By Emma Rodriguez, Campaign Coordinator
What do you think a just and equitable transition to renewable energy looks like? It’s not an easy question to answer – but I can guarantee you everyone reading this agrees on what it doesn’t look like: a company with a monopoly on gas & electric distribution, who punishes rooftop solar owners, and charges rates that leave 1 in 4 San Diego families behind on their bills. In short, if we want a just and equitable transition to renewable energy, we need to fire San Diego Gas & Electric and their parent company, Sempra, and take control of our energy.
“Power San Diego” is a campaign to put an initiative in front of voters on the November 2024 ballot that will end the City of San Diego’s franchise agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) and create a not-for-profit municipal electric distribution utility.
Replacing SDG&E, a corporation, with a not-for-profit, would first eliminate profit margins from our bills. If the Power San Diego initiative is passed, we’d see electricity rates drop by up to 20% on the first day of the new utility’s operations. Under SDG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) projects our rates will continue to increase to the tune of roughly 10% a year for the foreseeable future.
In addition to profit and rate rises rubber-stamped by the CPUC, SDG&E is fighting rooftop solar. They see panels on homes as a threat to their bottom line. This is because local electricity generation means consumers don’t need the huge transmission lines that make SDG&E rich. They’ve pushed regulations (that don’t apply to public utilities!) which make solar less economically viable- in fact, San Diegans will soon need to pay $350 to a whopping $1400 per year more to go solar.
The reformed utility would increase staff and services. It would protect and maintain the union workforce, while keeping rates down and refocusing on promoting rooftop solar, renewable energy, and local energy generation and storage. Plus, not for profit municipal utilities tend to be more reliable than for profit utilities. 40 million Americans get their electricity from a municipal utility, including our neighbors in Anaheim, Long Beach, and Los Angeles.
Power San Diego is doing something revolutionary. Not only are we going against an oil and gas powered monopoly- we’re doing it with people power. SanDiego350 has joined a coalition of volunteers working to collect at least 80,000 signatures from Registered City of San Diego Voters by late April.
The only way for this movement to succeed in protecting the future of energy in San Diego- a future with cheap, safe, clean energy – is if EVERYONE reading this pitches in.
Lucky for you! We have some great ways to get involved in this campaign!
- First, if you are registered to vote in the City of San Diego- you can sign the initiative petition! Come to an upcoming SanDiego350 signing event to sign, ask questions, and even begin your own petitioning.
- Second, sign up to volunteer! If you are a US citizen over 18, you can become a petitioner, and anyone can volunteer their time to help with outreach, material distribution, and more.
- Finally, visit our website to learn more and stay connected.
Note: A previous version of this post stated that “…we’d see electricity rates drop by 20% immediately.” This may have been misleading. Rates will drop on day 1 of the new utility’s operations. This post has been updated for clarity.