A Letter to North Bay Constituents

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dear friend,

This month’s wildfires and Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) multiple Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) have been extraordinarily challenging for North Bay communities. During this unprecedented crisis, I have met with many of you at evacuation or community resource centers and have been inspired by your resilience.

As we continue to see the impacts of the global climate crisis on our daily lives, there are important resources available to help keep you and your loved ones safe during this or any future disaster event.

This week, the State of California created a one stop website for you to learn about wildfire incidents, evacuation orders, open shelters in your area, air quality alerts, transportation impacts, local resources and preparedness information to help you better prepare for the unknown. Please visit: https://response.ca.gov/ to learn more about this important resource. It is also a good time for your family to better plan for future disasters by having a family evacuation kit ready in the event you need to be evacuated from your home. We can’t know when the next disaster will impact us, but we can be prepared. 

It is also important to take a moment to thank the selfless and heroic work of the thousands of first responders from our community and across the nation that are working around the clock to stop these wildfires and helping to return power to our homes, schools and businesses. In my visits to evacuation centers and firefighting deployment sites, these brave men and women are risking their lives on very little sleep to keep our community safe. On behalf of residents across a grateful North Bay, thank you!

Our personal preparedness lies in stark contrast to the ill prepared and incompetent actions by PG&E this month. PG&E’s crisis of leadership is harming families and businesses throughout the state. There are many questions that need to be answered and I applaud CPUC President Marybel Batjer’s work to begin a thorough investigation of PG&E immediately. Forcing millions of Californians to live in the dark is not a solution to PG&E’s neglect. We must do more to hold PG&E accountable for their actions.

This week, as PG&E began its second PSPS, forcing millions of Californians into darkness without power, I announced urgency legislation to authorize the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to temporarily appoint a Public Administrator to oversee the management of PG&E. I plan to introduce the legislation when the legislature reconvenes in January 2020.

Under my proposal, the CPUC would establish a test to determine if a Public Administrator should be appointed to oversee PG&E. The test would include an analysis of PG&E’s financial health, the reliability of the utility’s infrastructure and its safety record. The Public Administrator would be authorized to work with PG&E leadership and make decisions necessary to restore critical infrastructure, ensure that proper safety protocols are followed and increase public confidence in the utility. Once the CPUC is able to determine that PG&E has complied with these financial, infrastructure and safety requirements, full management responsibilities would be returned to PG&E. 

In every possible way, PG&E has failed the people of California by neglecting its responsibilities for decades and prioritizing profits over public safety. We cannot allow PG&E’s poor leadership to continue to harm California residents or our state’s economy which is more and more dependent upon a clean, safe and reliable supply of electricity. We need a responsible adult in the room to right PG&E’s wrongs. My proposal to create a Public Administrator for PG&E will help this utility refocus its priorities on safety and increase needed public confidence in this essential public utility service.

I look forward to your feedback on how we can work together to bring accountability to PG&E, how we can more safely deliver clean, renewable energy throughout the North Bay and how we can better prepare our community for the next disaster.

Feel free to reply to this email or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @AsmMarcLevine with your feedback and suggestions.

The people of Marin and Sonoma counties are strong. We will get through this current series of blackouts and wildfires. I thank you for your efforts to keep our communities resilient now and into the future.