San Francisco Serious About Teaming With Marin

By Published On: April 24, 2014

San Francisco got closer to its renewable energy dream this week. A quintet of San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisors proposed legislation to allow San Francisco to become part of Marin’s community choice aggregation program. Known as Marin Clean Energy, it competes with Pacific Gas & Electric, which was the sole energy provider in the area until May 2010. The cost of joining Marin Clean Energy is to be evaluated and compared with a San Francisco community choice aggregation effort, San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos said April 22. There is no other viable option for “100 percent renewable electricity we can implement,” he added. “We can no longer afford to do nothing.” Marin welcomes San Francisco’s efforts to explore joining it as well as possibly implementing its own community aggregation program, said Jamie Tuckey, Marin Clean Energy spokesperson. Fitting a big city into a smaller county program is problematic. “Our board does not have a process defined for accepting members with a customer base greater than 40,000 and so we would need to start with exploring policy,” according to Tuckey. Marin currently serves 125,000 customers in Marin and Richmond. It offers power supplies that are 50 percent renewable, and 100 percent green, with the former below PG&E’s rates. “We project to save our customers $5.9 million this year,” said Tuckey. The agency is expected to wait for San Francisco to formally request to join Marin Clean Energy. In August 2013, ongoing concerns about power costs as well as protests from organized labor over San Francisco competing head on with PG&E on generation stopped San Francisco’s proposed community choice aggregation plan, CleanPowerSF, in its tracks. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 against a rate plan for the largely renewable power program, which would have capped rates for about half of San Franciscans at $11.5 cents/kWh. That price was higher than competitor PG&E’s standard rates. Last October, the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Committee discussed joining Sonoma or Marin’s clean energy programs. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was blamed for the halt of the clean energy program. “We have an administration at odds with itself when it comes to climate change,” Avalos said this week. Also authoring the ordinance to open the door to joining Marin Clean Energy are supervisors London Breed, David Campos, Eric Mar and Scott Weiner. Legislation that would allow the city and county of San Francisco to become a community choice aggregator in place of the local utilities commission is working its way through the Legislature.

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