You should not have to choose between paying your SMUD bill or groceries. I support continuing bill forgiveness if you lost your job because of the pandemic, and setting rates based on your ability to pay. But if that's all we do, we're just putting a Band-Aid on the problem. I also will help you make changes to your home so you don't have to use as much energy. I will help you get solar panels so you can make your own free energy from the sun, no matter your income or type of home. And I will work to reduce SMUD's long-term fixed costs, so you pay as little as possible if you still need to buy SMUD's energy.
I will push to shut down SMUD's five fossil fuel power plants ASAP, starting with the three that are making people sick in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods. I will end SMUD's self-defeating and divisive attacks on rooftop solar, and push to rapidly move to 100% clean energy - of all types and sizes. We must rapidly scale up assistance to both homeowners and renters of all income levels to help them cut their energy use. And we have to keep it real for the public, which means we fess up if we're falling short, rather than using accounting tricks to hide our progress.
Wildfires and intense winter storms are our new normal. You should be safe from power outages, which have devastating impacts on life-sustaining equipment, food or medicine in the refrigerators, air conditioners/heaters, and medical equipment. But SMUD 's reliance on long-distance power lines and dwindling hydropower is making us more vulnerable. The solution is right here in our amazing community. I want to partner with you to make more of our clean energy locally, on rooftops and carports, and store that energy in batteries large and small, so we can keep the sun's amazing energy close at hand.
As a nonprofit community utility, SMUD needs to keep a balanced budget. But in a warming world, with amazing new technologies that can help people make their own energy and supply extra to their neighbors, SMUD needs to change its attitude from being a monopoly to an enabler of neighborhood self-sufficiency. That means getting serious about setting rates that encourage people to rely less on SMUD and more on themselves. This in turn lowers SMUD's long-term overhead costs, which keeps rates stable for everyone. We know how to do this and remain financially sustainable. The only obstacle is SMUD's monopoly mentality.
SMUD is our community-owned utility, but has acted like a PG&E-like corporate monopoly for too long. The SMUD Board works for you. That means we should share leadership with you. Ask you what you want. Listen to what you say. Not just through faceless surveys, but through regular community forums, located in your neighborhood, during times that are scheduled around YOUR busy life, not mine.