Stop the Shell Shock? More Like Stop PG&E's Lies

Have you heard about this "Stop San Francisco Shell Shock"? If you live in the City and you use Facebook, google, or Pandora, odds are you've probably seen these misleading ads. In a nutshell, this is a last ditch attempt by PG&E’s union to block CleanPowerSF--the program to give San Franciscans the choice of buying 100% clean energy. CleanPowerSF is the single biggest step the City can take to directly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, and PG&E’s gang is doing everything they can to stop it.

Here's the super short version:

  • Do you want to have the option of switching to 100% renewable electricity? If so, you should support CleanPowerSF. Here’s the Facebook page to find out more:
  • Or would you rather continue PG&E's monopoly on electricity service in the City and continue to have no choice except to buy their dirty energy? If so, then forget about CleanPowerSF and feel free to click on those misleading "Stop the Shell Shock" ads.


When we try to figure out complicated or obscure local political arguments, we like to start by looking at who is supporting which side. This one is pretty clear:

Who Supports CleanPowerSF?
SF Bay Area Sierra Club
SF League of Conservation Voters
World Wildlife Fund
350 Bay Area
SF Organizing for America
Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano
John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi, Scott Wiener 
And of course, the League of Pissed Off Voters!

And Who Opposes CleanPowerSF?
IBEW Local 1245 (Union of PG&E employees)
Mayor Ed Lee (who says PG&E is "a great corporation")
Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd, Mark Farrell
And that's about it.

But Doesn't Shell Suck?

Yes, unfortunately the initial contract for CleanPowerSF is with Shell, which is a big ugly energy corporation. BUT:

  • Shell's only role is to buy 100% renewable electricity for us on the wholesale market and deliver it to the City. None of our money will go to fossil fuels.
  • The wholesale electricity market is big and complicated and unfortunately full of shady corporations. Shell was the only company willing to take on this first phase of setting up the contracts to buy 20 megawatts of clean energy. 
  • This is a short-term (4.5 years) contract to get CleanPowerSF up and running. After that, the Public Utilities Commission can either take over the program themselves or make a new contract with someone else.

What's Happening with CleanPowerSF Now?

Unfortunately, nothing. The Board of Supervisors approved the contract back in last September. The last step that needs to happen is the Public Utilities Commission needs to approve the maximum rate for CleanPowerSF. But, the PUC commissioners are all appointed by the Mayor--friend of PG&E who opposes CleanPowerSF--and he's been leaning on them hard to stall or kill the program.

But it's getting harder and harder for them to delay. The PUC staff has dramatically improved the program since the Supervisors originally approved the contract last year: the price has decreased dramatically while also dedicating more money to building local renewable energy sources.

What Can You do to Help?

Email the Public Utilities Commission (and please CC us and the Board of Supervisors!) and tell them to quit messing around and approve the "not-to-exceed" rates for CleanPowerSF! Seriously, email them now! They're voting Tuesday, August 13th at 1:30 p.m. Here's our email you can use as an example:

To: Public Utilities Commission ([email protected]), Board of Supervisors ([email protected]), League of Pissed Off Voters ([email protected])

Dear Public Utilities Commission,

Please vote to approve the proposed not-to-exceed rate for CleanPowerSF at your August 13th meeting. It’s been almost a year since the Board of Supervisors approved the contract for CleanPowerSF! Since then, you have discussed and deliberated and debated these rates to death. We understand you have concerns about what mix of renewable energy CleanPowerSF will have, where the energy will come from, and how much local power generation we’ll be able to build. We’re concerned about all that too. But here’s the thing: we can’t make progress on any of that until you approve the dang not-to-exceed rates! 
So please, no more splitting hairs or speculating on the future details of the program. Approve the not-to-exceed rates. That will give the Board of Supervisors their opportunity to evaluate the rates, and then the City can FINALLY sign the contract and get on to implementing CleanPowerSF. Once that happens, we’ll be right there with you to make sure we’re building as much green power as we can, as quickly as we can, with local, union labor. 
The threats of global climate change are too dire and too imminent for any further delay or debate. CleanPowerSF is the single biggest step we can take as a City to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and set an example for the rest of the country. Please approve the not-to-exceed rates for CleanPowerSF and let’s make this happen!
Most sincerely, 
(your name here)

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Paid for by the San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters. Financial disclosures available at


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