Breed and Oakland, San Jose mayors urge state PUC not to raise clean power fees

The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose have banded together to urge the California Public Utilities Commission to reject a proposal they fear could substantially raise the fees that people pay when switching their electricity provider from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to a city-run program like CleanPowerSF.

On Tuesday, the mayors — London Breed in San Francisco, Libby Schaaf in Oakland and Sam Liccardo in San Jose — sent a letter to the PUC to express “substantial concerns” with a proposal the commission is scheduled to vote on Sept. 13 that could raise the fees for leaving PG&E by as much as 25 percent.

The fees are added to energy customers’ bills every month in perpetuity when they join city-run power programs to repay investor-owned utilities like PG&E for older power plants and continuing contracts to provide power.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is gradually enrolling city customers in its CleanPowerSF program automatically. The program uses a cleaner mix of energy generated from renewable sources. Customers can opt out of the program, however, which would prevent them from having to pay the so-called exit fees and stay on as a PG&E customer.

But the proposal to raise the exit fees, introduced by state PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman, “would reduce our investments in long-term renewable resources … and hinder our efforts in local development and customer programs,” the mayors wrote, adding that the costs would be unfairly borne by lower-income customers “in disadvantaged communities.”

“CleanPowerSF is central to San Francisco’s efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and make our electricity 100 percent carbon-free by 2030,” Breed said in a separate statement. “This proposal makes it more expensive for San Franciscans to choose clean energy over dirty fossil fuels.”

Read more here: Breed and Oakland, San Jose mayors urge state PUC not to raise clean power fees