Public Power

A century after the Raker Act, San Franciscans are still illegally denied public power

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The San Francisco Examiner has a good story on today’s 100th anniversary of the signing of the Raker Act, federal legislation that allowed San Francisco to build a dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley, a campaign championed most fervently at the time by the Examiner’s then-Publisher William Randolph Hearst.Read more »

PG&E can't survive solar energy

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Years ago, in the middle of the boom in nuclear power plants, we used to say, only half in jest, the private utilities would never accept solar energy because you can't put a meter on the sun. Turns out that's pretty close to true.Read more »

Why PG&E will never support solar

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One of the most important stories on the future of the country's electricity supply has been largely ignored by the major media outlets. My friend Johnny Angel Wendell, who is a talk-show host at KTLK in Los Angeles, passed it on to me, or I might have missed it, too.Read more »

City-owned electricity generation works

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I remember years ago a loser of a supervisor named Bill Maher tried to make a lame joke in opposition to a public-power measure. "If the city tries to run an electric system," he said, "every time I throw a light switch my toilet would flush."

Ha. Ha. Ha.

But it's a common refrain: We can't even run the Muni on time -- how can we run an electricity system?Read more »

Public broadband works; why not here?

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There's a fascinating new map that the Institute for Local Self Reliance has put together that shows how 342 communities around the United States are now offering publicly owned, cheap, reliable broadband and cable service to local residents and businesses. Check it out here. Then check out why the fastest networks in the nation are built by local governments:Read more »

Editor's notes

We've got to make the push to public power if we care about our environment's future

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tredmond@sfbg.com

EDITOR'S NOTES The San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission is holding a hearing Dec. 7 on the Mayor's Renewable Energy Task Force report. That may not sound like the most exciting moment in any of our lives — but it's actually worth talking about, a lot. Because the city has a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy in just eight more years, and the task force think it can be done — and the report, while it has its moments, completely screws up the central tenet of any long-term renewables policy.Read more »

Historic, veto-proof vote launches CleanPowerSF

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today cast an historic vote that was more than a decade in the making, approving the CleanPowerSF program – which challenges PG&E’s monopoly by offering 100 percent renewable energy directly to city residents – on an 8-3 vote that would be enough to override an implied veto threat by Mayor Ed Lee.Read more »

PG&E union mounts attack on Clean Power SF

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The union that represents PG&E workers -- and has opposed every single public-power initiative in modern San Francisco history -- just launched an attack on Clean Power SF. And the union's business representative is having a hard time explaining exactly why he's working with PG&E to try to undermine this modest step toward public power.Read more »

The SFPUC's cool new building

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I finallly got a tour of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's cool new building at 525 Golden Gate. It's about as green as an urban building can be, with solar panels, wind turbines, a wastewater recycling system using the underground root structure of street gardens to clean sewage ... the energy use is about 30 percent below a typical building that size, and water use is even lower; the PUC projects about a 60 percent savings, which is a good thing for a water agency that wants to promote conservation. Read more »

PG&E's latest fire problem

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Sup. David Campos was at the fire on San Bruno Ave -- the one that burned for two hours before PG&E crews managed to shut off a gas pipeline, and he told me the situation was a disaster. "PG&E had apparently done some work on the pipe but hadn't documented it," he said. "Nobody was there when we needed to shut it off. Two hours -- that's unacceptable."Read more »