San Francisco power program hits another snag 

After years of planning, a proposed term sheet for San Francisco's ambitious Clean Power SF program is ready for approval.

But the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission refused to approve the term sheet on Tuesday and send it to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Instead, commissioners expressed concerns over the financial risk. The City would have to put up millions of dollars in reserves program operation, and set aside millions more in case the program falls apart.

One commissioner suggested all told it would amount to “tens of millions” of dollars. Amid these concerns, the commission decided to postpone action on the term sheet until August or September as they await more clarity about the financial risk from the agency’s staffers.

The proposed energy rates also raised some concerns. For most customers, those with bills of about $39.95, it would mean $7 more per month. For higher energy users, it could mean increases of $16 if the existing PG&E  monthly bill is $92.18 and $23 if the current PG&E bill is $147.96.

On Friday, the chair of the Local Agency Formation Commission, Supervisor David Campos, was none too happy by the delay. He and the commission approved sending a letter telling SFPUC to hold a special August meeting to vote on the term sheet.

“While we want to do this process, it also is important for us to do it expeditiously. The hope that I had was that by the time this item came to us today the term sheet would have been approved by the SFPUC,” Campos said. “I am disappointed the SFPUC did not act on this. It is somewhat frustrating.” Campos said the concerns raised were nothing new.

Other complications have arisen. A group of long-time advocates of renewable energy are unhappy with the SFPUC for not committing to a more aggressive roll out of renewable energy projects in San Francisco, like wind or solar, which would reduce the program’s electricity rates and make it more appealing.

“Advocates are not going to support a [Clean Power SF] that does not fully flesh out a build out like this,” said Eric Brooks, a Green Party leader and a longtime advocate of renewable energy.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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