In a move that could generate tens of millions of dollars for the city, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed legislation today that would give the city's Public Utilities Commission a "right of first refusal" to sell electricity to private development projects in the city.
The SFPUC's Power Enterprise currently sells on the wholesale market electricity that's left over after municipal uses like powering City Hall. But the city could make about four times as much money selling to private customers at retail rates.
This new arrangement would switch the default power provider for many larger construction projects, and the long-term electricity needs of whatever's getting built in booming San Francisco, from Pacific Gas and Electric to the city. It would allow the SFPUC to sell electricity to projects on public lands, those developed with public funds and any private projects seeking city approval.
Supervisors' long-stalled effort to form CleanPowerSF, a city-run, clean-energy alternative to PG&E, looms large in the new law.
"We have had a history of a monopoly in San Francisco, with PG&E, on electricity," said the ordinance's author, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener.