SACRAMENTO–Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), along with other local, state and federal elected officials have been meeting with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to get answers about transmission capacity issues in southern Humboldt County and on November 1, PG&E made a presentation to the Humboldt Board of Supervisors to respond to that issue.
“I did not hear the answers I was looking for,” said Wood. “We need business growth, more residential housing, including senior and student housing, and have to be ready for the massive offshore wind project, but it definitely appears that PG&E is not aligned with our local needs and plans.”
Members of the Board of Supervisors had questions for PG&E, as did members of the public, and the company reiterated its commitment to close the gap on delays in providing service, saying that they will reduce the wait times by two to four years.
“Although one could call that reduction in wait times admirable, many of these companies have already been issued ‘Will Serve’ letters that applicants thought meant that once their projects were complete, the switch would be turned on immediately,” Wood said. “Unfortunately, those letters may not even be worth the pieces of paper they’re written on.”
Businesses currently complete an application with PG&E, pay fees – often after they have invested significant resources and money to purchase property or facilities – and move forward on their projects while waiting for PG&E to issue a “Will Serve” letter. Before now, the issue of capacity was not a concern raised by PG&E or one applicants worried about.
“I want to know how we got to this point,” said Wood. “Why, for years, was everything business as usual and then all of a sudden we learn that PG&E cannot meet the capacity demands? Southern Humboldt County needs to grow and has solid plans to grow, but it seems that PG&E has the ability to pull the plug on those plans.”
“My staff and I are digging deep into this issue and I have plans to introduce legislation early next year to make this process work for our communities and will certainly clarify that “will serve” actually means something to the people and businesses working hard to grow our communities.”
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