Pacific Gas & Electric is serious about changing its corporate culture, according to PG&E?s top brass. Chief executive officer Peter Darbee?s recent presentations to the financial community playing up the utility?s transformation into a less obdurate, more user-friendly utility are being followed up this week with overtures to employees who are somewhat skeptical about the touted change, according to Dan Richard, PG&E senior vice-president, public affairs. PG&E wants to be perceived as a less arrogant institution?one that is open to change and that can efficiently meet its customers? needs. ?We don?t want to be a 1950s-style monopoly,? Richard said during the Power Association of Northern California?s April 12 conference. Richard said, for instance, that distributed-generation project interconnections should be easier, and that the utility should work with, not against, its overseers. ?It?s not good business to be at war with regulators and political leaders,? he said. One way to shed some of its rough exterior is to be the conduit for social programs. One example is moving ahead with the California Public Utilities Commission?s recent decision allowing utilities to administer energy-efficiency programs (<i>Circuit<\/i>, Jan. 28, 2005). Richard said that it?s good for utilities to use their quasi-governmental functions to carry out policy. ?Utilities are like government in drag,? he quipped. Richard appears ever-hopeful that PG&E will be able to change the way it is viewed by customers, politicians, and regulators. When he joined the utility in 1997, he vowed change. ?This is not your father?s Buick,? he said eight years ago. The utility needs to convince not only its 20,200 employees but also its 8.5 million customers. Richard said that PG&E serves 1 out of every 20 utility customers in the entire nation.