Saturday, August 19, 2023

Could San Jose get their own utility instead of PG&E?

It's a longshot, but plans are brewing for San Jose to potentially build their own power utility to replace PG&E. A theoretical "San Jose Power" would access a new underground transmission line that will expand the amount of power going to San Jose and is expected to be built by 2028.

While there are risks, the benefits could be significant. Just look at our neighbor Santa Clara that owns and operates their own electrical utility--Silicon Valley Power. Their electrical rates are far below PG&E and among the lowest in the state, uptime is incredible with power outages being extremely rare, AND it is still generating revenue for the city of Santa Clara. Not only that, Silicon Valley Power has had a few unintended benefits such as attracting data centers and businesses with cheap electricity and miles of dark fiber optic connections that were added along the utility's right-of-way.

There are downsides. Running a utility is a very different skill than a government and some skeptics will question whether San Jose is able to pull it off. Of course PG&E will want to shut down this idea as quickly as possible. Perhaps there is another option like partnering with Silicon Valley Power instead of reinventing the wheel for San Jose. If the end goal is to build a better service for San Jose at a lower cost and with higher uptime, they have already achieved that and perhaps there is a way to scale their success to San Jose.

Source: The Merc

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