Unprecedented Coalition of California Cities and Counties Calls on State Utilities Commission to Act and Pass Jobs Measure

FRESNO (September 12, 2013) – An unprecedented coalition of some 30 cities and 10 counties across central and northern California is urging the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve a proposal by PG&E to introduce two new discount electric rates designed to attract or keep jobs in the region and state.

The “Local Government Parties” coalition is specifically supporting the Enhanced Economic Development Rate (E-EDR) that is targeted at areas of high unemployment, such as the San Joaquin Valley and northern counties of California. A number of economic development, business and community groups also have offered their support.

The E-EDR will offer a rate reduction of up to 35 percent for five years for companies with power loads of at least 200 kilowatts that bring jobs to California or keep existing jobs here that otherwise would leave the state. The rate will be available in cities and counties in PG&E’s service area where unemployment is 25 percent higher than the state average.

“The Enhanced Economic Development rate would be extremely beneficial to one of the most economically disadvantaged regions in the nation,” Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said. “Cities and counties throughout Central and Northern California are having a hard time expanding businesses and recruiting businesses because power costs can be as much as two and a half times higher than the regions we compete with. This rate would give us much-needed relief that would play a critical role in the economic recovery of our communities.”

The "Local Government Parties" believe that if the discount reaches the full 35% off qualified customer bills, that will be effective enough to address the levels economic hardship felt throughout the San Joaquin Valley and northern counties of California.

“As California’s economy continues to gain momentum, considering new ways to address energy costs is critical to the Golden State’s long term growth,” said Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “I commend Central Valley leaders on their advocacy of this important issue of business competitiveness.”

The CPUC is expected to vote on the PG&E proposal at its Sept. 19 meeting in San Francisco. The “Local Government Parties” effort is considered the largest coalition of local governments ever to participate in a CPUC proceeding, and several mayors and supervisors will travel to CPUC’s meeting to press the case for approval of the rate.

Their message will be:

  • There are communities that are waiting to benefit from this proposal;
  • The incentives need to be significant and attractive enough to help the affected areas compete for jobs;
  • The CPUC should fulfill its economic development mandate and approve the measure as a tool to help make the affected areas competitive.

PG&E’s proposal also calls for a standard discount of 12 percent for the parts of its service territory not suffering from high unemployment.

PG&E’s proposal was written with input from local governments on what is most needed to support job creation. Here is a list of cities, counties and organizations that are supporting the PG&E proposal:

Counties – Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Shasta, Tehama, Yuba.
Cities – Atwater, Avenal, Chowchilla, Clovis, Coalinga, Colusa, Corning, Dinuba, Firebaugh, Fowler, Fresno, Huron, Kerman, Kingsburg, Lemoore, Live Oak, Livingston, Madera, Mendota, Merced, Orange Cove, Red Bluff, Reedley, San Joaquin, Sanger, Selma, Shafter, Stockton, Willows.

Organizations that provided a letter of support:

  • Fresno EDC
  • Kings EDC
  • Fresno Chamber of Commerce
  • San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Org
  • California League of Food Processors
  • CA Cities Latino Caucus and the Latino Coalition
  • CA Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley
  • Shasta EDC
  • 3CORE EDC (Chico)
  • State Center Community College District
  • Fresno COG
  • Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Kern EDC
  • Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board

Others who provided a letter of support:

  • U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Congressman Jim Costa
  • Former state Senator Michael Rubio
  • Assemblymember Henry T. Perea
  • Former state Senator Doug LaMalfa
  • State Senator Tom Berryhill
  • State Senator Anthony Cannella
  • State Senator Ted Gaines
  • Assemblymember Bill Berryhill
  • Assemblymember Kristen Olsen
  • Former Assemblymember Linda Halderman
  • Former Assemblymember David Valadao
  • Former Assemblymember Alyson Huber
  • Assemblymember Connie Conway
  • San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee