CCA: Get it done by the deadline - Page 2

If the mayor and his handpicked PUC director, Ed Harrington, and his handpicked commissioners dawdle and delay, they'll be giving a corrupt private utility exactly what it wants

And as Harrington acknowledged, renewable power rates are "much, much more stable than natural gas, oil, those kinds of things."

Besides, the real risk is that San Francisco will continue to violate the Raker Act and allow PG&E's illegal monopoly to continue unabated. The PUC needs to get moving, now. Harrington should set a deadline, well in advance of the June election, and direct his staff to make every possible effort to get the program going by then. Newsom should publicly announce his support for the project and demand that the PUC finish its work in time to beat PG&E's anti-public-power measure (unless he wants to run for lieutenant governor as the mayor who went back on his own positions and allowed PG&E to control the city).

Because right now, the only thing that has to happen for PG&E to win is nothing. *


The crucial unspoken problem in this entire crisis for San Francisco's Clean Power SF (Community Choice) energy project, is that City Attorney Dennis Herrera's staff attorneys who are advising the SFPUC and LAFCo are completely blocking the project's success.

For eight years, Theresa Mueller and other attorneys under Herrera have been giving City staff working on Clean Power SF a ridiculously myopic interpretation of the state law, AB 117, which is the enacting bill that made it possible for California communities to adopt Community Choice and compete with PG&E.

The law clearly puts the Board of Supervisors in the driver's seat of the program, giving them a huge amount of flexibility in how they set up a governing and rate-setting structure so that the project will be low risk and easy to get off the ground.

One of the most respected law firms in the country, Nixon Peabody, has specifically advised the LAFCo and SFPUC that this is so.

Yet, unfathomably, Herrera's staff attorneys advising the program have completely ignored this advice and the similar advice of many other experts, public officials, and organizers. Herrera's team has bureaucratically opined that under the City Charter only the SFPUC can perform the governance and rate-setting functions; an opinion totally contradicted by the text of AB 117, which explicitly trumps the Charter on this matter. These staff Attorneys, their faces buried in local City code, are simply behaving as if the state law doesn't exist.

As is so often true of the City Attorney office's staff on so many issues, their opinion is simply incredibly blindered and false, and is now singlehandedly blocking Clean Power SF from moving forward rapidly and strongly enough to beat PG&E's June ballot measure to the finish line.

All that need happen to end this crisis is for Herrera to go to his attorneys who are advising the City on the Clean Power SF program, and demand that they get their heads out of the narrow perceptual boxes that they are jammed in, and get off their asses immediately to creatively guide the City in rapidly designing a governance and rate-setting solution that will allow a signed contract with Power Choice by April 5th. This is the deadline for getting underway so that we can get the start-up of the program approved by enough customers within the first mandated 60 day transition period, before the June 8th election.

City Attorney Herrera, this is your defining moment. Go to your staff and demand immediate creative action on this, and you will leverage the most important municipal clean energy program in the world into success. A move which will ignite a new guiding light for the entire planet to shift its every city rapidly to clean energy.

You completed a good swing by suing to remove PG&E's Prop 16 from the ballot. Now knock the ball out of the park for a home run, by making certain that Clean Power SF gets securely off the ground, regardless of what happens on June 8th.

Eric Brooks
Community Choice Energy Alliance

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

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