PG&E to spend up to $35M on ballot initiative 

PG&E Corp., owner of California’s largest utility, will spend $25 million to $35 million in 2010 on a statewide ballot initiative that would require two-thirds voter approval for local governments to enter the electricity business, a company spokesman said.

The effort will result in a charge of 6 cents to 9 cents a share this year, Brian Hertzog, company spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

Governments in San Francisco and the neighboring county of Marin are trying to bypass PG&E by purchasing wholesale electricity for residents under a state law created in 2002. The June ballot initiative is designed to protect its customers and taxpayers from these attempts, PG&E has said.

So far, PG&E has donated $6.5 million to the initiative and is the sole source of funding, state campaign records show.

Excluding costs related to the initiative, PG&E expects to earn $3.35 to $3.50 a share in 2010, the company said today in a statement. Analysts expect on average $3.40 a share in adjusted earnings for 2010, according to 15 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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