City Council Okays Gloria’s 5-Month Extension With SDG&E

by on December 31, 2020 · 0 comments

in Energy, San Diego

By Rob Nikolewski / San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 31, 2020

The San Diego City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal brought forth by Mayor Todd Gloria to extend the city’s existing franchise electric and gas agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric by an additional five months.

The extension, which runs through June 1, continues the terms of the current agreement that was set to expire Jan. 17 and is designed to give city officials more time to negotiate a new deal while clearing up uncertainty regarding the millions of dollars SDG&E pays to the city in franchise fees.

Gloria’s proposal to the council comes after the newly elected mayor and his staff negotiated with the utility over the Christmas holidays. On Tuesday, SDG&E’s board of directors agreed to add five months to the existing contract.

“This is an important step that will allow us to create a better energy future for all San Diegans,” Gloria said in a statement. “The extension gives us enough time to work together — with robust public participation — to craft the best possible set of terms that bidders for the new franchises must meet.”

SDG&E spokeswoman Helen Gao said the utility is “ready to work within the city process to compete openly and fairly for the new franchise agreements. Our 4,400 employees remain deeply committed to serving San Diego residents and businesses.”

Despite the 9-0 vote, a number of council members who preferred a one-year extension criticized SDG&E for wanting a shorter term. According to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, any extension had to be agreed upon by both parties — the city and the utility.

“SDG&E has boxed us in,” said Councilman Joe LaCava, adding, “We have to wonder whether SDG&E is a partner or an adversary.”

Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera was more blunt, saying the utility declining a one-year extension demonstrates SDG&E is “using the budget deficit, the ongoing global health crisis and the transition of new city leadership to their advantage.”

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