Friday, February 29, 2008

PG&E's Pesky Eminent Domain Problem

Sucks to be PG&E these days! We told you about the South San Joaquin Irrigation's District's move to get into the power business by tossing out PG&E, now the same thing is happening in Stockton.

Yesterday, in his State of the City addrss, Mayor Ed Chavez reiterated his intention to push the City Council to bounce PG&E in accordance with a provision in the City's deal with the utility that goes back to 1954.
We're not Eminent Domain lawyers, but this looks like it might be more straightforward than a traidtional eminent domain action, because, according to the Record, the City has a letter from PG&E dated 1954, that says point blank:

"The right is reserved to the city to go into the public utility business or to purchase the public utility facilities of the company within the city at a reasonable price at any time the city shall see fit."

PG&E spokesperson Nicole Tam isn't impressed... she says PG&E is not a "willing seller" and implies that the company will litigate the matter until the cows come home.

Stockton is making the same arguments as SSJID: rates will come down and revenues will increase if the City takes over.