Green public power for San Francisco clears major hurdle 

click to enlarge San Francisco's Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to move forward with CleanPowerSF, a public power option derived completely from renewable sources. (AP file photo) - SAN FRANCISCO'S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL VOTE ON WHETHER TO MOVE FORWARD WITH CLEANPOWERSF, A PUBLIC POWER OPTION DERIVED COMPLETELY FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES. (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • San Francisco's Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to move forward with CleanPowerSF, a public power option derived completely from renewable sources. (AP file photo)
  • San Francisco's Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to move forward with CleanPowerSF, a public power option derived completely from renewable sources. (AP file photo)

The City’s ambitious plan to offer residents greener power than PG&E took a significant step forward Tuesday.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission approved a term sheet Tuesday with Shell Energy North America to run CleanPowerSF, The City’s proposed public power program, and next week Supervisor David Campos will introduce it to the Board of Supervisors.

CleanPowerSF would offer consumers the choice of paying extra for electricity derived from 100 percent renewable sources instead of from PG&E, which gathers about 16 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

For the average residential customer, monthly bills will increase by $7 to $15. Those customers would automatically be enrolled in CleanPowerSF and they would have to opt out to go back to PG&E. Originally, the program was going to meet or beat PG&E rates.

“Based on market research, we think there’s a significant number of folks in The City that really want to put their money where their mouth is and are willing to pay a little bit more for more renewable energy,” said Michael Campbell, director of CleanPowerSF.

The program launch would cost The City $19.5 million, which includes a $15 million payout to Shell if the program is terminated before the 4½-year contract expires. And $4 million would sit in a reserve account to “mitigate potential
program risks.”

The launch is set for July 2012, if the program is approved.

Past versions of the proposal faced criticism over consumer costs and financial risks to The City.

“We have put together what we believe are the best terms possible right now,” said Campos.

A board committee is expected to hold its first hearing on the term sheet in early November.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

Energy costs

Possible rates and breakdown of usage under CleanPowerSF:

Residential customers Average monthly kilowatt usage Average PG&E cost CleanPowerSF premium
43% 138 $39.95 $7
10% 288 $92.18 $16
15% 406 $147.96 $23
8% 606 $264.59 $34
4% 1,122 $590.88 $64
18% 351 $53.00 $13

Source: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

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