Clean energy supporters hail key milestone: CleanPowerSF not-to-exceed rates approved by SFPUC will meet or beat PG&E

by Eric Brooks

San Francisco – On May 12, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) approved not-to-exceed rates for CleanPowerSF, moving the City’s local renewable energy program one step closer to launch. Voting to approve the rates were Commissioners Anson Moran, Vince Courtney and Ike Kwon. Commission President Ann Moller Caen and Vice President Francesca Vietor were not present, but both sent in statements of strong support for moving forward with the program.

A strong response to CleanPowerSF will greatly increase the demand for rooftop solar, creating jobs in manufacturing and installing the panels – jobs that will be welcomed by the job-starved Black community.
A strong response to CleanPowerSF will greatly increase the demand for rooftop solar, creating jobs in manufacturing and installing the panels – jobs that will be welcomed by the job-starved Black community.

The commission’s approval action establishes that CleanPowerSF rates will not exceed the standard power rates of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) which – until CleanPowerSF launches early next year – is the monopoly provider of energy to San Francisco customers.

The approval sets the stage for CleanPowerSF to deliver greener power to customers at lower rates than PG&E. California’s two operating community choice programs, in Marin and Sonoma counties, have already provided greener energy at lower rates to customers.

Currently PG&E provides 25 percent renewable energy to customers. CleanPowerSF is expected to provide 33-50 percent renewable energy at launch, with the option for customers to pay a small premium and opt up to buy 100 percent renewable electricity.

Jed Holtzman, co-coordinator of 350 San Francisco, said: “This action by the SFPUC is a major step forward in spurring the clean energy transformation that San Francisco needs to aggressively reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and do its part to curb climate chaos. These competitive rates clearly show that the time is now for communities to transition to clean, renewable energy and away from fossil fuel energy that damages our communities and public health.”

“We’re thrilled to see such a diverse coalition of community groups, labor unions and city leadership come together to support San Francisco’s clean energy future,” said Jess Dervin-Ackerman, conservation manager for the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter. “Moving past this hurdle with the support of so many makes us excited for what we can achieve through the launch of CleanPowerSF: a reduction of carbon pollution, reinvestment in our communities that need it most, good-paying union jobs, and a program that is for and by the community.”

The approval sets the stage for CleanPowerSF to deliver greener power to customers at lower rates than PG&E.

Al Weinrub, coordinator of Local Clean Energy Alliance, said: “Now that competitive rates are set for CleanPowerSF, we can determine the amount of revenue that can be leveraged for the most important objective of the program: that of putting thousands of people to work as the City builds out hundreds of megawatts of local clean energy and efficiency installations on homes, businesses and government buildings. This is a big day for addressing both the climate crisis and the economic crisis in one decisive program.”

Eric Brooks, a leading advocate for clean energy, can be reached at info@ourcitysf.org.