Startup eyes power delivery for SF residents, businesses 

San Francisco residents’ and businesses’ source of electricity could switch from PG&E Corp. to a team of utility, power, real estate and software experts assembled by an untested startup company.

Power Choice LLC began negotiating Tuesday with The City to sell electricity through PG&E’s transmission grid under community choice aggregation laws, which were created after California’s energy crisis of 2000 and 2001 to foster power-sector competition.

The company, which outbid four organizations to run San Francisco’s planned CleanPowerSF program, was formed by three power entrepreneurs in an effort to clinch community choice aggregation contracts statewide.

Power Choice agreed in its bid to deliver significantly more renewable energy — such as solar and wind power — than PG&E, according to Mike Campbell, a staff member of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission charged with forming CleanPowerSF.

Electricity prices will be set through negotiations with The City, and runner-up bidders could be called upon if negotiations fail or stall, Campbell said.

San Francisco and Marin counties are close to establishing community choice aggregation programs, none of which currently exist in California. Power Choice was outbid in its effort to run Marin’s program.

Under state law, all San Francisco residents and businesses will have their power supply switched to CleanPowerSF unless they request to remain a customer of PG&E.

It’s unclear when CleanPowerSF will start, but it could be this year.

Some partners will remain secret until a contract is signed to run CleanPowerSF, according to Power Choice principal Sam Enoka.

“Everyone has a lot of business with PG&E,” Enoka said. “The visibility they would have in a project like this would potentially jeopardize their dealings with PG&E.”

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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