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California’s Governor Gavin Newsom is starting to sound disturbingly more and more like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. (More on that in a moment.) As we recently discussed, Pacific Gas & Electric has continued to impose rounds of blackouts across “red flag” areas of the state under warnings of high winds and possible wildfires. This has many residents feeling rather angry and demanding that something is done. To the rescue rides Governor Newsom. He doesn’t want the aging power lines to cause any more fires but he also doesn’t want his voters upset over having their power cut off.
What to do with such a prickly situation? The answer is obvious. He’ll just get rid of PG&E. And the person to take care of that little chore would obviously be Warren Buffet because he could easily purchase the company that’s now in bankruptcy and facing hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in fines and lawsuits. (Sacramento Bee)
Calls to transition the troubled Pacific Gas and Electric Co. into a public utility intensified Sunday, as nearly 1 million customers lost power throughout California and the Kincade Fire blazed through Sonoma County.
A day earlier, Gov. Gavin Newsom told Bloomberg he would encourage Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to make a bid for PG&E.
“We would love to see that interest materialize, in a more proactive, public effort,” he said Saturday.
Berkshire Hathaway’s energy subsidiary is heavily invested in the utility business, in California and elsewhere. It owns multiple solar farms, including a 550-megawatt facility in San Luis Obispo County that is among the world’s larges
I’m not sure who should break this news to Governor Newsom. Perhaps one of our readers could volunteer. But the fact is that Warren Buffet is incredibly wealthy for a reason. He doesn’t pour his money down ratholes with no chance of showing a profit. It’s not his job to save California from its own folly. He’s probably already regretting the fact that his energy company is heavily invested in PG&E and taking massive hits on their shares as it is.
One bankruptcy law expert weighed in on the question after the Governor pitched the idea. He’s quoted as saying, “It feels a bit like longing for a savior when there isn’t an obvious solution or a cheap solution … there isn’t a white knight,” and it’s “crazy to think Berkshire has hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in safety without raising rates or taxes.”
For years the state was flushing all their money into “green solutions” and not paying attention to the power line problems in wildfire-prone areas. PG&E was also being pushed to invest in renewables and not taking care of power line maintenance. Now that some neglected power lines are causing fires, everyone is pointing fingers at each other. But PG&E can’t afford to leave the power on during windstorms and risk starting another fire and being hit will billions more in costs.
Does this sound like something Warren Buffet would want to invest in? It’s an invitation to bankruptcy. But Newsom wants to ditch PG&E, even though his state government bears a lot of responsibility for the problems they are now facing. Who else does that remind us of? Out in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo helped stop the construction of new natural gas pipelines into the state. Now their primary utility company, National Grid, can’t supply enough natural gas to meet the needs of a growing customer base. And what was Cuomo’s solution? To try to take away their license and get someone else to take responsibility for this disaster.
It’s almost as if these two governors of two very blue states are kissing cousins or something. At any rate, here’s the press conference where Newsom pitches this fantastic investment opportunity for Warren Buffet. Hopefully, Mr. Buffet has someone standing by in case he chokes while watching this trainwreck.