Public power returns

Pub date August 22, 2006
SectionEditorialSectionNews & Opinion

EDITORIAL Just when it looked like the public power movement had stalled, along comes the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission with a surprise announcement that it will create a public power demonstration project in the most appropriate part of town and reinvigorate efforts to kick Pacific Gas and Electric out of the city.
The agency has tentatively cut a deal to provide power directly to the 1,600 housing units and businesses that Lennar Homes is about to start building on Parcel A of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard — bringing clean, green (it comes from city hydroelectric and solar projects), affordable public power to a part of town that has long been besieged with environmental injustices.
We commend director Susan Leal and the rest of the SFPUC for this project and their promise to do the same thing on Treasure Island, once that property is officially in San Francisco’s jurisdiction. SFPUC officials say they’ll be able to beat PG&E’s rates while delivering power that is more environmentally sustainable than what we’re getting from the company’s aging fossil fuel plants.
The agency is now finalizing details with Lennar and waiting for PG&E to sign an interconnection agreement to transfer city power to the site, something that federal law requires the company do for a “reasonable” fee. If all goes well, the contract will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval in a couple months, creating the first living example of how the city would be better off without PG&E.
As such, we fully expect the company to try to sabotage the deal, so we urge all city officials to help shepherd this one to completion. Mayor Gavin Newsom should help make sure Lennar doesn’t get cold feet, City Attorney Dennis Herrera should be ready to fight if need be, and the SFPUC should be on the lookout for more such projects. Good work! SFBG