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Where We Stand On The Mayor’s Franchise Proposal

On March 16, the Mayor released his proposed deal terms for the new electric and gas Franchise Agreements. These bids have a direct impact on the city’s ability to reach a climate safe and climate ready future, especially as we begin our efforts to get us off methane gas.

After careful review of the franchise bids, we do not believe the terms allow us to meet the pace and scale of the crisis, and we will continue to fight for a better deal. The most important deal term being the length of the contract5 years or 20 years.

Over the past few months, there has been an extensive process for community feedback in all of the Council districts, and San Diegans uniformly asked for short term agreements, study of public power, an offramp to the current provider, pathways to meet our climate goals, accountability, and equitable climate action. The proposal fails to heed that feedback. Notably, it also falls short of meeting the Council’s expectations.

That isn’t to say there aren’t any elements we like. The Mayor’s call for strong worker protections, biennial audits, administrative streamlining, and an oversight committee are commendable, and we hope they survive negotiations with SDG&E.

However, those elements cannot make up for the various poison pills in the agreements, which include:

  • An automatic extension clause that hands SDG&E a de facto 20-year deal

  • No simple appraisal Right to Purchase clause to give the City a viable offramp to public power in the future

  • A Cooperation Agreement written and dictated by SDG&E, who has, at best, refused to cooperate on important issues in the past, and, at worst, undermined the City’s climate and community goals.

We’ve outlined our concerns and remedies in this twitter thread linked here.

The Mayor and City Council still have time to get these deals done right to meet the community’s clear expectations for Franchise Agreements that center our public needs, not SDG&E’s profits.

We look forward to continuing to work with our elected officials and the community on striking a deal that can help meet our CAP goals and put the City back in the driver’s seat.

Stay tuned and thanks to the many of you that have sent in emails, participated in the forums, made calls and remain committed to this fight. Together, we can do anything! Always keep the faith. We never give up.

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