SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 20: A small wave crashes against the shore near the Golden Gate Bridge June 20, 2007 in San Francisco. Pacific Gas and Electric has launched an estimated $1.5 million research program to study the possibility of submerging turbines under the water to gather energy from tidal flows. A previous study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute in 2006 came to conclude that the tides that pass under the iconic Golden Gate bridge are the best on the West Coast of the U.S. to generate power. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
They're the bestest friend you never knew you had: San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission.
Though normally relegated to a behind-the-scenes position, the PUC is hoping to boost its profile with a branding makeover. It's definitely an important branch of government: the PUC handles power, sewers, and drinking water.
The agency's hope is that they can make it clearer to San Franciscans exactly what they do by switching out their old logo for a new one that more graphically represents their services.
So what exactly does the PUC do? Lots. For starters, they operate the massive network of pipes that carry water from the Sierras to your apartment, testing and treating it along the way. And they do it almost all with gravity: relatively few fossil fuels are burned to get water from the mountains to the city.
They also dispose of wastewater. The city's sewer system is about a thousand miles long, laid end-to-end.
And then there's the electricity. San Francisco's power-politics have gone through a lot of phases over the last 150 years, but these days the PUC runs everything from street lights to Muni electrification to solar projects in the Sunset.