Community Engagement

Fresno, Calif., Officials Eye Possible Formation of Public Power

Officials in Fresno, Calif., are taking a closer look at the potential formation of a public power utility for the city. The city is currently served by investor-owned Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

At an Oct. 31 news conference, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said, “The City of Fresno is also a utility provider. We provide sanitation. We provide water and we provide sewer and perhaps it’s time we provide electricity.” Rising PG&E rates were also mentioned at the news conference.

A media advisory issued by Fresno Councilmember Garry Bredefeld related to the news conference cited PG&E’s “ongoing failures to timely energize facilities in the city.” The advisory said that the consultant picked for the study would “provide all options including the possibility of the City of Fresno forming its own district as is done in some other cities in California.”

The City Council of Fresno, Calif., on Nov. 3 considered a proposal that would direct its staff to hire a consultant to perform a feasibility study related to the possible formation of a public power utility. Discussions over the proposal lasted for more than three hours.

At the council meeting, Dyer made the case for the council to authorize a study.

Councilmember Miguel Arias called for a vote to table the motion for a study, saying, among other things, that additional information was needed, but the vote fell short due to a 3-3 tie among councilmembers.

A subsequent motion calling for the proposal to be tabled until a meeting of the council next month was approved by councilmembers.