SDUT: SDG&E aims to launch lobbying arm

August 16, 2016 – San Diego Union Tribune – Joshua Emerson Smith –

“Unfortunately, SDG&E is proving itself to be just another typical Wall Street corporation more concerned with profits than the well-being of San Diego families,” Nicole Capretz, executive director of the San Diego-based Climate Action Campaign, said Tuesday. Her group champions CCA as a way for cities to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Marketing division could be first in the state allowed to oppose city-run electricity programs – Regulators are scheduled to vote Thursday on a San Diego Gas & Electric request to set up an independent marketing division that could lobby against a government-run energy program gaining traction in the county and state. This type of program is known as community choice aggregation, or CCA.

In California, the main goal of CCA programs has been to aggressively increase use of electricity generated from renewable sources of energy. All but two of the state’s coastal counties have adopted such programs or are exploring them. San Diego and several other cities in this region are officially mulling the idea.

The marketing division proposed by SDG&E and its corporate parent, Sempra Energy, would be the state’s first shareholder-funded utility division allowed to publicly oppose the formation of CCAs.

Critics of the envisioned marketing division said it’s an attempt to maintain the public’s reliance on fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

After the public utilities commission fielded concerns about whether the marketing division would truly be run independently of SDG&E, it has required the inclusion of stronger firewall measures in the company’s proposal. The current document calls for the division to operate at Sempra Energy offices and restrict the sharing of information and staff, including independent contractors, with SDG&E.

Full story here.