PG&E

PG&E's system fails -- again

Candlestick Park blackout tells us a lot about the power company's commitment to the city

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EDITORIAL There's no question that officials from Santa Clara — thrilled to have finalized financing for a new 49ers stadium — were taking full political advantage of the Dec. 19 blackouts at Candlestick Park. There's no question that the event Mayor Ed Lee called a "national embarrassment" helped guarantee that the team will leave San Francisco after one more season.

But this is about more than football — and the mayor and the supervisors ought to using this latest PG&E screw-up to take a serious look at the company's reliability and its impact on the city.Read more »

Guardian editorial: PG&E's system fails again!

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EDITORIAL There's no question that officials from Santa Clara — thrilled to have finalized financing for a new 49ers stadium — were taking full political advantage of the Dec. 19 blackouts at Candlestick Park. There's no question that the event Mayor Ed Lee called a "national embarrassment" helped guarantee that the team will leave San Francisco after one more season.

But this is about more than football — and the mayor and the supervisors ought to be using this latest PG&E screw-up to take a serious look at the company's reliability and its impact on the city.

This is hardly the first embarrassing PG&E blackout in San Francisco. For the past few years, the private utility's aging infrastructure has been failing, leaving businesses and residents in the dark. And while PG&E officials are trying to blame the city for the latest snafu, everyone admits that the problem started when a PG&E power line snapped. Read more »

More reasons why PG&E hurts the city

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I know that the folks in Santa Clara are just taking full political advantage of the Candlestick blackout, buy you have to admit: They have a persuasive case. Here's today's Bay Citizen:Read more »

Are we green yet?

San Francisco's ambitious clean-power program moves toward approval

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

A contract agreement for San Francisco's innovative clean energy program, CleanPowerSF, could be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as soon as January, representing a major milestone for efforts to put the city in the retail electricity business.Read more »

Making CleanPowerSF work

The city's clean power plan is going to save you money

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EDITORIAL The way the San Francisco Chronicle describes it, the city's new green power program "won't come cheap." That's a line that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will use over and over again in the next few months as the city finally prepares to get into the retail electricity business, 98 years after Congress mandated public power for San Francisco. Clean Power SF will offer 100 percent clean energy — and yes, right now, this spring, it will cost a little bit more than buying nuclear and coal power from PG&E.Read more »

Guardian editorial: Making Clean Power SF work

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EDITORIAL The way the San Francisco Chronicle describes it, the city's new green power program "won't come cheap." That's a line that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will use over and over again in the next few months as the city finally prepares to get into the retail electricity business, 98 years after Congress mandated public power for San Francisco. Clean Power SF will offer 100 percent clean energy — and yes, right now, this spring, it will cost a little bit more than buying nuclear and coal power from PG&E.

But that price differential will change dramatically in the next few years — if the city goes forward not just with buying and aggregating power from the commercial market but developing renewable energy on its own.

That's the key to the future of Clean Power SF — and as a proposed contract to get the system up and running comes to the Board of Supervisors, the need for a city build-out of at least 210 megawatts of energy generation capacity is, and must be, an essential part of the plan. Read more »

Sup. Elsbernd ducks more Impertinent Questions

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Well, I am sad to report that my neighborhood supervisor, Sean Elsbernd, has once again refused to answer my Impertinent Questions and to say if he voted for Ed Lee for mayor. Perhaps I will tell you, he says, perhaps not and he chose to perhaps not. He has thus refused to shed light on his role in one of the most fateful nominations in San Francisco history.

 Here's the latest version of the almost famous Que Syrah correspondence between Elsbernd and me on these critical Impertinent Questions. (As attentive readers of this blog know, I have been trying for months to get Elsbernd to meet me to talk about these questions at Que Syrah, a nifty little wine bar in the West Portal area of Elsbernd's district. I am still trying.) Read more »

Editorial: Mayor Lee is tough as hell on Occupy SF protestors, but keeps City Hall safe for PG@E and the downtown gang

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And so Mayor Ed Lee once again shows his true colors:  he is tough as hell on Occupy SF protestors and, unlike every other mayor in every other U.S. city,  sends in the cops to roust them out in  two midnight raids and trumpets the word  by bullhorn from the mayor's office that he will harass them until the end of time. Meanwhile, he is is quietly sending  sending out the message that under his stewardship that City Hall will be safe for PG@E, the downtown gang, the big developers, the bailed banks, and the feds who are going after the dispensers of medical marijuana and the newspapers who run their ads.  (Full disclosure: that's us at the Guardian.)  B3

EDITORIAL This is what civility and compromise looks like:

At a little after 10 P.m. Oct 16, a squadron of San Francisco police equipped with riot gear raided and attempted to shut down the OccupySF protest. It was the second time San Francisco has embarrassed itself, becoming the only major U.S. city to attempt to evict members of the growing Occupation movement — and this time, the cops used a lot more force.

The first crackdown, on Oct. 5, was supposedly driven by concerns that the activists were using an open flame for their communal kitchen without the proper permits. This time around, the alleged lawbreaking was confined to a Park Code section that bans sleeping in city parkland after 10 p.m. And since Justin Herman Plaza, where OccupySF is camped, is technically under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Park Department, that ordinance could be enforced. Read more »

BART, PG&E targeted for protests

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Protesters plan to descend upon downtown San Francisco on Sept. 8 and 9, as two separate groups of organizers are calling for mobilizations against the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E). Read more »

PG&E's history of blowups

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By Noah Arroyo

We don't yet know if the San Bruno fire is a horrific accident or an equally horrific mistake. But Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which owns and operates the gas line that ruptured, has a history of incidents that look a lot like this one. Some of these incidents have caused power outages. Others have blown things up, or injured people.

The company also has a history taking money that ought to go to maintenance and diverting it into fat corporate profits.

In December of 2003, a cable fire at the Mission Substation of the Golden Gate Control Center caused a more than 100,000 people to lose power. The California Public Utilities Commission inspected the incident and found that PG&E suffered from general procedural laziness, and that "PG&E failed to follow three recommendations made in its 1996 Root Cause Analysis Report following [a] 1996 fire."

Read more »