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River Islands power rates 5 percent below PG&E
Acting city manager video seeks to assure residents all is well
Dennis Wyatt
Dennis Wyatt

You don’t have to go far to debunk PG&E’s assertion that a move by the state to break up the nation’s largest utility into smaller publically-owned components would be prohibitively expensive as well as impossible to pull off in terms of providing actual service.

Lathrop Irrigation District that is currently serving 1,050 households  is already offering more reliable service than PG&E at rates 5 percent below what the for-profit customers are paying north of the San Joaquin River in Lathrop as well as Manteca.

And while PG&E CEO Bill Johnson likes to imply public agencies such as South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) lack the competency to run their own retail distribution system due to their size and available expertise, guess who Lathrop Irrigation District contracted with to set up their retail system and to operate it initially? It was SSJID.

Should SSJID succeed at acquiring the retail distribution system for Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon they will lower rates for 46,000 electrical initially customers by 15 percent.

The decision by Cambay Group — the developers of the 11,000-home planned River Islands community – to bankroll Lathrop Irrigation District setting up its own retail electric system was driven by how California Public Utilities Commission rules that give PG&E a protected monopoly helps to drive up the price of housing.

Developers are required to put in underground power lines serving their development and turn the infrastructure au gratis over to PG&E. They also pay for all connection costs to the PG&E system. On top of that they also must pay PG&E 35 percent of the value of the improvements they made and give to the for-profit utility to cover PG&E’s federal and state corporate tax liability. That’s because the gift of assets is taxed like net revenue or profits. 

PG&E, thanks to generous federal tax credits that were designed to encourage utilities to replace aging and failing infrastructure such as the equipment that failed last year near Paradise to spark a fire that killed 85 people and destroyed 20,000 structures including 14,000 homes has not paid federal income taxes for 10 consecutive years.

The CPUC allows PG&E to pocket what money developers are forced to pay them to cover their tax bill that they don’t spend on taxes. The money is a profit center for PG&E that they use to pay fatter dividends, pay six figure corporate suite bonuses, and  funnel money back to Wall Street hedge funds.

That means for every $10 million Cambay Group spends on electrical infrastructure they avoid spending $3.5 million for PG&E taxes that end up being pure profit for PG&E.

If it costs $100,000 to put in just the underground power lines and nothing else for 100 homes, that reduces the cost per home by $3,500. 

PG&E isn’t only a threat to human life and property but you could argue they are a contributing factor to higher housing costs.

SSJID as a government agency like Lathrop Irrigation District pays no taxes so therefore there is no need to make them whole.

Acting city manager:

Everything is going just

fine in City of Manteca

In a first for Manteca, the city manager has posted a video on the city’s website and Facebook page for city residents.

Acting City Manager Miranda Lutzow said she did so to reassure citizens competent people are running the city in light of two thirds of the senior management team either on administrative leave, having been fired or opted to get out when the going was good.

Lutzow has constantly stressed a need for transparency in the two months she’s been handling the city manager’s job will an outside investigator looks into concerns about City Manager Tim Ogden while he is on paid administrative leave.

In the video she explains correctly that laws governing employee rights prevent her — or any other city official — than sharing much more than a posting that indicated who is now running the city.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email