Governor Newsom Signs SB 350, Safeguarding Ratepayers and California If PG&E Fails to Transform

Office of State Senator Jerry Hill
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Wonho Kim

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 350 on Tuesday June 30, the legislation by Senator Jerry Hill that provides California with a failsafe if PG&E does not exit bankruptcy, or if the utility falls short of achieving the reforms in practices and operations that have been required by law.

“California must have a backstop in place to protect ratepayers and our state if PG&E does not meet the strict requirements for emerging from bankruptcy and for becoming a safe, reliable and sustainable energy provider,” said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

Senator Hill has worked to hold PG&E accountable and reform the utility – and the state’s oversight of the utility – for nearly a decade, since the rupture of a PG&E natural gas pipeline triggered an explosion and fire that killed eight people, injured 58 others and leveled a San Bruno neighborhood in September 2010.

“My thanks go to Governor Newsom and to Senators Bill Dodd and Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Chris Holden, the coauthors of SB 350, for sharing the vision of a transformed PG&E,” said Senator Hill. “I also thank the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature for supporting measures to safeguard California and PG&E customers. SB 350 isn’t a bill we want, but it is a bill we need.”

SB 350 authorizes the creation of a new entity, Golden State Energy, as a nonprofit public benefit corporation, which would step in and take over if PG&E fails to emerge from bankruptcy or if the utility does not transform as required by Assembly Bill 1054, the legislation by Assemblymember Holden that Governor Newsom signed into law in 2019.

The Senate passed SB 350 with a 30-8 vote on Monday. Earlier this month, the Assembly voted 57-17 to pass the legislation. The new law takes effect January 1, 2021.