Power program given jolt before critical date 

A contract between The City and an energy provider to set up a new power program is expected within two weeks — just before Californians head to the ballot to vote on a measure that could slow the proposal.

City officials working toward inking a contract for CleanPowerSF, otherwise known as Community Choice Aggregation, before June 8. That is when voters will decide the outcome of Proposition 16, a statewide measure placed on the ballot by PG&E that would require two-thirds approval before municipalities spend public funds to set up a power program.

The announcement a term sheet was agreed upon between The City and Power Choice LLC and that a contract was coming soon is a major step forward in the effort to establish CleanPowerSF.

“We expect to bring a contract to all the different approving agencies and their advisors before June 8th,” Ed Harrington, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said Friday during a Local Agency Formation Commission meeting.

In April, Harrington’s testimony before LAFCO left the impression that a contract with Power Choice was nearly out of reach.

But on Friday, Harrington assured Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who chairs LAFCO, that it will be done by early June. “We fully expect to meet your deadlines,” he said.

Harrington has been in negotiations with Power Choice LLC since February.

Opponents say The City should not enter into the energy business and that the rates are going to be too expensive.

The customer rates remain unknown. Harrington previously said he was having a challenging time achieving “competitive” ones with an acceptable clean energy portfolio. The program has a goal of 51 percent renewable energy by 2017. 

The City’s effort to try and have a contract before the June election was criticized by Prop. 16 supporters.

“Opponents have used every opportunity to try and go around the voters. It’s not surprising,” said Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for the Yes on Prop. 16 campaign.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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Monday, Sep 15, 2014

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