CHICAGO — At a conference of national, state and local Latino appointed and elected officials, PG&E’s head of electric operations said Friday (June 28) that investing in infrastructure is critical to the continued economic recovery and growth of America’s cities and states.
“The indisputable truth is that America has an aging infrastructure,” said Geisha Williams, PG&E’s executive vice president of electric operations, at the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO).
California State Senator and NALEO President Alex Padilla introduced Williams at the conference where Latino policymakers meet with their colleagues from all levels of government to discuss the country’s most pressing policy issues.
Williams called it a key moment in time as much of America’s critical infrastructure is or will be due for upgrade and replacement in the coming years.
Close to home, she described PG&E’s proposed capital investments to upgrade its system — between $4.5 billion and $6 billion per year over the next several years. That investment is expected to support as many as 30,000 jobs.
She provided several examples of PG&E’s work with the communities it serves to upgrade its infrastructure. One is the announcement earlier this year from Tony Earley, PG&E chairman, CEO and president, along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, when they introduced a five-year, $1.2 billion investment to improve the city’s gas and electric infrastructure.
The work includes upgrading electric lines and substations, improving reliability and undertaking major transmission and gas projects. Williams pointed to PG&E’s collaboration with the city of San Francisco, other utilities and businesses to beautify neighborhoods as critical to the success of the program.
In the heart of the South of Market neighborhood, PG&E is improving the area around its 1940s-era Mission substation while modernizing the facility. New fencing will be installed, along with lighting and security around the substation, as well as streetscape improvements.
“It’s been an outstanding partnership that has helped us to understand the needs of the community more than ever,” she said. “It’s not just about upgrading the electric infrastructure within Mission Substation, but doing it in a way that is compatible with the thriving community it serves”.
Other panelist discussing the need to focus on infrastructure were White House Special Assistant Heather Zichal, the deputy assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Casey Dinges, senior managing director for the American Society of Civil Engineers.