PG&E-city agreement stalls 

PG&E must let a would-be San Francisco competitor use its transmission lines and other assets, but negotiations are stalled regarding the awkward arrangement.

San Francisco is working to set up a community choice aggregation program, which would have a startup power provider brought in to compete against PG&E.

The electricity would be sold through the planned CleanPowerSF program under the state’s community choice aggregation laws, which were created last decade to foster power-sector competition.

Under CleanPowerSF, which might launch this year, businesses and residents would be automatically enrolled to buy their power through the program, or opt out and continue receiving power from PG&E.

CleanPowerSF discussions between The City and the potential provider, Power Choice, are shrouded in secrecy, meaning it’s unclear when the program would begin, how much electricity would cost or how much clean energy would be available.

The community choice aggregation laws direct PG&E to allow the would-be competitor to use its infrastructure and other facilities for a fee.

But sticking points emerged in negotiations regarding a service agreement covering that arrangement.

The negotiations between The City and PG&E reached impasses that California Public Utilities Commission officials were asked to mediate.

The impasses relate to potential procedures for handling breaches of the agreement, according to a
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission memo.

PG&E, the memo said, is pushing to force San Francisco to obtain a ruling of violation from California utilities regulators before The City could sue the company in court for breaching the agreement.

“PG&E has been reluctant to fully address the concerns of city staff,” the memo said.
PG&E declined to discuss confidential negotiations.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to direct staff to sign the service agreement after it’s been finalized without additional commission approval.

That could accelerate rollout of the program, staff said.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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