Pacific Gas and Electric Company is a big backer of the initiative. Nancy McFadden is PG&E’s senior vice-president. She says taxpayers should have a larger say when local governments enter the power business.
“Running a utility business is no simple undertaking. From safety to reliability to cost volatility the stakes are high. It’s reasonable that local governments should be accountable to satisfy voters that they have the right expertise and the right plan to deliver on.”
But opponents say the utility is just trying to block competition. Shawn Marshall is a board member with the Marin Energy Authority, a PG&E competitor north of San Francisco. She calls Prop 16 an “exploitation of democracy.”
“It is often called ‘PG&E’s Monopoly Protection Act.’ In my opinion, it is the worst kind of ballot-box budgeting we’ve seen in California for years.”
Prop-16 would change the state constitution to require a two-thirds vote before local governments can use taxpayer funds to create or expand publicly owned utilities.