California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came
California Governor Jerry Brown (left) and PG&E CEO Peter Darronis talk on March 10 at their company’s corporate headquarters in Redwood City. (Los Angeles Times)
For months, California’s gas-fueled economy has come to a grinding halt.
So it’s no surprise that the governor and the company president would meet Friday to explore a solution:
• For months, the governor and the company president, Peter Darronis, have been in negotiations that have gone nowhere for more than a year now.
• The company’s share price has remained stable.
• The company’s executives have made excuses for the lack of progress, saying they had only “a few thoughts” and no concrete plan.
• The state Department of Water Resources has repeatedly warned about spikes in gas prices that could lead to a shortage of gas in the state.
They met Friday afternoon at the PG&E company headquarters in Redwood City, as the governor talked for a third time to a union that has helped him raise his gas-price issue.
Brown told Darronis that the state’s grid operator, the California Independent System Operator, warned him last month that the gas lines in the state’s northern and central deserts “have reached a dangerous and potentially catastrophic level of stress.”
“My own staff has been warning me for months that there are serious problems on the system,” Brown said. “I’ve looked at our alternative fuels, and we’re talking about alternatives of all kinds. None of these have been developed.”
A PG&E spokesman, Matt Seyler, said that the company has no plans to reduce its current level of production at its Colmer and Carrizo vineyards.
“We’re disappointed with the governor’s comments today,” Seyler said Friday. “We have been moving forward and we’re not going to change our business.”
PG&E is not alone in its predicament. Nearly every major manufacturer and supplier, including automakers, has cut back on output in response to sharply higher gas prices.