Dan Schreiber/s.f. examiner file photoSan Francisco's ability to store water at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir could be curtailed as early as June 15 if water supplies are found to be too low as a result of drought conditions.

Dan Schreiber/s.f. examiner file photoSan Francisco's ability to store water at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir could be curtailed as early as June 15 if water supplies are found to be too low as a result of drought conditions.

CleanPowerSF supporters make push to maintain program despite budget challenges

Supporters of the proposed renewable-energy alternative to PG&E are pushing San Francisco utility officials to give the program another chance despite their recently announced outlook of significant budget deficits.

After rejecting proposed maximum power rates for CleanPowerSF in August, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced a dire financial outlook, further darkening the program’s future.

Harlan Kelly, head of the SFPUC, even recently directed staff to stop working on the community-choice aggregation program.

But Monday, he made one concession during the commission’s joint meeting with the Local Agency Formation Commission, which includes program supporters like supervisors London Breed and John Avalos. Kelly said he would allow one of his staff members to help with the commission’s request for proposals for a consultant to try and address concerns raised about the rejected proposed rates. The process would address issues such as job creation and competitive power rates to PG&E. The consultant’s work is seen by supporters as a key step in keeping CleanPowerSF alive.

One of the biggest new costs facing the SFPUC is the Mountain Tunnel underground conduit through which most of the water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir flows as well as some power. Initially, the agency projected the need of $100 million to reline the tunnel, but that has now ballooned to as much as $650 million for a complete overhaul.

Breed said the new cost “disturbs me” given its potential to impact CleanPowerSF.

“This kind of concern probably should have been discovered and addressed many years ago,” Breed said.

Kelly noted that in 2002, the agency identified $4.6 billion in infrastructure needs near fault lines and other infrastructure needs are coming into focus.

Another concern is ongoing negotiations with PG&E over the rates it charges the SFPUC to transmit electricity. A distribution agreement expires July 15. The City currently pays the utility company $16 million, but that could increase by millions of dollars.

Avalos said he thinks the agency should explore how CleanPowerSF could not be a hindrance on the agency’s budget forecast. But SFPUC officials were resistant to the suggestion, saying instead they are focused on the existing operation.

Breed is among those working to find solutions to maintain the clean-power program.

“If we continue to work together we can get to the point where we can provide clean power and we can do it in a cost effective way,” Breed said. “We owe it to future generations to go this route.”Bay Area NewsCleanPowerSFcommunity-choice aggregationPG&E

Just Posted

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sit in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
‘Champagne problems’ and supply chain nightmares: San Francisco’s wine industry is suffering

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

<strong>A lion from Cambodia at the Asian Art Museum, which was acquired from a private collector and dates back to between 1150 and 1225, is one of two pieces identified as a potential stolen artifact in the leaked Pandora Papers.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Asian Art Museum reckons with Cambodian antiquities of disputed provenance

Pandora Papers revelations accelerate culture shift at museums near and far

Most Read