Mirkarimi to PG&E: We want our $46 million back

Ross Mirkarimi isn't gonna take it anymore.
Photo by Luke Thomas

Speaking at the June 15 Board of Supervisors meeting, Sup. Ross Mirkarimi introduced a non-binding resolution calling on Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to refund ratepayers for the $46 million it spent on a failed bid to pass Proposition 16, a ballot initiative dubbed the “Taxpayer’s Right to Vote Act” that would have impeded the creation of municipal electricity programs.

While PG&E has publicly stated that its campaign costs were covered by “shareholder funds,” the sole source of income for the parent corporation is money that the utility makes selling electricity, so the $46 million originated in ratepayers’ pockets.

At the meeting, Mirkarimi displayed a map of PG&E’s service territory beside a map of the California counties that rejected Prop 16, highlighting the striking similarity. In San Francisco, Prop 16 was rejected by more than two-thirds of the vote.

Mirkarimi's resolution included several other improbable requests. He extended an invitation to PG&E CEO Peter Darbee to attend a Board of Supervisors meeting, to “discuss what it really and truly means to peacefully coexist,” he explained. “We look forward to Mr. Darbee coming to meet with us.”

The third aspect of the resolution deals with SFERS, San Francisco’s employment retirement system, which owns 106,348 shares of PG&E common stock valued at $4.38 million on the day the information was accessed. Institutional investors such as CalPERS and SFERS account for more than a 60 percent share of ownership of PG&E, according to the resolution.

Mirkarimi is calling on PG&E to refund SFERS, and “urges CALPERS and SFERS to consider divesting its holdings in PG&E stock” if the company refuses.

The resolution also asks the California Public Utilities Commission to carefully scrutinize PG&E’s requested rate hike.

PG&E didn't return our requests for comment the last 10 times we called, but we tried again -- even though the result is predictable.