Community Engagement

San Diego City Council Committee Approves Contract To Study Public Power

A San Diego City Council committee on Sept. 15 signed off on a contract for a consulting firm to examine the feasibility of the California city transitioning to a public power utility.

The contract approved by the San Diego City Council’s Environment Committee is with NewGen Strategies & Solutions LLC.

According to a City Council Staff Report related to the contract, NewGen will provide feasibility study reports to the Mayor’s Office and City Council on the process, costs, risks, and opportunities that would be associated with transitioning from the current electric and/or gas franchise agreements with investor-owned San Diego Gas & Electric to a public power entity.

The report notes that In conjunction with the award of the gas and electric franchises to San Diego Gas & Electric in July 2021, a corollary action was identified to investigate the feasibility for an alternative to the provision of electric and gas services from an investor-owned utility through some form of municipalization and establishment of a public power entity.

The Energy Division of the San Diego Sustainability and Mobility Department was identified by San Diego’s Chief Operating Officer as the most appropriate staff to develop such a study with the support of consultants with significant technical expertise in all areas and aspects of such a process.

A request for proposals (RFP) for a Public Power Feasibility Study was issued on Feb. 9, 2022 and closed on April 1, 2022.

The city received three proposals in response to the RFP. NewGen Strategies & Solutions was selected as the top ranked proposer meeting all the requirements of the solicitation with the greatest experience, expertise, and past performance in providing the technical support necessary to successfully deliver a comprehensive and thorough feasibility assessment of pursuing public power as an alternative to the current franchise structure, the staff report said.

A staff presentation prepared for the Sept. 15 Environment Committee meeting noted that NewGen has been involved with a variety of municipalization efforts.

The American Public Power Association offers a number of resources related to municipalization on its website.