Mayor Swearengin, City Council:  California PUCShould Act Promptly on PG&E Rate Proposal

FRESNO – Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Fresno City Council today urged the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to act promptly on a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) proposal for an enhanced economic development rate that would provide significant benefits for the region.

City Council today passed a resolution advanced by Councilmember Larry Westerlund expressing support for the enhanced economic development rate and urging its approval and implementation.

“I want to thank Councilmember Westerlund and the entire City Council for making this strong statement about the urgent need for the CPUC to act as quickly as possible on the PG&E proposal,” Mayor Swearengin said. “Energy costs play a critical role in business location decisions. This rate would be a powerful incentive to help us attract and retain a wide range of businesses that are now reluctant to invest here because of our high energy costs.”

“I am very excited about the Enhanced Economic Development Rate,” Councilman Westerlund said. “This rate has the potential to make a real difference in our economic development efforts and makes Fresno more attractive for businesses to relocate to our city as well as benefit the businesses that are already here.”

“We are grateful to Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen and City Council of Fresno for their strong support of PG&E’s proposed economic development rate,” said Thomas Bottorff, Senior Vice President for Regulatory Relations at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. “With the support of our communities and local governments, this effort will help create and retain jobs in California by offering creative incentives that will enhance our state’s competitiveness as a place to do business.”

PG&E earlier this year asked state regulators for the right to offer a competitive electric rate to attract employers to California and convince other employers already in the state to maintain or expand their operations rather than leave. To be eligible for the rate, existing businesses need to be actively pursuing out of state locations or would otherwise close.

For counties in PG&E’s service area with unemployment rates at least 25 percent higher than the state average, the proposed economic development rate would create a significant rate reduction. Eligible businesses would receive 35 percent off electric rates for five years.

It is anticipated that food processing companies and other heavy industrial and commercial users looking to expand or locate to Fresno would have access to such a rate if approved by the PUC.

The City of Fresno encouraged a coalition of 40 cities and counties to support the effort. In addition, dozens of community and business groups, individuals and business owners throughout the state have provided support for the proposal.

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