Challenges Seek to Overturn Council Vote on SDG&E Franchise Agreements

by on May 28, 2021 · 1 comment

in Energy, San Diego

By Rob Nikolewskia / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 28, 2021

A pair of challenges have been made to the new franchise agreement between the city of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric, seeking to overturn the City Council’s 6-3 vote to approve the deal that will see the utility continue providing electric and gas service for the city for up to 20 years.

Normal Heights resident and environmental advocate Jay Powell says a provision in the new agreement violates the city charter and the local law firm of Aguirre & Severson has reiterated its complaint that the council should not have held the meeting in the first place, alleging a violation of the state’s open meetings laws.

In letters to each member of the council, Powell focused on a provision dealing with the length of the agreement. The new pact, called a “10 plus 10” agreement by Mayor Todd Gloria, has a term lasting 10 years, with an automatic renewal for another 10 years.

After the initial 10 years, the city has a window in which it can void the agreement “for any reason,” provided that two-thirds of the City Council agrees to do so.

But Powell, who also is a member of the city’s Sustainable Energy Advisor}’ Board, says while the city charter allows the council to grant, renew or amend a franchise agreement on a two-thirds vote, the charter does not contain a provision that would allow a supermajority of the council to terminate the deal. “As a citizen, I rely on the city charter and the rules,” Powell said. “As I’ve said, read the instructions and that’s what you have to go by.”

Powell wants discussion of a new agreement to go back to Gloria’s office and then to have another vote before the City Council. “It’s not sour grapes,” Powell said. “It’s just illegal, at least that’s my reading of it.”

In an email to the Union-Tribune, the City Attorney’s Office said it has reviewed Powell’s concerns and disagrees with his interpretation.

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Gravitas June 1, 2021 at 11:06 am

Anyone checking the fine print on the future of the “tiers” for those with medical needs oxygen at home, for example.
They were all included in the medical tier 1….for the least costly rates. Seems important with long haul COVID survivors and a long list of others using electrical devices (motorized wheel chairs, etc.) for basic needs.
Just asking …


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