League of Women Voters of California
Energy Self Sufficiency
County of San Francisco
95,835 / 46.28% Yes votes ...... 111,255 / 53.72% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Full Text|
Shall the City change the authority and duties of the Public Utilities Commission to make it the primary provider of electricity to San Francisco residents and businesses?
The City generates hydroelectric power at its Hetch Hetchy facility in Yosemite National Park. The City uses this power to meet its municipal power needs and those of other public entities such as the Unified School District. The City sells its excess power to the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The City does not sell power to San Francisco residents and businesses. The City's Public Utilities Commission oversees the City's water and power utilities. This Commission has five members appointed by the Mayor. By a two-thirds vote, the Board of Supervisors can reject any of these appointments. In general, the Public Utilities Commission must get voter approval to issue revenue bonds. Power for San Francisco residents and businesses is provided by a private company. The State sets the rates charged for that power. Some of that power comes from a power plant in the City's Hunter's Point neighborhood.
Proposition D is a Charter amendment that would change the authority, duties and composition of the Public Utilities Commission in order to make it the primary provider of power to San Francisco residents and businesses. The Commission would be tasked with developing sufficient and reasonably priced power for the City. One goal of this would be to allow the Hunter's Point power plant to be closed.
Proposition D would increase the Public Utilities Commission to seven members. Three would be nominated by the Mayor and one by the Controller, all subject to Board of Supervisors approval. The Board would appoint the three remaining members.
The proposal's most significant costs would occur if the PUC develops or acquires energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Until development or acquisition plans are known, costs or revenues which would be generated cannot be estimated, however the range would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the mix of facilities proposed. Under the amendment, the PUC may issue revenue bonds to develop or acquire energy facilities when authorized by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors. However, before the PUC could acquire transmission and distribution facilities owned by the local distribution utility, a cost-benefit analysis must be completed and the Controller must certify that the rates set by the PUC for this purpose would not exceed the local distribution utility's rates covering debt service and profits.
The PUC's acquisition of facilities which are now privately owned could reduce revenues to the City by the loss of property, business and franchise taxes ranging, in total, between $8 million and $15 million annually, depending on whether the publicly-owned entity would pay certain taxes and fees. Specific costs or savings cannot be determined at this time for other objectives and options under the amendment such as closing the Hunters Point power plant, generating 25% of San Francisco's power from non-hydro renewable sources by 2010, entering into long term contracts and joint powers agreements, and providing a severance package for employees laid off if the City acquires local energy facilities.
KQED-FM San Francisco Public Radio
|Full Text of Measure D|
Describing and setting forth a proposal to the qualified voters of the City and County of San Francisco to amend the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco by amending Section 4.112 and adding a new Chapter 8B addressing Commission governance, goals and objectives related to energy, powers of the Commission related to energy, siting of energy facilities and rates for energy services. The Board of Supervisors hereby submits to the qualified voters of the City and County of San Francisco at an election to be held on November 5, 2002, a proposal to amend the Charter of said City and County by amending Section 4.112 and adding a new Chapter 8B, to read as follows:
Note: Additions are single-underline italics Times New Roman. Deletions are strikethrough italics Times New Roman.
SECTION 4.112. PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.
The Public Utilities Commission shall consists of five members appointed by the Mayor, pursuant to Section 3.100, for four year terms. Members may be removed by the Mayor only pursuant to Section 15.105.The Public Utilities Commission shall have charge of the construction, management, supervision, maintenance, extension, operation, use and control of all water and energy supplies and utilities of the City as well as the real, personal and financial assets, which are under the Commission's jurisdiction on the operative date of this Charter, or assigned pursuant to Section 4.132.
8B.100. GOVERNANCE OF THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.
