© 2021 KALW
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health, Science, Environment

San Francisco Prop. A — Paying for power

Wikimedia Commons
Power Pole, medium-voltage overhead power line


San Francisco's Proposition A is about financing power in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission deals with the city’s water, the city’s sewage, and it also provides electrical power to all city departments — from the airport to fire stations to schools.

Currently, if the Public Utilities Commission wants to issue a revenue bond to build new power plants, or to improve power infrastructure — they have to go through the voters for each bond.

But if Proposition A passes, they could issue their own bonds, with the Mayor’s approval, and a two-thirds supermajority vote from the Board of Supervisors.

Importantly this money could not go to any projects that used fossil fuels or nuclear fuel — only renewable energy allowed here.

The Public Utilities Commission can already issue bonds this way to work on water and sewage infrastructure. So this would extend the ability to power infrastructure as well.


The proposition is supported by all of the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Mark Farrell, and the Sierra Club. Supporters have raised about $60,000 for the measure.


Opponents haven’t raised any money. They include the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and city’s Libertarian Party.

  • They don’t want to give the Public Utilities Commission and the Board of Supervisor the power to bypass voters and issue bonds on their own.

  • They’re worried about rising utility rates and cost overruns.


So vote yes if you want to make it easier for San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to raise money for new renewable power infrastructure.

Vote no if you want them to continue to have to have to ask the voters to approve each bond.