Right now, our energy utilities are owned and managed by San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), which is making record profits at the expense of all of us. Over approximately the past decade, our electricity bills have jumped 30%, while SDG&E profits have nearly doubled. Enough is enough. It is time we took back control of our energy resources and demand that utility companies respect the needs of San Diego citizens.
I support community choice aggregation of local utilities. What this means is that San Diego can partner with other cities and counties to form a local energy company to buy power on the open market. Doing so means that we can dictate locally how much energy comes from renewable sources, how much the city would charge for energy, and where our energy comes from. SDG&E would still operate the grid and deliver power to local homes and buildings. However, community choice aggregation would give San Diego everything that we do not get with SDG&E: choice, competitive energy rates, strong local job creation, and local clean energy. The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to explore community choice aggregation, and already saves millions of dollars for taxpayers by buying power from sources other than SDG&E. It is past time that the City looked out for its residents and did the same.
Climate change is real, and already affecting our city. Within our lifetimes, we will see increased devastating flooding, drought, water shortages, and huge wildfires like those that swept Oceanside just last year. Time is short, but our local resources are abundant. San Diego has one of the best climate action plans of anywhere in the United States. It is time we implement that. We need to create neighborhoods powering neighborhoods.
Sunny San Diego gets enough solar energy to power the city. I will fight to develop adequate financial incentives to encourage all taxpayers to install solar panels on their rooftops. I will ensure that all city-owned buildings install rooftop solar panels. I will propose an ordinance to require all new commercial construction in the city to install solar panels or green roofs, or pay penalties for not doing so. I will propose ordinances to require all new construction in the city be built with energy efficient design and materials, local building materials, and strong insulations.