Sup. Ross Mirkarimi has introduced a resolution calling on the state Legislature to reform the law that allows Pacific Gas and Electric Company to pay a miniscule fee, in perpetuity, for the right to run its lines, poles and cables on and below the city streets.
The franchise fee was signed in 1939, and requires PG&E to pay just one half of one percent of its revenue to the city. Berkeley charges ten times that much. But since the deal has no expiration date, the supervisors can't renegotiate it.
If San Francisco raised its fee to 5 percent for both electricity and gas the city would pick up an extra $50 million a year.
Both state Sen. Mark Leno and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano have told us they're looking at ways the state Legislature could end perpetual franchise deals.