San Diego School District Backs Public Energy Program as Alternative to SDG&E

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education called on the city of San Diego this week to adopt a government-run alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric.

The board adopted a resolution on Tuesday urging to the city to implement community choice aggregation, a program that allows elected officials to buy and sell power for ratepayers in their jurisdiction. Local investor-owned utilities continue to maintain the poles and wires that deliver electricity.

Customers paying for electricity through a city-run community choice program have the option of opting out and paying the utility rates, potentially creating competition between the two entities.

An independent study contracted by the city found in July that community choice would provide more green energy at a cheaper rate over time.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has yet to take a position on community choice.

The district hopes to work with local elected officials through the program to boost the use of solar power in the region, said board President Richard Barrera.

“We believe that if the city adopted (community choice) it would advance the push in San Diego towards reusable energy and that he San Diego Unified School District would benefit form that,” he said.

The district has so far invested in solar panels at eight schools and expects to install systems at another 12 sites by 2019.

The district is also considering a number of other strategies to dramatically reduce its greenhouse emissions, from encouraging more students to take the bus to school to improving water and energy efficiency in buildings.

“The district is moving towards of goal of zero carbon emissions, and we believe we can be a net producer of sustainable energy,” Barrera said.

The City Council will face a number of votes in coming months on whether to move forward with community choice.

The shareholders of SDG&E parent company Sempra Energy, along with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, have asked the city to put the program on hold.

The county Board of Supervisors declined to study the program earlier this year after lobbying by Sempra’s shareholders.

San Diego School District Backs Public Energy Program as Alternative to SDG&E, by Joshua Emerson Smith, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 26, 2017.

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