HuffPost - November 1, 2019
"But Khanna said a publicly controlled utility freed of the requirement to pay investors dividends could transition much faster to zero-emission sources. He cited Silicon Valley Power, the municipal utility in Santa Clara, which this year generatednearly halfits residential electricity from solar and wind."
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) called for a public takeover of the investor-owned utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. as anger mounts over widespread blackouts aimed at keeping electrical equipment from igniting wildfires.
In an interview with HuffPost, the Silicon Valley progressive accused the power company of prioritizing high executive salaries and payouts to investors over infrastructure upgrades needed to operate safely in a hotter, drier climate.
“The for-profit motive does not work,” Khanna said by phone Wednesday. “The public utility is a much better option because you’re not having to worry about maximizing shareholder returns and you will make the safety investments that are necessary.”
Khanna is among the highest-profile elected officials to back a resurgent movement pushing for public ownership of power stations and transmission lines. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whom Khanna has backed for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, proposed creating a public option for electricity as part of his Green New Deal and this week said it was “time to begin thinking about public ownership of major utilities.”
Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) enacted a law in July directing state regulators to draft a plan to create a public utility to replace investor-owned power companies. Nascent campaigns to municipalize utilities in Chicago and New York City are gaining steam.
But the apocalyptic images of suburban homes and cars engulfed in flames and nightmarish stories of residents struggling to survive amid rolling blackouts in the country’s most populous state captured national attention this month and added new momentum to the populist campaigns. ...
Read full report at HuffPost