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Davis, California

Friday, July 30, 2021

Editorial: Prop 16

Among some of the major propositions on the ballot this June is Proposition 16.

Due to the logistical constraints of stringing power lines it’s impossible to allow multiple electricity providers to operate within a single district. Legal monopolies are therefore permitted. However, each local government currently decides which provider to use.

If passed, this proposition will require a public supermajority of 66 percent of voters to opt out of the current provider, previously chosen by the local government.

The proposition, also known as the “New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act,” is entirely funded and backed by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Enabling people to vote in this case seems logical. Supporters for the proposition even claim this will benefit the state, allowing taxpayers to determine the state’s financial decisions.

However, achieving a supermajority is no easy task. Two-thirds of a district is an overwhelming figure – it’s not called a supermajority for nothing. By requiring such a high threshold, it will limit competition by making it more difficult for communities to change providers.

The point of local government is to do what is best for the community. Citizens elect their local leaders to make decisions in their best interest.

Another possible negative outcome of this proposition is that areas such as San Francisco and Marin County, which are currently pursing solar energy projects, would have a harder time opting into these programs if they are forced to have PG&E.

Monopolies are necessary to effectively provide electricity, however competition amongst those monopolies should still be encouraged. That’s something that Prop 16 doesn’t do.

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