Beating the reaper - Page 3

S.F.'s clean energy program clears a key milestone in its race against Prop. 16


Mark Leno remarked to the Guardian in the wake of the debacle. The CPUC later determined that any opt-outs solicited by PG&E's illegal mailers were void.

At a May 20 meeting, the CPUC bolstered restrictions prohibiting PG&E from printing false statements about CCA programs in mailers but made no move to impose penalty fines. City officials characterized the decision as falling short of the action needed to halt the utility's attempts to sabotage Bay Area CCAs.

"We would expect the CPUC to tell them to cooperate," Harrington told the Guardian. "What the CPUC said was 'you can't lie.'"

Meanwhile it's up to the CPUC to decide whether to honor PG&E's request for a $4 billion rate hike, which will amount to an average 30 percent increase on customer bills over three years. "They're not always guaranteed to get what they ask for," CPUC spokesperson Andrew Kotch noted. Public hearings on the increase are coming soon, with a final decision scheduled for December.

"There have been other sizable rate increases and PG&E keeps coming back for more," says Dwight Cocke of The Utility Reform Network (TURN), which is also part of the Prop. 16 opposition campaign. "Up until recently, PG&E was shutting off 15,000 customers per month" for nonpayment, forcing customers to pay extra deposits and reconnect fees to get their electric service back.

"For a lot of people on fixed incomes and low incomes," he said, "it spirals out of control."

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Community Clean Energy Victory Not Yet Assured - Write SFPUC Chief!!

Unfortunately, the SFPUC staff is still falling all over itself in absurd attempts to weaken and delay the clean energy contract. Most notable are two key problems:

1) The SFPUC is still attempting to pass a contract that will -phase- in the customer base of the CleanPowerSF program foolishly leaving a majority out of the initial contract and service. If that happens, when we afterward attempt to bring the -remaining- customers into the program, under Prop 16 this will be an 'expansion' of CCA electricity service, and therefore subject to a two thirds vote of the entire City. This would kill the program, period.

2) The SFPUC is still attempting to completely gut the contract of requirements for Power Choice to actually build, with revenue bonds, local, City owned renewable energy and efficiency installations. These are the cornerstone of CleanPowerSF and without building them, the City will own nothing at all. The whole point of CleanPowerSF is to make San Francisco the direct owner of over half of its electricity generation thus making full municipalization the obvious next step. That won't happen if the SFPUC staff gets away with its nonsense and the contract has no construction mandates.

Readers should contact SFPUC head Ed Harrington at and demand a stronger contract process with Local Power at the helm.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 26, 2010 @ 1:10 am