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Posted by: thepinetree on 10/30/2019 12:17 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 10/30/2019 08:55 AM
Expires: 01/01/2024 12:00 AM

Three Words Sum Up the Soon End of PG&E, Technological Determinism & Goodwill ~ by John Hamilton

Arnold, CA....Over the last few days one question has consumed us during the PSPS Outages & Kincade Fire debacles. Can PG&E survive this? No matter how we did our calculations financial, marketplace and political the answer was always no. We believe the highest revenue point PG&E will ever have was this past summer and over the next year of so they could and probably will lose a significant portion of their revenue.

How possibly could a monopoly lose revenue when overall electricity consumption will only increase in the future? Three words, Technological Determinism & Goodwill or more accurately a complete lack thereof.

Lets start with the last word first, goodwill. Does anyone and this includes the current top management brought in to shepherd the utility during bankruptcy really think PG&E deserves to live or will live on?

Probably not as starting with the deadly San Bruno gas explosion in 2010 the last few years has been a steady drum beat of bad news culminating with last year's Camp Fire. The numerous other incidents included the Butte Fire that destroyed over 500 homes in our backyard. I doubt that even the majority of PG&E employees believe PG&E has a future.

PG&E is not solely to blame for vegetation too close to lines but at this point that probably doesn't even matter anymore. The probable start of the Kincade Fire in an area that was already in a PSPS Outage was so damaging to what was left of company goodwill that it makes any protestations of competency by PG&E seem like satire.

When the caretaker CEO last week stated that we may have 10 years of PSPS events ahead of us no one mistook him for a Steve Jobs like figure rallying the troops to return PG&E to former glory.

His performance was so poor it actually started conspiracy theories that he was talking down the stock on purpose and that he has a secret plan to profit on the company's demise.

At the very least he came across unmistakably as someone who is only there to collect his $2.5 million a year as long as he can and then retire to a tropical clime. If the CEO can't convince the public or even himself that his company has a future then it probably doesn't have one.

Now to the public and business customers...will any business customer ever trust PG&E in the future to be a reliable partner for their business or even their home needs? The PSPS Outage events with billions in lost business revenue, employees with lost wages, perishable inventory in warehouses, stores, restaurants and home freezers that will have to be thrown away answers that question.

Basically residential, business & even governmental customers will only be customer's of PG&E because they don't have a choice. They do have a choice now though on how much electricity they purchase from PG&E or if they have to rely on PG&E. That takes to the next words, Technological Determinism.

In the past the businesses and homes with solar panels on their roofs and at their businesses could be seen as the "Early Adopters" they did it to be on the cutting edge and lower cost but also in many cases to burnish a company's or their own "Green" bonafides. That is about to change.

Solar panels, energy storage and backup generators are going from the "Early Adopter" phase and passing "Mainstream" to an absolute business necessity.

The systems have also gotten much better the last decade and in most cases they can be managed from your smartphone. Some generators are almost silent and the quality of the electricity produced is utility grade.

Yes, the systems are a serious investment but if a system can ensure that your business, school or home can function regardless of what a utility company does the last few weeks have made the decision for you.

The bonus is the price per kilowatt in most cases is less than what PG&E has been charging you and certainly less than what PG&E will need to charge in the future to have any shot at exiting bankruptcy.

We checked in with a couple of companies that install backup generating systems to see if our demand hunch was valid. One was booked out till February of 2020 and the other was booked with confirmed orders through April of 2020. This was before this last weekend's PSPS events.

This is where PG&E's projected revenue goes into a free fall. PG&E will still have the same number of customers but now the number of Kilowatts sold to those customers plummets and in some cases PG&E will be paying their former customers.

Let's say PG&E after the PSPS Outage mess and possible Kincade Fire liability is $50 Billion in the hole. Currently electric rates in California are already about 40% higher than most other states.

Even if the CPUC granted them a 50% increase in electric rates (Which politically would be close to impossible) PG&E will be actually selling fewer and fewer Kilowatts.

So our hypothesis is that PG&E in it's current form has an almost zero chance of survival without a full government bailout and even then their revenue model is probably broken going forward.

Please PG&E management the writing is already on the wall. The economy of Northern California begs you to put the company assets up for sale and pull the ripcords on your golden parachutes and let someone else power California's future.

Comments - Make a comment
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pg&e demise
Posted on: 2019-10-30 07:22:43   By: Anonymous
Well said John. People need to face reality. Go solar or wind power if possible now.

[Reply ]

    Re: pg&e demise
    Posted on: 2019-10-30 08:50:28   By: Anonymous
    Very well put, how long can businesses and the general public go on like this, remember, our bad weather and high winds have just begun...

    [Reply ]

      Re: pg&e demise
      Posted on: 2019-10-30 09:28:45   By: Anonymous
      PG&E seems to think 10 years would be a reasonable amount of time for us to live with this.

      Anyone out there believe they could get this under control in 10 years?

      That's a laugh, right?

      And for the generator fans out there, how many generators is it reasonable to have to purchase in a lifetime to cover for the electrical service we've already paid for, 10 times over?

      [Reply ]

Posted on: 2019-10-30 11:21:54   By: Anonymous
Correct John! Thanks for the good article. PGE has gotten themselves and ultimately US in a huge mess - there is no shot term fix for this awful situation.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-10-30 11:27:03   By: Anonymous
Well our governor ran on the slogan "COURAGE FOR A CHANGE" why don't you buy PG&E like a hostile take over with those billions you've taxed us with, you know, your (I should say Our) Rainy Day Funds? Or is that being used for the illegals we have to take care of being a sanctuary state?

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2019-10-30 23:16:03   By: Anonymous
    Did anyone notice on the pg&e critweb map that Ca was the only state in the Union with outages?
    Way to go Ca. and pg&e - leading the nation in idiocracy AGAIN.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-10-30 13:16:29   By: Anonymous
I don’t think I can do another ten years of this or want to. Stopped by the resource tent in Arnold to charge my devices on the way down the hill; two of the workers there were openly discussing perhaps time to move to Oregon or Nevada.

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2019-10-31 08:51:09   By: Anonymous
    Nevada, Oregon, Arizona have become just like California in many ways. Do you think it is because California is moving there? If you want more of the same in short time, go right ahead and move there.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-10-30 13:21:54   By: Anonymous
Between the fires, lack of dependable PG&E service and the difficulty in obtaining home insurance, imagine this might put a dent in CA real estate sales.

[Reply ]

PGE Outagessss
Posted on: 2019-10-30 17:24:01   By: Anonymous
Thanks John, You have said it well. Keep on your Soap Box. I for one will listen.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-10-30 20:40:28   By: Anonymous
Thank you, John. Whether they listen or not, Calaveras is dying. You may be part of the narrative that dared to print that we had choices that got us here. Again, thank you for being a true community voice.

[Reply ]

Do not pay your bill
Posted on: 2019-10-30 21:46:21   By: Anonymous
Don’t pay PG&E
All they can do is turn the power off.
Send them to the poor house

[Reply ]

    Re: Do not pay your bill
    Posted on: 2019-10-31 08:57:39   By: Anonymous
    That is not practical until you have an alternate source of power to turn to. Since I have a generator I plan to run my led Christmas lights on it this year. If everyone who has a generator and puts up lights does the same it would cut into their earnings. Just running my Christmas lights every year was costing well over $100. Certainly, finding ways to cut what you pay them will help in their demise.

    [Reply ]

      Re: Do not pay your bill /\/\ LED lights
      Posted on: 2019-12-29 09:33:44   By: Anonymous
      I understand that LED lights don't use that much electricity?

      [Reply ]

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