The San Diego City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the tentative gas and electric franchise agreements with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) secured by Mayor Todd Gloria and the city negotiating team.
The vote passed 6-3, meeting the necessary two-thirds vote required to give SDG&E exclusive rights to provide gas and electricity to city residents and businesses in a 10-year term with the option to terminate or it will automatically extend for another 10 years.
The current SDG&E agreement expires on June 1. The new agreement supported by Mayor Gloria calls for climate equity goals like investing in solar-energy rebates in historically underserved neighborhoods, as well as worker protections and accountability measures for bi-annual audits.
"Hearing from hundreds of San Diegans, this is a good deal for ratepayers," said Mayor Todd Gloria prior to the vote. "We now have agreements to help the community’s climate action goals and more accountability and transparency."
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However, many called in to public comment opposing the deal citing climate and environmental concerns including members from the Hammond Climate Solutions.
"We have an opportunity to set the precedent for clean energy, for franchise agreements to prove we are serious about getting off of methane and dirty energy," said Tara Hammond, CEO and founder of Hammond Climate Solutions. "Unfortunately today, I think we missed the mark there, but I do hope moving forward our leaders are committed to getting us to zero carbon and standing up for a just livable future."
"I truly believe we have a better deal," said Mayor Gloria. "It's not everything we wanted but it’s not everything SDG&E wanted."
Six council members voted yes to the deal: Stephen Whitburn, Chris Cate, Raul Campillo, Marni von Wilpert, Sean Elo-Rivera and Jennifer Campbell. While Joe LaCava, Monica Montgomery Steppe and Vivian Moreno voted no.
Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn said he is mindful the deal could have been worse and said it's better than the last SDG&E deal with the City that had lasted 50 years.
"Do I love it? No," said Whitburn. "I have a lot of the same concerns that everybody else does, I have a lot of the same concerns about SDG&E, but when I look at the actual choices that are before us today I think this is most responsible decision and option for our city."
SDG&E released a statement saying "Discussions with the City of San Diego reflect their mutual commitment to meeting the City’s forward-looking energy and climate goals. Integral to both agreements is a spirit of collaboration, transparency, and a commitment to resetting our relationship with the City. These agreements call for more transparency and accountability, support the City’s renewable energy and clean air goals, and promote equity for every neighborhood.
A second vote with another two-thirds approval is needed at the upcoming June 8th meeting and if approved the deal will then be effective in 30 days.