A new group known as the Clear the Air coalition has risen up to discourage the city of San Diego from taking on San Diego Gas & Electric.
The city wants 100 percent of electricity sold within city limits to come from renewable sources by 2035. SDG&E argues that it’s too risky and too expensive to abandon natural gas-fired power right now. So, the city is thinking about buying energy for its 1.4 million residents by becoming a community choice aggregator, or CCA. The City Council could vote on the switch in the next several months.
Clear the Air formed in mid-September to question and delay the city’s attempt to enter the energy market.
And with it, the battle lines are set as both sides mobilize their networks of partners who are, to varying degrees, open about their economic interests.
Clear the Air has 13 inaugural members, most of whom are well-connected to SDG&E, which has a history of fending off similar challenges to its monopoly in the past.
Three of them work for SDG&E or its parent company, Sempra Energy. Frank Urtasun is the head of a Sempra lobbying arm, Sempra Services Corporation. Lani Lutar is also a lobbyist for Sempra Services. Dan Hom is the CEO of Focuscom, a public relations firm that does community outreach for SDG&E.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
CCA is an obvious no-brainer. Sources are there, and increasingly developing. Yes, we will need natural gas for the near term until more storage capacity is available. SEMPRA made a big investment in LNG terminal in Baja when everyone thought that we'd need to import natural gas, then fracking showed we didn't. So, now they want us to be captives to their obsolete plan. So, ask yourselves, what would be the savings by removing SDG&E's profit margin? And, anyway, under the CCA plan, int's voluntary. You can stick with SDG&E if you want. So, that's chioce....don't buy their scam on this.
This article does an excellent job of exposing the lack of transparency in many, many organizations in San Diego that purport to represent our interests, but which are fronts for various power structures. Mr. Hong notes that his association, which purports to represent taxpayers, receives donations from SDG&E, but so does VOSD. Fine, but his organization is a shill for SDG&E. VOSD is not. This town is an old boys network in which the wheels are greased by money. If you look at the various boards of the major civic nonprofits, you will see the same names over and over. None of this is in the public interest. It's all in the interest of the underlying businesses.
As for the proposal at hand, this is a David and Goliath debate. On the one hand is a monopoly that makes millions from San Diego ratepayers. On the other is a proposal that would provide competition to the monopoly. What a surprise, the monopoly is fighting tooth and nail to preserve it's hegemony. If anyone thinks this is an effort to protect ratepayers, they are fooling themselves.
For the entire US to go 100% renewable it is estimated to cost $17 trillion. The current value of the US electric infrastructure is estimated at $1 trillion. San Diego can't afford to fix it's sidewalks, let alone go 100% renewable.
At the end of the day people just want the lights to turn on, like they do already.