The City Should Pump the Brakes on Government-Run Energy

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Voice of San Diego

The Gist:

The city of San Diego is relying on a study it says shows reason to move forward on setting up a government-run energy program. But the study fails to credibly show that such a program is even feasible, and it confirms that there are too many unknowns to make an informed choice on establishing one in San Diego.

In their drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a number of communities, including San Diego, are pursuing community choice aggregation, or CCAs – a government-controlled energy program. These entities seem like a viable solution in some instances, but the analysis San Diego is using to potentially move forward with the plan is deeply flawed. With our environment and finances at stake, there is too much uncertainty to move forward with confidence.

I want to achieve reasonable climate goals that benefit San Diegans. Our environment has always been vitally important to me, but as an economist, my training has taught me to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of any plan.

The CCA concept is relatively straightforward: A government entity replaces the public utility as the purchaser of power to more actively

The Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma University, for which I serve as chief economist, was commissioned by Sempra Services to conduct an independent analytical review of the study the city commissioned to help determine the feasibility of a government-run energy program in San Diego.

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It is critical that we openly discuss all opportunities and options for achieving San Diego’s climate action goals. The choices we make today in implementing this bold policy vision will shape San Diego and the lives of its residents for generations to come, so we need to make sure we get this right. 

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