PG&E Alternative Approved for San Francisco

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    CleanPowerSF is a $19.5 million program that includes a five-year contract with Shell Energy North America.

    San Francisco will soon provide an alternative to PG&E after the city's Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved plans that will allow residents to buy energy from fully renewable sources at an increased price.

    The supervisors voted 8-3 in favor of CleanPowerSF, a $19.5  million program that includes a five-year contract with Shell Energy North America and also sets aside $2 million to study local options for creating  green energy for the city.

    Supervisor David Campos said the legislation "provides consumers  with a choice" in where they get their power, while also setting up the  framework in which the city can eventually create its own energy.

    San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed  Harrington told the supervisors that CleanPowerSF is the city's "only chance"  to meet its ambitious goals in reducing greenhouse gases and increasing  energy efficiency.

    The program, which Harrington said will go into effect in spring  2013, will initially include about 90,000 customers, or roughly a quarter of  the city's residential ratepayers.

    The program would cause an estimated increase of $18 per month on  the average utility bill in the city, with a discount for low-income  residents, he said.

    Supervisor John Avalos said "There's a portion who I believe are  willing to pay a slightly higher rate" for clean energy, and said the  legislation "will put teeth to our goals on climate change."

    However, other supervisors were uneasy about forcing some of the  city's residents to participate in the program. The ratepayers selected for  the system would have five months to opt out of the program for free, then  would have to pay a $5 fee if they opt out afterward.

    Supervisor Mark Farrell said the program "smells like coercion"  and would "foist onto consumers an increase of 20 to 30 percent" on their  monthly utility bill.

    "The premise and numbers just don't add up right now," Farrell  said.

    Farrell, Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd were the only three  supervisors to oppose the legislation.