liabilities that the utility had acquired primarily through building expensive nuclear powerplants, labeled "stranded costs", were passed on to ratepayers through the "Competition Transition Surcharge", totaling $8 billion between 1998 and 2000. 1  

PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 6, 2001, having run up billions of dollars in debt as it paid, at times, wholesale prices for electricity that were many times higher than retail rates during the California Electricity Crisis of 2000 and 2001. 2   The case dragged on for years until, in December of 2003, a second bailout plan for the company was approved, costing ratepayers about $8 billion. 3   4   PG&E's lawyer's fees for the case totaled $450 million. 5  

PG&E, which controls San Francisco's electricity supply, has repeatedly spent millions of dollars on successful campaigns to defeat ballot measures that would have created a public municipal utilities district to manage the city's electricity. One component of the dispute between city residents and PG&E is the utility's control of power and water resources from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir -- resources that the 1913 Raker Act promised to the city.

Power Purchase Contracts

PG&E has signed a number of long-term contracts solar energy companies to purchase power from planned facilities.

The list has grown since publication of the above table, to include two PV-based plants: High Plains Ranch and Topaz Solar Farm.


References

1. PG&E Bankruptcy Bailout to Deliver Lower 'Rates' But Higher Electric Bills, 12/21/2003
2. PG&E Files for Bankruptcy, [cached]
3. Bailout Makes the Case for Public Power, SanFranciscoChronicle, 12/19/2003 [cached]
4. PG&E remains in recovery, Oakland Tribune, [cached]
5. PG&E bankruptcy bill at $450M, 10/1/2004 [cached]
6. PG&E plans big investment in solar power, SFGate.com, 8/15/2008 [cached]