At a press conference held on Tuesday July 22 in front of San Francisco City Hall, some city officials defended a proposed charter amendment which would allow for a feasibility study on the city ownership of all utilities.
City Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Aaron Peskin, Tom Amiano, Bevon Duffy, Assemblyman Mark Leno and former PUC chief Susan Leal rebuked the assertions made in a flier distributed last week that suggested that the supervisors were irresponsible and out for a power grab.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi asserted that the charter amendment , “Is not a hostile take over. This is not a $4 billion grab. What this mandates is a feasibility study to determine how San Francisco should share the drivers seat and in how we can deliver 100 per cent Green and clean renewable energy over the next 25 years. We know that the technology is there; we know that the capacity is there. But we are also well reminded of the hurdles that are there, certainly because of the franchise that PG&E has in perpetuity – in other words they have a monopoly here until planet Earth dies.”
“This legislation includes taking back what is ours – what the rate payers paid for, ” said former PUC chief, Susan Leal. “We need to get out from under the grips of a monopoly that has not allowed the expansion of renewable energy as it should be in this city.”
“The glacial pace at which our federal government has moved and our state governments have moved, despite their best intentions, only deflects to the responsibility of smart municipal governments,” Mirkarimi continued. “There are over 900 cities in the United States which have opted by the vote of the people to decide that they want to chart their own energy destiny, either through complete municipalization or some reconfiguration. We are not even approaching the embryo of that consideration. “
California’s publicly owned utilities serving retail load include the Cities of Alameda, Anaheim, Azusa, Banning, Biggs, Colton, Corona, Glendale, Gridley, Healdsburg, Hercules, Industry, Lodi, Lompoc, Los Angeles, Moreno Valley, Needles, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Redding, Riverside, Roseville, Santa Clara, Shasta Lake, Ukiah, Victorville, Vernon; the Lassen and Sacramento Municipal Utility Districts; the Imperial Merced, Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts; and the Truckee Donner Public Utility Districts.