The following is a proposal to amend the City of San Diego Electric Franchise ordinance, changing the annual franchise fee paid by SDG&E to the City of San Diego from its current 3% of gross receipts to 20% until all overhead power lines are underground, as certified by the California Public Utilities Commission or other appropriate state agency [proposed section 4(e)]. Once certification has been done, the annual franchise fee returns to 3% [proposed section 4(f)].

The purpose of the fee increase is to allow the City of San Diego to close its projected budget gap, enabling San Diego to afford those services for the public safety of citizens, while at the same time providing a financial incentive for SDG&E to eliminate the wildfire threat of overhead power lines anywhere in the county before 2063 [proposed sections 4(c) & 4(d)].

So far, support for this proposal is running 100% among the people to whom I have shown it up to this morning.

Authority for a vote of San Diego citizens to alter the Electric Franchise ordinance is found in section 17 of that 1970 ordinance, as if SDG&E or Sempra Energy really wants anybody to know that.

Proposed City of San Diego Initiative Text for Adjusted Electric Franchise Fee


Ordinance 10466 of December 17, 1970 [Electric Franchise], as amended on January 28, 2002 by Ordinance 19030, is hereby amended by deleting any existing Sections 4(c) through 4(h) and by inserting Sections 4(c) through 4(f) to provide as follows:

Section 4(c). The City of San Diego foresees significant risk to persons and property from electric overhead line hazards leading to wildfires. Grantee seeks to cut electric power to county residents during adverse conditions in a manner that may or may not be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. Grantee has provided testimony to the Commission regarding Grantee's use of a Wildfire Expense Balancing Account [WEBA] for accumulating Grantee's wildfire legal costs and other Grantee expenses relating to future wildfires, where an outstanding WEBA amount that remains after all wildfire insurance payments to Grantee are applied is to be passed on by Grantee to ratepayers.

Section 4(d). The City of San Diego recognizes that for state emergency planning purposes relating to both continuity of government and effective emergency response, recovery and mitigation within the operational area that includes the City of San Diego, the local emergency management operational area is the entirety of the County of San Diego.

Section 4(e). For the remaining years of the term of the Electric Franchise, and until the California Public Utilities Commission or other appropriate state agency certifies that all overhead power lines of any capacity in the County of San Diego have been placed underground in the manner acceptable to the Commission or other agency respectively, Grantee, as consideration and compensation for the rights and privileges herein and for the use of streets as authorized and permitted, shall pay each year to the City of San Diego in lawful money of the United States, a sum equal to twenty percent (20%) of the Grantee's gross receipts of the previous calendar year, or a fractional year, commencing with the effective date of this Section for the remainder of the term of the Electric Franchise and pursuant to Section 5. Applicable statutory surcharges shall be payable by Grantee pursuant to Section 4(b). Right of Way Fees shall be credited pursuant to Section 4(b).

Section 4(f). On certification by the Commission or other state agency as described in Section 4(e), the annual franchise fee for all remaining unpaid years, or any fractional unpaid year, of the term of the Electric Franchise shall be computed pursuant to Section 4(b).


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