(a) The Commission shall be governed by seven commissioners; three commissioners shall be appointed by the Mayor; three commissioners shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors; one commissioner shall be appointed by the Controller. The commissioners appointed by the Mayor and the Controller shall be confirmed by the Board of Supervisors by majority vote. Vacancies among the commissioners appointed by the Board of Supervisors shall be filled by appointment of the Board of Supervisors; those appointed by the Mayor shall be filled by appointment of the Mayor subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors; those appointed by the Controller shall be filled by appointment of the Controller, subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors. Persons appointed to fill vacancies shall serve until the expiration of the term of the commissioner that vacated the office.
8B.101. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES RELATED TO ENERGY.
(a) The Commission shall develop, periodically update and implement programs to achieve goals and objectives consistent with the following:(1) Develop City owned or controlled energy resources sufficient to shutdown the Hunters Point power plant by January 2005. Not later than November 2003, submit a plan to the ISO for the shutdown of Hunters Point power plant. Develop plans and energy resources sufficient to allow the closure of other inefficient, polluting power plants. (2) Ensure the provision of reasonably-priced, reliable electric service to San Francisco residents, businesses and City departments, consistent with the Raker Act. (3) Remedy the inequities in the historic placement and operation of industrial facilities in communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods and the damage to public health and the environment caused by such facilities. (4) Create opportunities for meaningful and informed citizen participation, with an emphasis on involving affected communities as equal partners in the needs assessments, planning, evaluation, and implementation of Commission policies and programs. (5) Maximize contracting and employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged residents, and specifically for those residents living in neighborhoods that bear the public health and environmental burdens of power generation and transmission. (6) Ensure the development of adequate City owned or controlled generation and transmission resources to serve San Francisco. Periodically develop through a public process and publish a resource plan that includes load projections and demand-side management programs for the City and the region to guide the development of energy resources. (7) Establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 25% of San Francisco load served by the Commission by 2010, excluding hydroelectric generation, subject to the Commission's obligation to ensure reasonably-priced electricity. (8) Establish energy conservation and efficiency goals, including peak load reduction goal, for electric load within the City, including municipal load. Develop design review, retrofit and incentive programs to maximize the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs. (b) The Commission shall periodically review and report on its success in achieving the goals identified in this section and recommend changes to existing local and state laws needed to increase the Commission's effectiveness in carrying out its responsibilities. In January 2006, the Board of Supervisors shall hold a hearing to consider the Commission's performance and shall consider changes that would improve the Commission's performance, including changes to the governance of the Commission that would improve the Commission's ability to meet its goals.
8B.102. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION RELATED TO ENERGY. The Commission shall have all powers granted to Boards and Commissions by the Charter, and in addition, shall have the following powers in carrying out its responsibilities related to energy: (a) Notwithstanding the requirements of Section 9.118 or any other section of this Charter, enter into long term contracts for energy and related services subject to requirements for approval by the Board of Supervisors which shall be specified by the Board of Supervisors by ordinance. (b) Enter into joint powers agreements with other public entities in furtherance of the responsibilities of the Commission without approval of the Board of Supervisors. (c) Serve as the default provider of energy to San Francisco residents and businesses, consistent with state law. (d) Notwithstanding the requirements of Section 9.107 of this Charter, issue revenue bonds, loans and/or any other forms of indebtedness to be repaid from revenues of the Commission in accordance with State law and any outstanding bond covenants, with approval of the Board of Supervisors, subject to the Controller certifying in writing that sufficient unencumbered Commission revenues will be available to timely meet all of its obligations arising from such issuance or obligation. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter or of any ordinance of the City and County, the Board of Supervisors may take any and all actions necessary to authorize, issue and repay such bonds, indebtedness or loans, including but not limited to modifying schedules of rates and charges to provide for the payment and retirement of such bonds. Except as expressly provided in this Charter, all revenue bonds may be issued and sold in accordance with state law or any procedure provided for by ordinance of the Board of Supervisors (e) Revenue bonds issued pursuant to this measure may be used for the following purposes: (1) Development and construction of new energy facilities and energy efficiency projects; (2) Repair and replacement of city-owned energy facilities; (3) Acquisition of generation facilities; (4) Acquisition of transmission and distribution facilities owned by the local distribution utility, after completing a credible cost-benefit analysis. Any determination by the Commission that it will acquire the transmission and distribution facilities is subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors by a motion approved by six votes. Revenue bonds may only be issued pursuant to this section for acquisition of transmission and distribution facilities owned by the local utility to the extent that the Controller certifies that the rate component covering projected annual debt service would not exceed the local distribution utility's rate component covering debt service and profits, during a recent relevant time period.
