By Tommy Hough
There aren't any District 6 dates scheduled yet, but here's the posted list so far of public meetings and community forums announced by the city to discuss the future of our city's energy franchise, worth billions of dollars.
As public interest in an eventual city-owned public utility gains traction, the 50-year agreement with San Diego Gas and Electric, the Sempra-owned utility that's been the city's sole energy provider since 1970, and for decades before that, ended at the end of last year and was due to expire last week. City council voted unanimously on a proposal by Mayor Gloria to extend the franchise agreement an additional five months through June 1st so negotiations on a new agreement can continue.
The next agreement the city signs with a provider, likely to be San Diego Gas and Electric unless another bidder enters the fray, will have broad and lasting ramifications including exclusive rights to use our city's roads, streets, and right-of-ways for transmission and distribution, as well as to install wires, poles, power lines, and underground gas and electric lines.
This marks the first time in 50 years the city is renegotiating its franchise agreement, meaning residents continue to have a historic opportunity to set the terms of our energy future. And we need to do so in a manner that is accurately attuned to the true value of the franchise.
More information and additional forums will likely be announced soon. Hopefully we'll get at least one relating to District 6. If you're curious, have a look at the city's just-expired 50-year franchise agreement with San Diego Gas and Electric, dated Dec. 17, 1970.
A former San Diego broadcaster and media personality, Tommy Hough is a wilderness and conservation advocate, communications professional, California Democratic Party delegate, and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.