MUD money - Page 7

A public power agency can cut rates by 20 percent - and still operate with a budget surplus.

Thus it's not in our analysis as either a cost or a revenue item. The cost we project for Hetch Hetchy power is high - it includes unfavorable contracts that will expire in five years (see story). The actual future cost would be closer to 2¢ a kilowatt-hour. 4The cost of solar and wind is based on financial estimates for Prop. B. 5It's impossible to determine exactly what it would cost the MUD or WPA to purchase power in the future, but future contracts currently listed on the New York Mercantile Exchange are going for less than 4¢ a kilowatt-hour, and that price is expected to drop. Again, we took a conservative estimate; actual costs might be lower. 6Based on the cost per customer of operations and maintenance at LADWP (see story). 7The MUD would have no obligation to pay city taxes, but almost all of the candidates for MUD director have pledged to make sure the city doesn't lose money - in other words, the MUD would almost certainly pay fees equivalent to what PG&E was paying in taxes (see story). 8The state mandates that power companies or agencies spend 2 percent of revenues on "public benefits" - conservation, environmental programs, and the like. Public power in San Francisco: Worst-case scenario (Moderate rates, less renewable energy) Revenue Residential sales 1.481 billion kwh @ 12.6¢ per kwh1 $186 million Commercial/industrial sales 3.942 billion kwh @ 9.5¢ per kwh2 $374 million TOTAL $560 million Expenses Payment on revenue bonds $850 million @ 8 percent3 $74.4 million Cost of power * <\i>Hetch Hetchy 425 million kwh @ 4¢ per kwh $17 million (includes wheeling and backup)4 * <\i>Solar, wind, efficiencies 98 million kwh5 $7.5 million Purchased power6 * <\i>Potrero Hill plant 1.752 billion kwh @ 6.9¢ per kwh $120 million * <\i>Contract purchases 3.098 billion kwh @ 5.5¢ $170 million Operations and maintenance7 $131 million Replace PG&E's city taxes8 $9.4 million Public benefits9 $10 million TOTAL $539 million Surplus $21 million This chart shows how a public power system in San Francisco would operate if some of the worst-case assumptions are true: if, for example, the municipal utility district or power agency had to spend $800 million to buy out PG&E's system (the highest likely figure, even according to pro-PG&E studies) and if the MUD was unable to fund and site affordable renewable-energy systems and was thus forced to rely on buying a large amount of its power from the Potrero Hill plant (owned by Mirant Corporation) and from other generators through long-term contracts. Even under those circumstances, the chart shows, the MUD could cut residential rates by 10 percent, keep commercial and industrial rates at the low end of PG&E's rates, and still end the year with a surplus. As in all of our calculations, the numbers are very conservative; expenses would probably be considerably lower. 1The MUD could set rates at any level it wanted; for this scenario, we've set residential rates at 10 percent below PG&E's current rates. 2The commercial/industrial rate is at the low end of PG&E's equivalent rate. 3See story for details on the $850 million figure. The bond rate of 8 percent is based on an estimate from Ken Bruce of the Board of Supervisors' Budget Analyst's Office. 4See story and "Public Power in San Francisco: Best-Case Scenario" for details. 5This is the amount of solar and wind power projected in the city's report on the solar bond measure, Proposition B. 6See story and "Best-Case Scenario" for details. 7Based on comparable costs per customer at LADWP. 8See story. 9See story.