FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno City Council Thursday decided to table the vote on whether or not to look into options for alternatives to PG&E, the city’s sole energy provider.
The vote has been tabled until the first meeting of December, on the first of the month.
The city initially wanted to explore options over disputes about the way PG&E has delivered power, “high rates, and lack of attention,” they say is given to the Central Valley.
The meeting took over two hours. It was initially scheduled to take only ten minutes.
It kicked off with PG&E workers, union reps, and more who expressed concern about moving forward with a study and cited hostility from some elected officials during Monday’s meeting.
They say some have even been exposed to violence.
“Our employees were hurt after hearing the language that was used by their elected officials,” said Melissa Munoz, a leader of PG&E call center operations. “PG&E frontline coworkers have been subject to harassment and in some cases violence in Fresno before so it’s not surprising they are concerned,” she said.
City Council Vice President Tyler Maxwell said the city holds all of its public departments accountable, and PG&E should be no different.
Council member Garry Bredefeld even came up with a new acronym for PG&E to express his frustration.
“I think PG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric, should be known as the plunder, gauge, and extortion utility company,” said Bredefeld.
City representatives cite a nearly 50% rate increase over the last two years.
Fresno residents saw a 22% increase in costs this year, in addition to an additional 18% expected to jump in 2023.
Council members Esmeralda Soria, and Miguel Arias want more information and clarity before they take action.
“The item before us is literally one run-on sentence, with billions of dollars in implications,” said Arias.
And after more than two hours of discussion, arguments, and a cryptic warning through a demonstration, from City Council President Nelson Esparza, the council finally voted to table it until the first meeting in December, four votes to three.
“The first customer we’re gonna serve comes at this extremely high cost,” he said. “So again, as I mentioned earlier it’s gonna be vest expensive to launch a utility.”
That meeting will take place on December 1.