(f) Enter into project labor agreements with appropriate building, construction and trades councils for significant capital projects where appropriate.(h) Exercise such other powers and duties as may be prescribed by ordinance of the Board of Supervisors.
8B.103 SITING OF ENERGY FACILITIES.
(a) In decisions related to siting new energy facilities, the Commission must consider and make findings on each of the following:(i) Consistency of the project with environmental justice ordinances and policies of the City.
(ii) Public health and environmental impacts of the project.
8B.104. RATES FOR ENERGY SERVICES. Notwithstanding Charter sections 2.109, 3.100 and 4.102 or any ordinance including Administrative Code Appendix 39, the Commission shall set rates, fees and other charges in connection with providing the utility services under its direction, subject to approval or rejection within 30 days of submission by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. In setting rates, fees and charges the Commission shall: (a) Establish just and reasonable cost-based rates that encourage the efficient use of energy for its residential, commercial, and municipal customers. The Commission may establish rate surcharges to fund implementation of energy efficiency and/or renewable energy generation projects. The Commission shall provide rate discount programs generally consistent with the programs mandated by state and federal law for utility services. (b) Establish rates, fees and charges at levels sufficient to maintain a positive financial condition and bond ratings of each enterprise under its jurisdiction, meet requirements and covenants under all loan agreements, bond resolutions and indentures, and provide sufficient resources for the continued financial health of each utility, including sufficient revenues to fund appropriate reserves, operation, maintenance and repair of each enterprise consistent with good utility practice; (c) Retain an independent rate consultant to conduct rate and cost of service studies for each utility at least every five years; (d) Annually adopt a rolling 5-year forecast of rates, fees and other charges; (e) Establish a Rate Fairness Board consisting of seven members: the City Administrator; the Controller; the Director of the Mayor's Office of Public Finance; two City residential retail customers: one appointed by the Mayor and one by the Board of Supervisors; two city retail business customers: a large business customer appointed by the Mayor and a small business customer appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The Rate Fairness Board will: (i) Annually review the five-year rate forecast; (ii) Participate in one or more public hearings with respect to rate recommendations prior to the Commission adoption of rates; (iii) Provide a report and recommendations to the Commission with respect to the rate recommendations. (f) The Rate Fairness Board may, in connection with periodic rate studies, submit to the Commission rate policy recommendations for the Commission's consideration, including recommendations to reallocate costs among various retail utility customer classes.
(g) The Commission may transfer revenue to the City's general fund only after meeting both of the following conditions: (i) The Commission is serving San Francisco retail customers and the Controller certifies that the Commission's rates, including any surcharges, are below the rates that would be charged by the local utility distribution company, and (ii) Revenues are adequate to meet the financial requirements of subsection (b), above.
8B.105 DISPLACEMENT OF UTILITY WORKERS. The City shall negotiate with non-City employees laid off as a result of the City's acquisition of any electric generating facility or electric distribution and/or transmission system as a result of the City providing electric service to residential and commercial customers located in San Francisco regarding an appropriate severance allowance.
If any part or provision of the amendments to the Charter provided herein, or their application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the amendments, including their application to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected by such a holding and shall continue in force and effect. To this end, these amendments are severable.
APPROVED AS TO FORM: DENNIS J. HERRERA, City Attorney
Deputy City Attorney