tv [untitled] September 22, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PDT
questions that i'm going to ask each one of the nominees because i think it's important for us to continue to have these discussions. again, i'm happy that you're being reappointed. one of the issues that's come up, during the discussion of the prop "f" campaign, and questions that are on hetch hetchy, is the issue of water recycling. and we know that san francisco, the puc, has led this effort, has done a great job in terms of water conservation. but clearly more needs to be done so that we are recycling our water. i'm wondering if you can comment on that issue, and your willingness and commitment to work with puc, going forward with our new general manager, who is here in the audience. thank you, mr. kelly, for being here. i'm wondering if you can comment on that. >> certainly. i'll be happy to. we're all very aware of that. and conservation is very
important, recycling is very important. and we lead the state and the city of our conservation. i don't want to get going on prop "d", because i don't want to make a big fuss. but i mean it's ridiculous. i am -- i'm angry that we have to take the time to fight this. i'm angry that if it does pass we have to spend $10 million, where we could be spending that money elsewhere. but i quite agree with you, supervisor, we have to move forward on the recycling. >> co-chair campos: i appreciate that. the other -- i have two more questions that again i will be asking each individual, is on the issue of community choice aggregation. as you know there was an historic vote that took place on tuesday. and one of the question -- one of the things that needs to happen is that the item will have to come back at some point to the san francisco public
utilities commission. so i'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about your commitment to make sure that, as a commission, you're doing everything that you need to do to make sure that that program, going forward, is properly implemented. >> well, one of the few commissioners that have been working on this for eight years, it's almost like giving birth. finally, it has come, and it's been a lot of hard work. i do think that there are supervisors that do have some issues. and i think that we have to try to work through those. i am fully committed to it. and i think, though, to be very honest with you, i think we have to choose the participants, the initial participants very carefully, to get the program going. >> co-chair campos: and i have a last question, and this is something that is actually not so much an immediate issue that the puc will have to deal with,
but i think it's important for us to think about the future. as you may be aware, the interconnection agreement between the city and pg&e will be coming up for renewal. it will actually expire in july of 2015. and i really think it's important, because there have been so many questions that have arisen over the way in which the interconnection agreement is drafted, and there has been a lot of litigation and disputes between the puc and pg&e. i really think it's important for the puc to consider not only modifications to this agreement, but maybe even rechanging the way in which we think about that relationship. you know, you are aware that there have been disputes over who provides power to things like public toilets, the ferry building, muni bus shelters, and a lot of it comes from the way in which the interconnection
agreement is worded and drafted. and i know that a few years ago, there was a discussion of using a different mechanism, you know, to govern that relationship. so i'm wondering if whether or not you agree that it's important for us to explore different options, and to make sure that we take that opportunity to really change what has happened in the last few years. >> i quite agree. and from day one, back there in march of 1997, we've been talking about this. and i quite agree. and we are working towards that now. it is a very difficult problem. >> co-chair campos: thank you. >> uh-huh. >> chair kim: thank you. i just had a few questions as well, which i'll ask all the commissioners. one of the issues that has come up during the cca discussion was what work the commission was going to do with the department to ensure proper outreach to our low income ratepayers, in
particular those that don't speak english as their first language. and i was curious as to your thoughts around that, as we move forward with this policy. >> i do think the same policy that we have in place now should be afforded to that as well, to the population that you -- to which you speak. our concern was not whether they could participate. our concern was that they wouldn't know about the program, and how to opt out, and getting it in the language that they need to read it in, and that all the outreach was happening. my question is, how would you, as commissioner, ensure that the puc was doing this type of outreach and education work? >> supervisor, we have not discussed this within the commission. but my feeling is, is that putting a flier in a bill is not the way to go. we've physically have to be out, talking. we have to use visuals.
and that -- talking about visuals, i think we should start using visuals about our whole system. people do not understand what we're all about. and i think that's going to be very important, reaching the proper people so they fully understand. very important. >> chair kim: thank you. thank you very much. seeing no other questions, i will actually call up the next appointee. and our next appointee is francesca vietor. thank you. same format as earlier. thank you so much for being here. again we recognize that you're areappointment to the puc. so if you could speak briefly about your experience on the commission and what you hope to prioritize in the next term. >> thank you very much for the opportunity. so i've been on the commission for four years now.
