California voters could be asked if they want to replace investor-owned electric companies with a statewide public power company under terms of a measure approved Friday for signature gathering.

Southen California Edison logo.
Southern California Edison, which supplies power throughout much of Southern California, along with other electric companies, would be replaced by a giant California Electrical Utility District if the measure makes it onto the November 2016 ballot and is approved by voters.

Southern California Edison officials declined comment, saying the company “does not comment on initiatives until they have qualified for the state ballot.”

A number of other utilities would also be replaced, including San Diego Gas & Electric and PG&E in Northern California.

The new public utility would be overseen by an 11-member board of directors with each member coming from a separate “ward” or district in the state. Each member of the board would be elected for four-year terms.

The new electricity district would be given “the power to acquire property, construct facilities necessary to supply electricity, set electricity rates, impose taxes and issue bonds.”

Top state financial officials, in their official statement, acknowledged the measure, if it ever became law, “would result in a substantial net change in state and local finances.” They did not provide additional details on the financial impact.

The measure will be placed on next year’s November ballot only if backers collect at least 365,880 valid signatures by April 26, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

— City News Service

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