Supervisor Jeff Sheehy is accusing PG&E of intentionally dragging its feet in a way that's keeping the lights off at two sites in his district, the newly renovated Randall Museum and Noe Valley Town Square, as well as a third project the Dogpatch, the city's latest Homeless Navigation Center. That final project, like the others, is ready to go — in fact, it was supposed to open in March, but it's just sitting there without power.
“PG&E needs to step up or step aside,” the Supervisor tells the Chronicle, who had the story.
The issue: PG&E and the Public Utilities Commission are competing over who will power the sites. But for the PUC to power them, it would want to use its Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric power, which is cheaper and cleaner than the power PG&E would use. The problem there is that PG&E owns the transmission lines that would carry PUC's electricity, and Sheehy says it's stalling to keep that from happening.
At the Homeless Navigation center, for example, the PUC submitted an application to power the shelter to PG&E, but after five months of negotiations, PG&E says the city needs to give them $25,000 for a study on the impact that hydropower would have on the power grid. “
PG&E has asked for similar studies at the Randall Museum. "The museum has been connected to the PG&E transmission and distribution grids for decades,” an incredulous PUC spokesperson tells the Chron. “The load really hasn’t changed.”
Sheehy's former aide, Andrew Powers, puts it this way: The museum “is caught up in what can only be described as a purposeful obstacle by PG&E to delay the opening of a city science museum for youth only because, as has long been the case, the city is choosing to use 100 percent renewable Hetch Hetchy power for this facility rather than less-green PG&E power.”
Andrea Menniti of PG&E disagrees. She tells the Chronicle that the PUC “slowed down the process, in some cases by not providing necessary information in a timely manner, by changing the scope of the project and by not submitting necessary payments in a timely manner.”