and it's really been quite remarkable to see the seat change at the puc in these last four years, as far as environmental issues go, and sustainability. so i'm just very pleased and proud of those efforts. and it's really been a team effort, of course under the leadership of general manager harrington but also the other commissioners who have done an outstanding job, as well as the staff. some of the highlights i see are around energy efficiency and renewable programming that we've rolled out in san francisco especially with our municipal buildings. cca i think is a culmination of those efforts and really a historic opportunity. i want to congratulate the port on those efforts and what happened this week, yesterday, day before yesterday. >> this week. >> so that's really exciting. i think there's been a lot that's happened on the energy front. on the waterfront i appreciate your question about water recycling because i think we're finally making headway and it
should have happened a number of years ago, not only on recycled water but better management on groundwater, rain water and water harvesting. we're seeing legislation that the city can do more to support and also bring on line. stormwater management we're seeing a lot in that realm as well. the water system improvement program i think has been a really exciting program as well. and if i'm reappointed i look forward to being able to help see the completion of that, as well. and then we are about to embark on the sewer system improvement program, which is going to be huge. a lot has happened in the wastewater realm but i think we're now all of a sudden realizing potential for green infrastructure, low impact design. so better stormwater management, keeping stormwater out of our system and really taking advantage of some of the greening opportunities and the added benefits that that provides for neighborhood beautification, for community benefits, for, you know, environmental opportunities, for
communities that might not otherwise see them for job opportunities. so that's been a big piece of work to really bring that on line and get that launched. and as far as moving forward, i think cca is going to be incredible opportunity and there's going to be a lot of work, reaching out into the communities that most need to hear about what -- are. this is really about a choice and we have to make sure that it is a choice for people and that they know they have a choice. and it's a good choice, 100% renewable. we need to move in that direction. it's just amazing. i think the great promise of cca is local built-out, the generation that we will be able to do within san francisco. so we need to make this first step a success. and from the commission's perspective, that would be a piece of work that i would dedicate myself to doing, making sure that that cca program is really a success. >> chair kim: thank you. you've heard the questions already but i'll ask supervisor campos -- >> co-chair campos: thank you.
commissioner, as i did with commissioner cane, thank you for your service. i think you're absolutely right in terms of the change that we've seen at the puc in the last few years. and i think that to a great extent you have a lot of responsibility in making that happen. so i want to thank you for that. i think you've answered the issue of water recycling. i know with cca, you've been a strong supporter. so i know that you will do whatever you can to make sure that we properly implement that program. i do want to know if you could speak briefly on the issue of how do we find a better arrangement than what we have right now between pg&e and the city, and the interconnection agreement. how do we find a different arrangement for the transmission and distribution of energy, and whether or not you think that that's something that we should pursue, and wonder if you can comment on that. because my goal is how do we
avoid some of the dyspiewts that we've had. >> yeah. i mean i think the interconnection agreement is a huge opportunity for san francisco, and pg&e, to a certain extent, if we can work collaboratively on getting them to a place that can really support some of the goals of the city. i think cca is really going to play into that because we're already bringing on retail customers from the puc perspective with treasure island and hunter's point. it's going to be an opportunity to really look at the puc and public power as a bit of a provider and what that can really -- the promise of what that can bring. in the next couple of years i think we're going to see a lot more and the steps that we take, and research that the staff does, should really inform what that new agreement is going to look like because i think there's been a lot of confusion and conversation around, you know, is it public power -- is the ferry building municipal entity, is it a private entity. and there needs to be -- might even need to move up to the
state at some point to create some clarity on those pieces. so i think that the work is definitely going to be cut out for the staff on what the strong agreement will look like. >> co-chair campos: other utilities, and this is not a question, just a point, a lot of other utilities use news market mechanisms and don't rely on interconnection agreements to resolve some of these issues. the issue of municipal load and those disputes is because of the wording in the interconnection agreement. hopefully we can figure out a better way of structuring this relationship and what other utilities are doing i think is a good example for what we could do. but thank you. >> i think also on the local generation piece, if we do distribute generation, that's going to play into it as well. if we start bringing a couple of projects on line it will determine how that agreement should be drafted. >> chair kim: thank you. and you had touched on this, but i was hoping you could speak a little more specifically on
