Source: 209 Politics
A new bill would move the office of California’s powerful public utilities regulator to Stockton and encourage the selection of commissioners from the Central Valley. The bill’s author, Asm. Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton), says that it could create as many as 1,000 jobs in the Stockton region.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which is currently located in San Francisco, oversees the state’s natural gas, telecommunications, water, and power utilities like PG&E. The agency also has field offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
AB 1471, was introduced by Villapudua in mid-February. Apart from moving the commission’s office to Stockton, the bill would advise the Governor to choose commissioners with a permanent residence in Northern California, Southern California and the Central Valley. The five members of CPUC, who serve six-year terms, also have to be confirmed by the State Senate.
In an interview with 209 Politics, Villapudua cited that roughly two-thirds of the agency’s members since 2005 have come from the Bay Area, with not a single person from the Central Valley or a rural or disadvantaged community. He said that part of the goal of AB 1471 is to regionally diversify the commission.
However, the bill would not mandate, just recommend, that commissioners come from different areas.
As for jobs, Villapudua explained that moving the office would make things easier for energy workers making the commute to San Francisco and the Bay Area. “We’ll be getting up and relocating folks that have already been driving from here to there. Now, they don’t have to be in traffic,” he said.
Villapudua also said that moving the CPUC office would help keep young people in the Stockton region. “We want to make sure that when our youngsters go away [to school], that there’s jobs there for them to come back to. That’s why we feel that moving the headquarters from San Francisco to Stockton makes perfect sense,” he said.