To San Diego City Council re: 5/25 Franchise Agreement Vote

Sent by email to each member 5/23

To the president, president pro tem, and members of the San Diego City Council,

On Tuesday, May 25, you will cast your votes on the proposed energy and gas franchise agreements with SDG&E, shepherded by Mayor Todd Gloria. As we have requested in communications across multiple media and as you’ve heard from hundreds of our members, the Democratic Socialists of America San Diego chapter urges you to vote no. Those of you who have already committed to vote against the agreement – we respect and appreciate your conviction. To those who are not yet decided, we urge you to consider the inescapable contradictions posed by signing a 10-20 year binding agreement with an investor-owned utility staked in the long-term combustion of fossil fuels.

There has been a lot of discussion during this renewal process about the future of workers, as well there should be. No matter who owns and manages our utility infrastructure, workers on the lines and building upgraded systems are vital to assuring strong energy service we can rely on, day after day. Yet we are accelerating into a future that will render untenable a business model like Sempra Energy’s, anchored as it is on combusting the liquid natural gas it stores and transports northward from Baja California. Theirs won’t be an orderly, stable transition. If the fate of the coal industry is any predictor, our utility is likely to be sold off as its distressed corporate parent salvages parts, leaving workers in the lurch. If the distress reaches the point of bankruptcy, workers may well be the first parties to be left high and dry — paychecks and pensions in question.

There has also been a lot of discussion during the renewal process about SDG&E’s sky-high rates. Members of our chapter have talked extensively to our neighbors in Barrio Logan and Rancho Bernardo, and have gathered tenants and workers together in community forums. There is no scenario featuring SDG&E as the franchisee that rates will become lower, lessening the burden on already burdened households. Members of underserved communities in San Diego are squeezed by the forces of gentrification and low wages — high energy rates put them at risk of service shutdowns that will become increasingly deadly as global warming continues.

Please stop kicking the can down the road. Vote no for another franchise agreement with SDG&E and immediately begin the process of transitioning to publicly owned and operated power, serviced by workers with accountable union representation and a contract worthy of their contributions.


DSA San Diego

Energy Democracy Campaign