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PG&E Leaving San Francisco After 115 Years; Moving Headquarters To Oakland

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation announced Monday it is leaving its longtime headquarters in San Francisco, established more than 100 years ago, and moving across the bay to Oakland.

PG&E says the relocation is part of the ongoing efforts to reinvent itself after a series of deadly wildfires blamed on its equipment and to help reduce costs amid its bankruptcy plans.

PG&E expects the move to begin in 2022 and says it would ask the California Public Utilities Commission to return the net gain from the future sale of its 1920s-era building complex at 77 Beale St. and 245 Market St. in San Francisco to its customers. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The company will be moving into the 28-story Kaiser Center office tower on Lake Merritt in Oakland. The company says it envisions "better and more efficient use of space" with more flexibility to position workspaces in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our new Oakland headquarters will be significantly more cost-effective, is better suited to the needs of our business, and is a critical part of fulfilling our commitment to operate in a fiscally responsible way that will enable us to achieve our operational and safety goals," said incoming Interim CEO Bill Smith in a prepared statement. "Savings from lower headquarters costs will tangibly benefit our customers financially. The move will also bring our employees together in new and better ways in service to our customers."

PG&E is purging most of its board of directors to start with a mostly clean slate when it emerges from a bankruptcy case triggered by deadly wildfires ignited in Northern California by the utility's neglected electrical grid.

The board departures include CEO Bill Johnson, who recently disclosed his plan to surrender the reins after just 14 months on the job.

The company filed for bankruptcy two months after the November 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County which killed 85 people, the latest in a series of Northern California wildfires blamed on PG&E. The bankruptcy plan still needs to be approved by a judge

"PG&E has been a steadfast partner for decades to the Oakland Chamber as well as many other civic and community organizations. Their commitment to 'The Town' is deep, and we applaud their decision to go all in for Oakland," said Barbara Leslie, President and CEO of the Oakland Metro Chamber.

"We are thrilled to hear that PG&E will be joining us here in Oakland. We need strong corporate partners to help advance our mission, and we have every confidence PG&E will continue do just that as a member of our community," said Regina Jackson, President and CEO of East Oakland Youth Development Center.

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