By Leonard Anderson and Matt Heitner
PG&E Corporation’s Peter Darbee, who retired on April 30 after six years as Chairman, CEO and President, thanked employees last week for their service and support and called on them to continue to work toward the company’s goal of becoming the leading utility in the United States.
In informal gatherings at power plants, service centers and utility offices throughout the service territory, Darbee reviewed some of the initiatives under way to move the company forward.
Darbee emphasized acting in accordance with PG&E’s values as the starting point to guide the company, stressed the importance of leadership throughout the utility’s ranks and asked employees to continue to strive for an improved safety performance, at work, at home, and for the public.
“Safety is the foundation for all of PG&E’s operations,” Darbee told Currents while visiting a PG&E office in San Ramon. “To restore our credibility with our customers, we have to prove to them, our regulators and other stakeholders that PG&E’s gas and electric systems are going to set the standard for safety and reliability in our industry.”
Darbee asked employees to offer their support for Chris Johns, who continues as president of utility unit Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Johns has publicly stated that he will remain in his current position.
Throughout Darbee’s visits to Fresno, San Luis Obispo and elsewhere, PG&E employees asked him about a number of issues, including his post-retirement plans, the selection process for a new chairman and CEO, the importance of investing in PG&E’s infrastructure and its position as an industry leader on environmental and sustainability issues.
Speaking about PG&E’s push for more clean generation, Darbee said that “solar will be big, as will hydro power and Diablo Canyon. I have no doubt that PG&E will continue as an environmental leader in our industry.”
As he did in his farewell address to employees, Darbee stressed the importance of providing a positive experience for PG&E’s customers and giving back to the communities PG&E serves, saying he plans to involve himself in not-for-profit work in the coming months.
Since his appointment as CEO in 2005, Darbee became the most active chief executive in PG&E’s history, visiting power plants and other facilities throughout PG&E’s service area of 70,000 square miles. As it was last week, his emphasis when visiting employees has been on living PG&E’s values and doing what’s right for the company’s customers.
“It is PG&E’s privilege to serve 15 million Californians,” Darbee told Currents. “Our employees understand the responsibility that comes with that privilege, which is why I’m confident in PG&E’s direction and future success.”