A month before the election
on the largest solar energy initiative in U.S. history, we don’t know what
Measure B does other than mandate that DWP and its IBEW union own, install and
maintain 400 megawatts of rooftop solar units on commercial, industrial and
public buildings and that the mayor and City Council will be given the power to directly
manage all aspects of the program.
* The Department of Water and
Power initiated with much fanfare the nation’s most aggressive solar energy
program in the
were spent on public relations and community outreach, resulting in massive waste identified in City Controller audits and very little green energy.
* The DWP promised 100 MW of solar power in the city but has produced just 12
MW. DWP gave discounts to the largest users effectively prohibiting solar installations.
DWP and IBEW blocked repeated efforts to plan and produce a rooftop solar
program and even at times sharply cut funding for home units. Three solar
manufacturers set up operations in
demands for a monopoly on all major solar installations.
* Three mayors and the City
Council have proven themselves incapable of forcing DWP to move forward on
solar energy. Measure B is a City Charter reform that removes the wall
protecting DWP from being politicized by giving the mayor and City Council
direct control over all aspects of this program, even contracting.
* No planning, no cost
analysis, no technology study have gone into Measure B. It’s simply a blank
check to the DWP and city officials. Most of the money will go to
hundred new jobs in
* City Hall revenue has
soared by more than one third in three years yet overspending has created massive
deficits of more than $400 million, 10 percent of the General Fund. It will get
worse with the $43 billion state budget shortfall. Federal stimulus money will
fund public works projects, not solve the city’s General Fund problem. City
officials have yet to seriously address the budget problem and now are asking
for billions for solar without any safeguards.
* Electricity rates have
risen sharply and are certain to go much higher even without this massive solar
energy initiative. DWP has allowed its power grid to deteriorate from a lack of
investment. It has the largest coal-burning power plant portfolio in the
will not close any of these plants. It will not even meet demand caused by
over-development and the 900 digital billboards already approved. DWP must
invest billions of dollars in its power infrastructure even without initiating
this costly solar program.
* Solar energy has nearly 100
percent public support but Measure B is not the answer. There’s a better way.
Real planning, real analysis, real public debate – that’s all opponents of
Measure B are saying. We can’t trust the people who have failed us with a blank
check and no plan.