PG&E set to lose years-old bid to poach Ferry Building customers

Ferry Building tenants will continue to use hydroelectric power produced by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, after a judge indicated that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. will lose its legal bid to poach the electricity customers.

The SFPUC uses PG&E’s infrastructure to sell electricity from Hetch Hetchy Dam and other power sources to municipal customers, while PG&E enjoys a near-monopoly on electricity sales to companies and residents in San Francisco.

Under an agreement reached between the SFPUC and PG&E in 1997, the SFPUC provides electricity to tenants of the Ferry Building, which is owned by the Port of San Francisco.

When the agreement was reached in 1997, the Port of San Francisco was the main Ferry Building tenant, but the building was subsequently redeveloped and it’s now occupied largely by retailers and a variety of office space-leasing small businesses.

In late 2007, PG&E filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court arguing that the Ferry Building’s tenant-mix had changed so substantially that the privately-owned utility should be allowed to sell electricity to the tenants.

But last month, Judge Curtis Karnow indicated that he planned to reject PG&E’s argument.

PG&E pointed in its lawsuit to the 1997 Ferry Building agreement, but that agreement expired in 2002 and was replaced with a new agreement, Karnow said in his tentative ruling.

The SFPUC and Port of San Francisco are both departments of the City and County of San Francisco.

 

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