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Sustainability and Mobility

Public Power

Public Power Feasibility Study

photo of Downtown Library at nightIn conjunction with the award of the gas and electric franchises to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in July 2021, a corollary action was identified to investigate the feasibility of an alternative to the provision of electric and gas services from an investor-owned utility (IOU) through some form of municipalization and establishment of a public power entity.  

In February 2022, a request for proposals was issued, and a contract was awarded in October 2022. The Feasibility Study will be executed in phases, increasing in focus and detail in each phase, following review from staff, City leadership, any applicable advisory boards and City Council. 

The Phase 1 report was released in the summer of 2023 and covers the following:

  • Process Map outlining the legal, regulatory and financial steps to municipalize.
  • Public Power Entity Options – options for the structure of a Public Power entity with current examples (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Sacramento Municipal Utility District) and City of Anaheim Public Utilities Department) and pro/con analysis for each.
  • Initial financial determinations regarding SDG&E system.
  • Initial financial and operational options and needs for Public Power entity.  

Based on stakeholder feedback of the Phase 1 findings, the Phase 2 report would include (but not be limited to):

  • Detailed analysis of identified preferred structure(s) for a Public Power entity and detailed process map of setup and handover of system management from SDG&E.
  • Further financial determinations regarding SDG&E system and financing options and opportunities available to the City to acquire the system.
  • More detailed financial and operational options for the Public Power entity, including changes in operations/management/labor agreements/rate structures from the current California Public Utilities Commission-regulated requirements on IOUs.

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