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California must Launch Hostile Takeover of PG&E

PG&E is an academy for accidental arsonists. It’s gotta go. What we need to do in California is launch a hostile takeover, just like Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

Stockholders, executives and banks are making a killing on private utilities, who have you by the bulbs. There’s only one line that goes into your house. The idea that there can be a free market in electricity is a fantasy. That’s why public utilities must be publicly owned.

PG&E stock is in the toilet. It’s worth $5 a share and it’s burning down to zero, as the Wall Street Journal says. If you add up all the shares, it’s less than $3 billion. So rather than buying their lines at a high price, and still being plugged into their crazy dangerous system, you buy the whole shebang for less than $3 billion.

Now, you have to add a second hammer, and this is the second hammer that worked in Long Island when we took over a giant power company which serves an area bigger than San Francisco in terms of population and size. We cut the rates, we increased the liabilities, we turned the lights back on, and we made it a safer system — but we also filed charges against the company, a civil case for the damage that they created and the lies that they told.

And if you’re wondering about PG&E lies, let’s put it this way; currently in Sonoma, there’s the big Kincade Fire. According to terrific investigative reporting by the Wall Street Journal, this fire was caused by a snap jumper cable on the Geysers electric line, which PG&E said two years ago they would fix by April of this year. It’s October, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s still busted, and it set Sonoma County on fire — 93,000 people have just been evacuated from their homes!

So we need the state itself and the local governments to file massive fraud and racketeering cases. The evidence of mass and greedy negligence is screaming at you, it’s literally burning in front of your face.
It’s not just incompetence. It costs a lot of money to fix your infrastructure, to make it so it doesn’t kill your customers. The Kincade Fire started because PG&E did not repair a line they said would be repaired by April.

We need a full listing of all vulnerable infrastructure and the immediate placement of meteorological sensors, as used by the DWP in Los Angeles, to have a more accurate measure of where and when vulnerabilities require outages.

The bankruptcy court should appoint the former PG&E engineers working with the City of San Jose as trustees to oversee the renegade utility. Bondholders, such as Paul “The Vulture” Singer, should not be receiving interest during this life-threatening emergency. Funds should be diverted to saving lives, not speculators.

And I say this as an expert hired by state Attorneys General to investigate power and gas company-caused deaths.

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman

Palast is currently working on a new documentary Long Knife, exposing the Koch Brothers' theft of Osage oil, to be released in 2024.

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