monopoly_money.jpg



Remember the November 2008 election? Remember the failed public power measure that local voters saw wedged on their ballots, squeezed somewhere in between distractions like Proposition 8, Barack Obama and the George W Bush Sewage Plant?

You might not remember, but rest assured San Francisco progressives do, and remember all too well — the ballot included the third failed public power measure of the 2000s, the bummer that was Proposition H, or perhaps more aptly, the measure which led Pacific Gas & Electric Company spend a shit-load to make sure the city could not, would not and did not take over the local electricity infrastructure.

Herrera asked the CPUC to prohibit utility companies from using ratepayer money to lobby against a program that could eventually save ratepayers money.PG&E won, the public-power initiative lost, but the story’s far from over: there still exists a little something-something called Community Choice Aggregation. CCA allows a third-party energy supplier to sell clean, renewable electricity to San Franciscans, using PG&E’s existing infrastructure.

As you can expect, PG&E doesn’t like that one bit, and has mobilized to drum up community opposition to CCA. While nothing like the cavalcade of robocalls, direct mailers, billboards and everything else voters saw in the months leading up to November 2008, select San Francisco residents and businesses began last year receiving this mailer, which dubs CCA a “risky scheme” that “will establish new bureaucracy,” enroll unwilling customers “whether you like it or not,” and asks recipients to oppose CCA (which may be hard to do, considering the law allowing CCA is seven years old. But still).

Ever the man of the people, City Attorney Dennis Herrera is crying foul and asking the California Public Utilities Commission to take PG&E behind the woodshed. In a petition filed Monday, Herrera asked the CPUC to prohibit utility companies marketing to customers regarding a CCA, and ergo, using ratepayer money to lobby against a program that could eventually save ratepayers money.

It’s the CPUC’s job to play referee in this situation, Herrera argued.

“The California Public Utilities Commission exists to police giant utilities, to assure that their monopoly advantages aren’t abused to exploit consumers or frustrate the policy objectives of our state lawmakers,” he wrote in a statement. “Yet that is exactly what has happened since PG&E locked CCA into its crosshairs.”

It seems that whatever action the CPUC takes, the local San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will pick a company to perform CCA sooner rather than later. Five companies submitted bids to supply energy via the CCA by the Dec. 31 deadline, and the PUC is expected to select one in coming weeks, according to an Examiner report.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Xenu

    Private utilities should be illegal. The entire thing is a giant scam; our neighboring cities with public gas and power pay a fraction of what we do, and they don’t suffer random explosions and severe outages like we do.

    It’s time to take PG&E out back and shoot ‘em.

  • Xenu

    Private utilities should be illegal. The entire thing is a giant scam; our neighboring cities with public gas and power pay a fraction of what we do, and they don’t suffer random explosions and severe outages like we do.

    It’s time to take PG&E out back and shoot ‘em.

  • Greg Dewar

    Oh GOD not this stuff again. Calgon, take me away!

  • Greg Dewar

    Oh GOD not this stuff again. Calgon, take me away!

  • Wil

    I really, really wish the electric company was run like Muni. And since the city has so much extra cash on hand after taking care of the things for which they’re already responsible (feeding the homeless, fixing potholes, etc.) – and doing such a bang-up job – we should *totally* put another critical piece of infrastructure on their plate.

    Seriously, I hate PG&E as much as the next guy but I don’t think handing over their business to our incompetent elected nincompoops is a good idea.

  • Wil

    I really, really wish the electric company was run like Muni. And since the city has so much extra cash on hand after taking care of the things for which they’re already responsible (feeding the homeless, fixing potholes, etc.) – and doing such a bang-up job – we should *totally* put another critical piece of infrastructure on their plate.

    Seriously, I hate PG&E as much as the next guy but I don’t think handing over their business to our incompetent elected nincompoops is a good idea.

  • Larry-bob Roberts

    I guess if you want cheaper, public-owned power you gotta move to Sacramento.

  • Larry-bob Roberts

    I guess if you want cheaper, public-owned power you gotta move to Sacramento.

  • Xenu

    Or Palo Alto, which is at least a little bit more tolerable than Sac.

  • Xenu

    Or Palo Alto, which is at least a little bit more tolerable than Sac.