Mike  koozmin/S.f. Examiner file photoLegislation introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener that was approved Tuesday seeks to boost clean-energy usage in San Francisco.

Mike koozmin/S.f. Examiner file photoLegislation introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener that was approved Tuesday seeks to boost clean-energy usage in San Francisco.

SF’s public-power program set for new customers

After the political uproar last year that followed the failed launch of San Francisco's municipal energy program, the power issue remains no less divisive. But unlike last year, there was some forward movement Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors passed a new policy to expand the number of customers served by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's power enterprise.

Last year, CleanPowerSF came close to launching to compete with PG&E, which has long held an energy monopoly in San Francisco.

But the program stalled, and discussions are ongoing with a new target of launching next year.

In the meantime, Supervisor Scott Wiener was able to pass legislation Tuesday that would help boost clean-energy usage in San Francisco. The effort was opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and Building Owners and Managers Association, a group that represents commercial property owners but supported by the San Francisco chapters of the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

The legislation empowers the SFPUC to have the right of first refusal to act as the energy provider of new private and public developments. Private developments include projects with more than 10 residential units or the rehabilitation of more than 10,000 square feet of building space. In a way, it is a toned-down version of CleanPowerSF, which would automatically sign up residential power customers who would then need to opt out to remain with PG&E. There is no opt-out in Wiener's legislation.

The energy from the SFPUC, which is produced from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, would help San Francisco reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions (city officials adopted a goal in 1998 to have a 100 percent greenhouse-gas-emission-free electrical system in place by 2030).

But it would also help generate much needed revenue for an infrastructure in disrepair. During the next two years, the SFPUC plans to spend $767 million on its power facilities, said Barbara Hale, assistant general manager of power.

The SFPUC currently powers municipal facilities like Muni, City Hall, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco General Hospital, and police and fire stations.

Amandeep Jawa, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said that “nothing could be more critical in the era of global warming” than expanding the role of clean power.

But opponents wanted a choice.

“Why don't you allow PG&E and the SFPUC to bid for the contract to supply power for these new developments?” said Ken Cleveland, director of BOMA.

Amandeep JawaBay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsPoliticsSan Francisco Public Utilities CommissionScott Wiener

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Youth activists with the Sunrise Movement march along a rural road during their two-week trek from Paradise to San Francisco to call attention to an increase in deadly wildfires as a result of climate change on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Brooke Anderson)
Weeks-long climate march culminates on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lola’s alarm goes off most mornings before dawn. The 17-year-old high school… Continue reading

Most Read