Belmont counting on Yee’s legislation machine

Belmont leaders are hoping that state Sen. Leland Yee, who has jump-started several pieces of legislation in the Peninsula, will help with a number of city concerns, including renewable energy-source use.

Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, will meet with Belmont residents and leaders in a Saturday Town Hall meeting at 1 p.m. in Belmont City Hall.

“We’re making an effort to visit communities and councils, and so far they’ve already resulted in legislation,” said Yee spokesman Adam Keigwin. “So whatever it is that [residents] want to talk to him about, he’s interested in what their thoughts are and what their needs are.”

Recent Yee meetings have resulted in five new pieces of legislation across the Peninsula. Discussions with San Mateo officials led to the creation of Senate Bill 863 on issues having to do with the California Horse Racing Board, and communications with Burlingame government resulted in SB 279, which made illegal the selling of vehicles along California highways.

“I think he’s definitely aligning himself and ramping up his efforts to become a power player,” said Belmont Councilman Bill Dickenson. “I heard he’s been working on some renewable energy legislation, so I’ll be asking him about that.”

Last month, Yee and the Belmont City Council met to discuss goals for the coming fiscal year. At the top of Dickenson’s list was benefits for local cities who produce their own electricity through renewable means, known as “net-metering.”

PG&E does not offer net metering, which allows residents to be given credit for any excess energy they generate with solar panels or other renewable sources.

Excess power is fed back into the main power grid and the user is credited against any future power needs.

Dickenson said that new legislation would help Belmont and the rest of San Mateo County benefit from net-metering because it is currently difficult to get power companies to agree to the program.

PG&E spokeswoman Darlene Chiu said the system for crediting residents and businesses with power generation is too complicated for widespread use, so they would rather simply buy excess power from residents.

In addition to the senator, representatives from Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Employment Development Program will also be present.

All of Belmont is invited to the Town Hall Meeting, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in Belmont City Hall, 1 Twin Pines Lane.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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