Mayor Gloria Opens Up Bidding for San Diego’s Utility Franchise Agreements

by on March 23, 2021 · 0 comments

in Energy, San Diego

Last Friday, March 19, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria opened up the bidding process for the city’s utility franchise agreements- the exclusive right to provide gas and electricity services to city residents and businesses.

Included among the terms for the invitations to bid is a 10-year period, plus an additional 10 years if the franchisee has been a good partner. Any new agreement would allow the franchisee to use the public right-of-way to install and maintain utility infrastructure, such as pipes, poles and wires.

Bids will be opened on April 16, after which the city may initiate negotiations with the responsive bidders, and tentatively, the franchises will be awarded in May.

Currently, the city is operating on an extension through June 1 that Gloria and SDG&E worked out, after having rejecting SDG&E’s bid for the franchise last Fall. SDG&E has had the monopoly for now over 100 years, having originally been awarded the exclusive agreement in 1920. A 50-year extension was granted by the city in 1970.

On Friday, Gloria said:

“With these invitations to bid on gas and electricity services, we are ensuring franchise agreements that meet the needs of residents, make financial sense for the city, advance our climate goals and provide equitable access to environmental benefits for all our communities. To win the exclusive right to use the taxpayers’ land to provide energy to San Diegans, bidders will have to be a good partner in our effort to create a sustainable future for all of us.”

Other terms to bid include the requirement for a cooperative agreement that will help the city achieve its climate action and environmental equity goals. The proposed franchise agreements also contain accountability measures compelling the franchisee to be a good partner and protect the city’s use of the public right-of-way. If the franchisee has not been a good partner, the city may cancel the agreement on the recommendation of the mayor and six votes of the City Council.

Also included is support for San Diego’s Climate Equity Fund, which will finance new green infrastructure in communities of color that have historically not received their fair share of investment and been disproportionately plagued by pollution.

They, in addition, include worker protection and retention language, a dispute resolution process allowing for mediation and desired terms including modernizing the local energy grid and boosting clean-energy resources.

Climate goals include working collaboratively with San Diego Community Power — the community-choice alliance under which San Diego and four other cities purchase energy on the open market that SDG&E distributes — climate-proofing the energy grid and transitioning away from natural gas and training gas workers in green-energy jobs.


These are the developments in San Diego’s quest to find a suitable franchisee over the last six months:

  • Then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer worked with the city council to set bid requirements for new franchise agreements, which were set to expire on January 17, 2021;
  • only San Diego Gas & Electric submitted a bid;
  • Gloria and City Attorney Mara Elliott determined SDG&E’s bid was unresponsive to the minimum requirements set forth in the Invitations to Bid;
  • Gloria canceled the bidding process and reached an agreement with SDG&E to extend the current agreements through June 1.

Edited from Times of San Diego – check them out!







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