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Rocklin City Council considers breaking away from PG&E

The City of Rocklin is exploring other options after last year's PG&E power shutoffs.

ROCKLIN, Calif. — Now that we’re out of peak fire season, cities across the state are talking about how to prepare for next season.

For many that includes discussion of PG&E power shutoffs. There’s a growing list of cities and counties looking to possibly leave Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

Last year’s power shutoffs had brutal impacts on huge portions of California, leaving communities frustrated.

In September, an idea was proposed to the Rocklin City Council to look at other alternatives so that customers could get lower rates.

It didn’t get a majority vote then. But that was before the PG&E power shutoffs.

For Rocklin city leaders, those shutoffs may have been a turning point.

“I think our residents are upset and concerned enough about PG&E for a variety of reasons,” one councilmember said at December’s Rocklin City Council meeting, “I think they would want us to do something that had some Rocklin specificity to it.”

Councilmembers said they’re keeping an eye on what the neighboring city of Lincoln is doing.

Council members there have hired a consultant to help them explore alternatives to PG&E. The other neighboring city of Rocklin, Roseville, has been shielded from shutoffs entirely.

“We’ve been operating a locally owned not-for-profit utility for over a hundred years” said Shawn Matchim, Roseville’s assistant electric utility director.

Matchim said they are aware that other cities have been looking to separate from PG&E and possibly tap into Roseville’s grid.

“It is a heavy lift to try to pursue alternative energy service providers to some of our neighboring jurisdictions,” Matchim said. “But I think the concept and the benefit long term is: have local control, lower electric rates and higher reliability.”

In pursuit of that, the City of Rocklin said it will work to set up meetings with Lincoln and its consultant to explore options for possible independence from PG&E.

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