Ever since PG&E came under suspicion of causing the deadliest wildfire in California history last fall, critics have savaged the utility giant over social media using the hashtag #PGE.
Portland General Electric would rather they didn’t.
Based 535 miles north of PG&E’s San Francisco headquarters, Portland General Electric has long referred to itself as PGE. It serves 875,000 customers in and around its namesake city, and its service area doesn’t touch California.
That hasn’t stopped the Twitterverse from taking the company’s initials in vain as people slam PG&E — owner of California’s largest utility — which filed for bankruptcy in January, facing up to $30 billion in wildfire liabilities. It’s a fair bet many have never heard of Portland General Electric.
“We’ve certainly noticed that,” said PGE spokesman Steve Corson, speaking of the misplaced criticism. “That lack of an ampersand makes a big difference around here.”
The confusion extends beyond social media.
Google “PGE,” and the first few hits will link to PG&E, not PGE. Plus, the web address of PG&E’s utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, is www.pge.com.
PG&E has configured its website so that anyone navigating to it from a computer in Oregon will see a message asking if they meant Portland General Electric instead.
“We appreciate that they did that,” Corson said.