Transparency may suffer in quest for power program 

The City is racing against the clock to negotiate a deal with an energy provider, but that could mean less vetting, one city official has said.

The proposal to establish a city energy program to compete with PG&E is under threat by Proposition 16. The statewide measure would require a two-thirds voter approval for municipalities to implement public power programs or spend public funds on community choice aggregation programs.

In an effort to approve CleanPowerSF before the June 8 election, The City must finalize a contract with the company it selected, Power Choice. A contract was expected in late March, but negotiations with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission are ongoing.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said the promise for the usual time to consider and analyze the proposal is now at risk.

Elsbernd said a commitment was made that the proposal undergo adequate analysis by the City Controller’s and Budget Analyst’s offices “in plenty of time for full public disclosure.”

Some San Francisco power customers would be automatically signed up for the program but would have a chance to “opt out” and continue receiving power from PG&E. Initial customer rates are likely to be dictated by the contract.

With contract negotiations still under way, “the only way I see [contract approval] happening is if some of those commitments are broken,” Elsbernd said.

Board rules say significant legislation must sit for 30 days, but that rule can be waived by the board
president.

Despite the narrowing time frame, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, one of the officials leading the charge to implement the program, said that “we insist on the best contract possible, and the PUC is in the driver’s seat at the moment.”

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission reaffirmed its commitment for adequate review.

“We would absolutely not forgo any required analysis by the budget analyst and the controller,” said commission spokesman Tyrone Jue.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

 

 

 

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