‘Power San Diego’ Begins Campaign to Replace SDG&E With Non-Profit for Ballot Measure in Nov. 2024

by on November 16, 2023 · 12 comments

in Election, Energy, San Diego

The Power San Diego Campaign today published its initiative to replace SDGE in the City with a not-for-profit, publicly-owned electric utility. Signature gathering to qualify the initiative for the City’s November 2024 ballot will begin in December.

“This is a campaign for those tired of paying the nation’s highest electric rates, for those tired of paying to provide more than $1 million of profits every day pocketed by SDGE,” said Bill Powers, chairman of the ballot campaign. “It’s a campaign to cut utility bills and tap the enormous rooftop solar potential in our community. The Power San Diego campaign will bring a proven, not-for-profit model to San Diego, a model already providing cheaper electricity to millions across our country.”

California has an array of non-profit electric utilities, including in Sacramento, Los Angeles and smaller cities. “The public utilities around our state are different but they share one characteristic,” said Dorrie Bruggemann, the Power San Diego campaign manager. “They all charge less – in some cases hundreds of dollars less each month– than SDGE.”

Studies indicate a non-profit utility in the City of San Diego could save individuals hundreds of dollars each year, while helping to expand clean, renewable electricity.
SDGE is on track to extract more than $440 million in profits this year from the pockets of the city’s utility customers. Making matters worse, SDGE expects their rates to continue rising by 10 percent each year.

As San Diegans pay the steep price of ever-rising profits for SDGE’s shareholders, one in four customers have fallen behind in their utility bills, racking up an average $600 in back payments due. Wider availability of rooftop solar could cut costs for hundreds of thousands and help fight climate change. But SDGE has pressed for cuts in solar programs and supported utility taxes to make going solar much harder. Why? Because rooftop solar threatens SDGE’s profits.

As a non-profit, Power San Diego would encourage the expansion of rooftop and parking lot solar.

It’s time for a change. The campaign’s citizens ballot initiative will create a not-for-profit power electric distribution utility in the City, to be known as “Power San Diego”, that will replace SDGE’s expensive electric service.

Power San Diego would be directed by a five-member board with oversight by a Citizens Oversight Committee. The not-for-profit utility would need experienced workers and expects to fill most positions with former SDGE staff. The new utility will welcome union representation and pay employees compensation and benefits equal to or better than those in their current collective bargaining agreements.

Power San Diego’s mission will be to serve the needs of San Diegans, be a good union employer and keep rates as low as possible, while protecting the environment. It will not need to satisfy demands for ever-growing profits from Wall Street investors. Not-for-profit electric utilities continue to form around the country. Over thirty have been established in the US in recent decades, including New York’s Long Island Power Authority, which services far more customers than the City of San Diego.

In addition to providing lower rates, not-for-profit utilities are ranked high in customer satisfaction surveys. SDGE, meanwhile, ranks lowest the West on customer satisfaction. Studies commissioned by the City of San Diego project that establishing a public power utility is feasible and a money saver. The Power San Diego campaign will conduct a signature drive to get its initiative on the ballot and, just as important, let residents know we have a choice: San Diego can have a utility that is accountable to its customers and provides affordable, reliable service!

The campaign to get the initiative on the ballot November of 2024 will require just over 80,000 signatures. Signature collection will begin December 7th and continue through May. A formal kick-off and signature-collection training event will be held at First Unitarian Church on Dec. 5th.

Power San Diego is an initiative launched by advocates and experts, along with a growing number of consumer, environmental and community groups. The campaign encourages SDGE’s customers in the City to visit our website, wearepowersandiego.com, and learn how they can contribute to firing SDGE and create a not-for-profit utility in our community.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

chris schultz November 16, 2023 at 11:59 am

If Sacramento is at .17 KWh and LA at .28, I’d like to see Power do better than the 20% less they propose which is about .35KWh since there’s a 30 yr bond attached to payoff.


Judy Swink December 3, 2023 at 1:09 pm

Both Sacramento and LA have had publicly-owned electricity distribution for many decades, Sacramento for 75 years and LA for over a century. Of course, their rates are lower. San Diego’s Public Power will have – as you note – a bond issue to pay off so rates will of necessity be higher than for longer-established entities.

Sacramento: https://www.smud.org/en/Corporate/About-us/Company-Information

Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power: https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/ladwp

Here’s a list of other municipalities in California with municipally-owned utilities. https://www.publicpower.org/public-power-california


Cheryl November 16, 2023 at 5:32 pm

I hope the figures can be worked out because politicians seem to be very fond of SDGE. It is left to us as citizens to do something to stop the gouging.


Robert I. Price November 16, 2023 at 7:03 pm

I spent almost 40 years in Nebraska. NPPD, Nebraska Public Power Districts were awesome. I now live in Oregon, most people do not believe me when I try to tell them about Nebraska. If Nebraska can do ti, so can you.



Nanci Kelly November 17, 2023 at 7:39 pm

Information from people like you, RIP, will go a long way to helping San Diegans understand Public Power. Hope you can attend the meetings to provide valuable first-hand input.


andy November 16, 2023 at 9:56 pm

Imagine working AGAINST solar. SDGE deserves to be fired. If we ALL vote, we could do damage.


Michael foulks November 24, 2023 at 12:15 am

crossing my fingers on this one. Working against solar? Immediate TERMINATION. Agree.


Nicholas November 17, 2023 at 2:34 pm

We need quiet leaders to step up and help. SDGE will spend millions fighting this, so we will need new leaders and volunteers to come out and place signs around the city. Spread the word and demand we revoke the legal monopoly from SDGE. Please, spread the word on social media, and do whatever you can. We will all benefit from cheaper rates.


Deb porter November 18, 2023 at 10:14 am

Can I sign up online?. I may not be able to go to the church on Dec. 5…


Judy Swink December 3, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Yes, you can sign up online. Go to https://wearepowersandiego.com/volunteer/


a November 19, 2023 at 8:25 am

What time is the meeting on Dec.5th at Unitarian Church?


Judy Swink December 3, 2023 at 12:57 pm

December 5, 2023 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Bard Hall, First Unitarian Universalist Church 298 W Arbor Dr San Diego, California 92103


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