Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UPDATE - Legislation to Study/Allow San Francisco to Provide Electric Service to Private Developments

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - November 25, 2014

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee passed this legislation with a recommendation for the full Board to approve it.

This is unsatisfactory to the members of BOMA, who had suggested amendments to the legislation with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) that would have allowed the City and County of San Francisco to provide electricity to select new private developments by mutual agreement.

Since the amendments were not included, the legislation would leave the private development and building owner community with no choice: If the SFPUC decides it is advantageous for it to provide power to the property, it will do so, regardless of whether it is of mutual benefit to the private property owner.  This policy may also affect existing buildings that undergo any significant (over 10,000 square feet) of rehabilitation or renovation 'where such service would be consistent with the PUC’s resources, budget, business plans, and priorities.'

BOMA strongly objects to having its members coerced into contracts for electric service by the SFPUC without it being a mutually agreed upon arrangement. The history of our members’ relationship with the SFPUC has been one of collaboration and cooperation. This legislation potentially sets up the private property community for a confrontation with the City over the issue of who is going to supply the property power. It’s a confrontation that’s totally unnecessary.

In the late 1990s, BOMA San Francisco had a power pool, when direct access was allowed under the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) rules. We negotiated a deal to provide power to our membership after interviewing and dissecting offers from 17 different power providers. We would still be doing so, had it not been for the energy crisis, the collapse of Enron, and the CPUC closing the door on future direct access contracts. When given the opportunity, BOMA’s private property owners will always opt for the ability to negotiate the best deal for their properties and their tenants who ultimately pay for much of the energy costs.

BOMA urges the Board to reconsider this recommendation from Land Use Committee and to send it back for further study.

If you have any feedback, please send it to johnb@boma.com and kenc@boma.com.

UPDATE - September 2, 2014

Please note that BOMA San Francisco members met with representatives of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to discuss BOMA's concerns regarding this legislation as detailed below.  They are considering our suggested amendments are working with Supervisor Scott Wiener's office now.  More information will delivered to you as necessary.

If you have any feedback, please send it to johnb@boma.com and kenc@boma.com.

Original Post - August 4, 2014

Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation that would amend the San Francisco Administrative Code to evaluate the feasibility of the City providing electric power to private developments and projects.

Click here to read the ordinance, and here for the executive summary.

The following are a few details/concerns regarding the ordinance, in its current draft, that have been discussed with members of BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC):
  • The City is allowed to sell power (pg. 1/lines 17-19);
  • The measure is attempting to study, and eventually allow San Francisco Public Utilities Commission power to be delivered to new City developments. (pg. 1/lines 23-25; pg. 2 lines 1-6);
  • The measure is also attempting to study and eventually allow SFPUC power to be delivered to other private projects over 10k sq/ft - this is ambiguously defined (Existing buildings?  New developments? Tenant improvements?) and needs to be clarified.  This could be an issue for BOMA members. (pg. 2/lines 6-12);
  • Why is this happening?  The SFPUC can use the additional revenue from serving electricity to new customers to address deferred maintenance of infrastructure projects.  (pg. 2/lines 21-23);
  • Requirement to Study Feasibility (pg. 3).  What does 'certain other private projects seeking City approvals' mean (pg. 3/lines 5-6)?  Also, (lines 7-10) who pays for the study?   

If you have any feedback, please send it to johnb@boma.com and kenc@boma.com.  A meeting with Supervisor Wiener and our members has taken place recently; the next discussion will be with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials. 

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