outreach for our low income tenants and monolingual customers. i appreciated commissioner caen talking about how we don't just want to have signs, we want people talking about the visuals and i was curious about your thinking around this as well. >> yeah. one of the great accomplishments i think in the last few years have been our community benefits policy, and environmental justice policy. and we're really using that as sort of a framework for are our operations. and as such, we've -- we're really investing in a team of people that are working on community benefits, implementation, and we really see that squarely, the cca outreach piece, squarely in that part of the operation, where they will be responsible for really going into the these communities and making sure that they understand what the choices are, and through a variety of means, whichever way sort of speaks to whatever community, you know, whether the bills will be one aspect, do some public meetings may be another one,
maybe some billboard campaign, whatever it is, it will get people to know that they have a choice. an>> chair kim: we chatted about this before but being that you represent the environment policy seat, i want to -- i was hoping that you'd speak about some of the energy efficiency efforts that the puc is making. and i had mentioned that we have a lot of for example single room occupancy buildings that are much older but could use the benefits of some of these improvements. i hope you could speak about how we could target these efforts and our low income community, help them with energy consumption. >> i think energy is where the big change can happen. i think renewables haven't quite caught up so it's still relatively expensive. the savings you get, not only financially but environmentally are nos at good as energy efficiency. i've been an advocate for energy
efficiency dollars, the dollars should go toward energy efficiency until the market mechanisms change and we've done a lot in the municipal sector, and we haven't done as much sort of on the sro or even the public housing, if you will. i think it will be interesting, as we bring on these -- the treasure island and the hunter's point and these other retail customers to really say what can we do from an energy efficiency perspective to not only meet some of our climate change, greenhouse gas reduction reduction targets but also lower the bills for some tenants that really need reduced costs. and we are very committed to making sure that the energy costs and billing for low income communities stay at an affordable rate and that will continue to be a priority on this commission. >> chair kim: thank you. i appreciate you bringing up treasure island. as i mentioned to you last time, we got a number of complaints, of course power outages not the fault of the puc because they
run the power through an infrastructure which they don't own but i look forward on figuring out how to address that very challenge. thank you. seeing no other questions from the committee, at this time i will call up vince courtney, our last reappointment to the puc commission. >> good afternoon, supervisors. i think you already know me. my name is vince courtney, a fifth generation san franciscan, and i'm here to appeal to you to move the recommendation of not just myself, but commissioners vietor and caen as well. the reason we're having success at the puc is because we have a very well balanced commission. i see president mor moran. i think the city is in a good position having some of that
institutional knowledge and experience at that level. just a little bit about why i think i'm here. i think the reason that i'm here is because of my organization. i'm a part of the laborer's union. it's a union that, you know, we're long on follow-through. we work well with community groups. we work well with members in the community. we work extremely well with other labor groups. we work well with business groups. and we're doing the best job that we can to further the interest of the workers that we represent, but not just those workers, the workers represented by the other labor organizations and those workers not represented by labor organizations. every opportunity we have to find common ground, we certainly do that. the puc is unique because there are so many job opportunities, and it's really about jobs for the people that live here. and i've had an opportunity to work very closely with a lot of community advocates related to work projects, for example, congratulations, supervisor campos.
we talk about a build-out related to clean power sf. the laborers in particular are very spited about what could potentially be hundreds of thousands of hours of work opportunities, not just for members of our union, but for members of all of the construction trades union. i see mike and he knows what i'm talking about. so we're eager to move forward with those discussions but we're also careful, and responsible enough to acknowledge that the devil's in the details and we will be dealing with who's going to be selected automatically to be in that program, how we're going to communicate with those folks, what kind of outreach that we're going to be doing. and i can assure you that, from my position, just like the other commissioners before me, i know what we're going to do, we're going to make sure that staff provides us with the information that we need, and a recommendation so that we can make sure that your constituents have all the information that they need, up to and including a task force for informing them in
their native tongue or community outreach meetings. whatever it is, if we have to work with some of the cbo's or some of our friends in the environmental community, i'm in favor of doing that as well. but i am proud to be here. i'm proud of the men and women that i serve. i'm proud of our leadership. and i'm just hoping that, you know, i do right by them. >> chair kim: thank you, mr. courtney. supervisor campos. >> co-chair campos: thank you. thank you very much, commissioner. and i think that there are a couple of your friends in the room, not that many. i don't know. but, you know, you mentioned mike -- and i have the pleasure of serving with director they h, and i have -- i really think it's critical to have that labor voice and perspective on an agency like the public utilities commission in san francisco.
