One thing I wish I’d gotten to dig into further before the election is Proposition H in California. (Our own Sara Barz covered it briefly in this post.)

The renewable mandates aren’t what interest me — it’s more the question of making PG&E a public utility.

I’m told by a friend in San Fran that this is the latest battle in a long, long war over public utilities. Apparently the act that created Hetch Hetchy also granted San Fran public power, but it was never enforced.

Now PG&E is spending something like $10 million fighting Prop H, and they’ve got San Fran power brokers like mayor Gavin Newsom on their side.

Does public power work? My San Fran friend says yes, and points to SMUD as evidence. Then again, there’s a broad coalition fighting H, saying public power will mean higher prices, worse service, etc.

Here’s the Yes on H page. Here’s the No on H page. [UPDATE: Oops! That’s the wrong No on H page, against a Prop H from 2005. The right No on H page is here: Stop the Blank Check.]

As you can tell, I’m basically ignorant on this, and would love feedback from all you smart Grist readers. Educate me. Perhaps I’ll dig into it more post-election.

UPDATE: An ingenious Yes on H video: