Whether San Francisco will move forward with a renewable energy program could be answered Tuesday after months of delays, program modifications and political scuffling.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the program's details. But while the agency has delayed taking action since March, pressure is mounting to make a final decision.
The program, CleanPowerSF, would launch by automatically enrolling existing PG&E electricity customers, though they would have the option to opt out. The plan is to have 50,000 to 90,000 customers enrolled in The City's program in the first phase. For the customers using between 139 kilowatt-hours and 288 kWh a month, their bills would increase between $5.85 to $12.10 a month.
The City would enter a $19.5 million, 4½-year agreement with Shell Energy North America to purchase the power. Included in the total is $2 million for energy efficiency programs targeted to low-income customers, $2 million for the local solar installation rebate program GoSolarSF for incentives targeted to low-income customers, and $2 million to study local build-out of renewable energy facilities.
The program has faced opposition from multiple directions. While a majority on the Board of Supervisors supports it, Mayor Ed Lee remains critical. Environmentalists have criticized it for not being aggressive enough with funding the construction of local renewable energy projects.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, a union representing utility workers for energy companies such as PG&E, opposes the program on the grounds that it would cost its members jobs.
PG&E has opposed these types of community choice aggregations, and it plans to launch a competing “green tariff” program.