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Hetch Hetchy Power Customers Projected to Save More Than $35 Million This Year During COVID-19 Pandemic
San Francisco’s public power utility also helped propel the City’s transition to 100 percent renewable electricity despite challenging year
Posted Date: 12/29/2020 10:30 AM
San Francisco, CA –With the COVID-19 pandemic leaving a significant hole in the City budget, Hetch Hetchy Power—the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s 100 percent greenhouse gas free electricity source—is projected to save its municipal customers more than $35 million this year. The program also propelled the City closer to its goal of 100 percent renewable electricity with its first solar plus storage project, among other notable goals achieved during this difficult year.

“This year hasn’t been easy for any of us, but we feel fortunate we could provide bill relief to our Hetch Hetchy Power customers while still prioritizing San Francisco’s climate goals,” said SFPUC Acting General Manager Michael Carlin. 

The $35 million in savings represents what customers would have paid as customers with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Hetch Hetchy Power has generated clean energy for more than 100 years, proving electricity for facilities like City Hall, the San Francisco International Airport, City College of San Francisco, public schools and San Francisco General Hospital. It also powers Muni vehicles and an increasing number of private and affordable housing developments.

Besides monetary savings, Hetch Hetchy Power customers avoided pumping dirty emissions into the air thanks to its 100 percent greenhouse gas-free energy mix, a significantly cleaner source than the alternative offered by PG&E.

In addition to providing much-needed bill relief to municipal customers, the public utility provided a 30 percent discount to qualifying Hetch Hetchy Power residential customers through the SFPUC’s Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program. Since the program launched in May, 27 percent of Hetch Hetchy Power’s residential customers have seen about a $15 reduction in their monthly electricity bills.

Hetch Hetchy Power continued to prioritize the City’s transition to 100 percent renewable electricity. The utility constructed and energized its first solar plus storage project at the Diamond Heights Police Academy. This system will allow excess solar energy produced during the day to be stored in batteries and used at night instead. This project represents the City’s shifting focus to resiliency amidst wildfires, blackouts and planned outages on the PG&E-owned grid.

Hetch Hetchy Power has also met the demand in rooftop solar systems through its GoSolarSF program this year. Since the program launched over ten years ago, it has supported nearly 6,000 new solar systems and provided $30 million in rebates. Only a few incentive categories in the City have funding remaining.

Hetch Hetchy Power also stepped up when wildfires threatened the state in August. To help bridge the gap between electricity demand and a decreased supply due to the extreme heat and wildfires, the SFPUC increased its hydropower generation to help keep the lights on for California residents.

In a dark year, Hetch Hetchy Power also helped to brighten up San Francisco—literally. In addition to managing approximately 25,000 streetlights in the City, Hetch Hetchy Power energized the iconic Pink Triangle in June and more recently, holiday lights across the City as well as the new LED display in Golden Gate Park—all with 100 percent greenhouse gas-free energy.

Along with Hetch Hetchy Power, the SFPUC operates CleanPowerSF, the City’s community choice energy program, which serves over 380,000 residential and commercial accounts. Collectively, the two systems meet over 70 percent of the electricity demand in San Francisco. 

About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission 
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. Our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfwater.org.