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Municipal Utility Initiative Can Gather Signatures

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has okayed an initiative for signature gathering that would create a statewide electric utility that's publicly owned.
 
Ben Davis, Jr. wants to create a statewide utility run by an elected board of directors. It would have the power to issue bonds and buy up the assets of the state's investor owned utilities, such as PG&E.

"Privately owned utilities are making too much money that should be staying in ratepayers' pockets," says Davis.
 
There are municipal utilities in cities like Sacramento, and they do charge lower rates.

Davis has to gather more than 500,000 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot, a task that requires a strong organization and deep pockets. Davis says he has neither.  

If the measure does make the ballot, it would surely face stiff opposition from PG&E and other investor owned utilities. A spokeswoman for PG&E says it would cost the state billions in taxes.

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