i think it's really critical that that voice be represented. so just going back to a couple of things that i mentioned. i think you talked about some of the issues that supervisor kim raised but in terms of cca making sure -- if you could talk about your commitment to make sure that we implement it in the most effective and expedited way possible, and a fiscally responsible way, and also on the issue of water recycling, and then the interconnection agreement. >> thank you, supervisor campos. on cca, it is the will of the people. and it is years and years and years of heavy lifting, of -- i don't think that the lifting has been completed yet. but i'm certainly going to be in a position to make sure that all the parties are heard. i would assume that we'll have a number of conversations at the commission level. i would hope that we would get some assistance from your office, after hours, and during
the business day. but i think it's pretty clear that san francisco, with the help of this board, obviously the help of this mayor, is the innovation capitol of the world. and i think sometimes it's easy to organize around no. i reject the short path, as does ramone, oscar, and tim pollson. we like to organize around yes. it can cause us to lose friends, sometimes. but often times, i think that when we're representing the interest of our members, we move forward on landmark historic things. we find new friends along the way. so i'm pretty excited about what's transpiring. i'm also excited about the real potential for jobs and growth because, as most of you know, we've been discussing our desire to forward good jobs, and sustainable economic growth. and i think this can really tie
in nicely with our agenda. with respect to water recycling, i understand it that we have a very successful recycling program. i also know that, from time to time, again, people tend to reject change. it causes them some disruption in their lives. i happen to live in a community project where, you know, the garage goes into a community garage bin, and you have to take it by itself. so you actually have to sort, on the curb, yourself. and it can be difficult. but it's the right thing to do. and i believe that we've done the right things. i know jerrod blumenfeld was a big part of that. i look forward to working with people like commissioner ar say, commissioner on the environment and hopefully we will have seamless working relationships with the puc and the environment
and flush out some of those issues. i'm excited about -- i was excited to have opportunity to work with ed harrington, but i'm really quite frankly extremely excited to be working with harlan kelly. i think harlan kelly will be someone that will excite our membership. and aside from some of the conservation issues, i think the building issues and the innovation issues are certainly going to be at the top of his agenda but i certainly don't speak for general manager kelly. there was one final item that we wanted to discuss, and i -- >> co-chair campos: the interconnection agreement, i assume you're open to exploring different ways of structuring the relationship between pg&e and the city? >> i think -- i think that, given the consumers the impression that there's a true monopoly is not a positive message. i have been a public power advocate in my prior life.
but being affiliated with this organization, sometimes you tend to focus specifically and almost exclusively on the agenda of that organization, which i believe is appropriate. but i'm open to having those conversations. i can commit that i will always be prepared, truthful and deliberate as it relates to flushing those items out, abilityd i and i would expect that you would expect nothing less from a commissioner reporting to you. >> co-chair campos: thank you. >> chair kim: thank you, mr. courtney. my question was again on just the outreach to low income ratepayers, and those who are monolingual other than english and the rollout cca proposal. >> i believe that we should have an opportunity, as a commission, or any individual commissioner, to request, from staff, a
detailed, but bullet-pointed proposal for our consideration. i would ask that we agendize such a memorandum for consideration at the full board, and make sure that we have the brightest minds because i'll tell you, aye been -- i'm 46 years old. i work with a lot of people. but there are some brilliant folks at your public utilities commission. management, upper management, whether you're talking about -- we heard about money, and power, right, barbara? but also, juliet is quite capable, mr. richie, and the rest of them. i'm confident that they will assist me at getting the information that i request from them. but frankly, i would have to -- i wro would have to concede thai don't have enough information about how we actually do that kind of reachout in those different languages. but i'm all ears. >> chair kim: thank you. hopefully your union will be
helpful on getting the word out in our communities because i know many of your members live in san francisco which i very much appreciate. thank you. i don't see any other questions from committee members. at this time we will open it up for public comment items 2, 3, and 4. iei have speaker cards, espanola jackson, al jen son, winerub, ana al frer alvarez. if you would like to speak for one, two, or three individuals, feel free to do that. >> espanola jackson, and my card says 2, 3, and 4. if you look at it. you know, in your question that commissioners, one of the things
that i didn't hear brought up was about solar, because puc was the first agency -- and i think i was its first customer, to make sure that i got solar on my home. i think that not only them working with you, but you have other city departments that they should be working with. you make sure that they work with. because other commissioners, they're doing their thing. but everyone should be working together, especially city planning and department of public works. because when buildings are going to be built, it should be stated that every building have solar. you know, i was interviewed by kpix, and i know i'm all over the world, when i -- when i got my solar. my electrical bill is $4.19 a month. everybody should have solar.
now, i'm low income. i'm a senior citizen. and i'm on social security. and this is the best thing in the world that can happen to the citizens of san francisco. and i also wanted to say to you that i have worked with these commissioners. and some are new, to me, i will say. about my community, bayview hunters point, as you know, bayview hunters point is where your sewage plant is. and like commissioner caen stated, 10 years ago we were suppose to get the -- going and that hasn't happened. and i don't want to see these commissioners broken up because of the fact i have time to train other new commissioners. okay.
thank you very much, and i... >> chair kim: thank you. >> you all have a good day. >> chair kim: thank you. i also want to recognize that we have two department heads here today, mohammed, public of public works and -- from rec and park department, if you'd like to speak on this item, and we have soon to be department heads -- and we also have general manager and future department head for the public utilities commission, harlan kelly here as well. thank you so much for being he here. >> so what can i say about my bosses. well, it's really exciting time. i've been with the puc for nine years. and i tell you that the commissioners that we have in place is a ea