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Daily Business Report — Jan. 19, 2012

SDG&E ‘Network User Fee’ for Solar Users Banished

A plan by San Diego Gas & Electric to charge a “network use fee” to users of solar energy was stalled by the California Public Utilities Commission. At a presentation to a City Council committee last November, SDG&E presented the charge as a fairness issue, since solar customers are hooked up to the grid but not paying for the upkeep of wires and other infrastructure.

The plan, part of a wider proposal to restructure its rates, met fierce criticism from area politicians and green energy proponents. The California Center for Sustainable Energy estimated the average single-family home customer with solar would have to pay $350 under the plan, and school districts would have to fork over $8,100 for each elementary school with rooftop panels.

SDG&E argued that customers would still be saving money with the solar option.

A ruling by Commissioner Mark Ferron called on the utility to resubmit its proposed rate structure without the solar charge. His ruling can be appealed.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a fierce critic of SDG&E, released a statement in which she said the commissioner “saw through the utility’s distortions.”

“The proposal was dead on arrival because it wasn’t crafted for fairness — it was designed to kill off competition from solar providers,” Jacob said. “San Diegans should never forget how SDG&E forced struggling public agencies to spend time and attorneys’ fees fighting an illegal plan crafted without any input from the people impacted by it.”

The company did not issue a statement.

Separately, SDG&E released a proposal in which customers who can’t produce their own solar energy can purchase it from a remote site, either from SDG&E directly or from a third-party provider. That plan will also require CPUC approval. Less than 30 percent of customers can take advantage of rooftop solar panels because of structural, shading or ownership issues, according to James Avery, a senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.

— San Diego Newsroom

North County Developer Curt Noland Dies

Curt Noland

Curt Noland, who oversaw the development of the San Elijo Hills master-planned community in San Marcos and other residential and mixed-use communities in San Diego County, has died. He was 55. Noland died Jan. 17, at his Carlsbad home after a six-week battle with esophageal cancer. As vice president and senior development officer of HomeFed Corp., Noland managed entitlement, design, development and sale of several HomeFed projects, including the 1,980-acre San Elijo Hills community. Others included approximately 2,800 acres within Otay Ranch in Chula Vista, a 1,600-acre vineyard in Madera County and approximately 2,600 acres for a future community in Santee. “Mr. Noland’s contribution to HomeFed and the development and building industry is immeasurable, considering the quality and size of the residential and mixed-use communities that were developed under his leadership in San Diego County,” said Paul Borden, president of HomeFed Corp. Today, San Elijo Hills has more than 2,400 homes, a dozen businesses, an elementary school and a middle school, a 19-acre park, more than 1,000 acres of permanent open space and 18 miles of hiking/biking trails. A longtime Carlsbad resident, Noland is survived by his wife of 29 years, Marlena; sons Phil, Dan and Andrew; father Al of La Mesa; sister Elyse Black of Escondido; and brothers Bruce of Phoenix and Eric of La Crescenta. Services are pending.

OliverMcMillan Plans Downtown Mixed-Use Project

OliverMcMillan has announced plans to develop a new mixed-use project on a 45,000-square-foot lot at 12th and G Street in Downtown San Diego. OliverMcMillan, together with OliverMcMillanFoster, is creating a new strategic partner in Capri Capital, resulting in the transfer of the property from OliverMcMillanFoster to OliverMcMillanCapri. This is part of a new joint venture with Capri Capital, a global real estate investment and development firm. “While this new deal is still in the development phase, we are energized about infusing new life into the development and the nearby community in Downtown San Diego,” said Paul Buss, president of OliverMcMillan.  Plans include 207 apartment units and 6,000 square feet of retail space. The firm plans to break ground in December 2012, pending approvals from the city.

Palomar San Diego Hotel Sponsors Fun Scavenger Hunt

Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton Hotel, kicks off a “Scavenger Hunt with Friends” for locals and hotel guests on Friday. Using the iPhone and Android mobile application “Scavenger Hunt with Friends,” Hotel Palomar will send guests and locals alike on a citywide hunt, seeking everything from iconic cultural landmarks to famous eats, and hidden hot spots revered by native San Diegans. The free mobile application allows participants to hunt on their own time frame. Instead of physically collecting items, participants will upload photos of the found treasures. The creativity of the photos is the ultimate tie-breaker, so imagination is encouraged. Guests and locals who haven’t yet swung open a 1,200 pound door or captured their best surf pose on camera now have the chance. “We think this is a perfect way for participants to have fun and experience the nooks and crannies of San Diego, while having a chance of winning some great prizes,” said Mark Van Cooney, general manager of the hotel.

How to participate:

Download the free “Scavenger Hunt with Friends” application to your mobile device (application is available through iTunes and Android Market) starting today. Open the application and create username and password.

Tap on the “Hotel Palomar San Diego” hunt listed at the top of the screen and join the hunt. The scavenger hunt and 72-hour countdown officially kicks-off on Friday at 8 p.m. when the list of clues will be revealed. When an item is found, take a photo and upload it to the application. To win, contestants must complete the hunt and upload photos to fit the clues. For more details, visit facebook.com/HotelPalomar.SanDiego and click on the “featured” tab. The prize for the winner includes a two-night stay for four guests in Palomar San Diego’s luxurious penthouse suite, dinner for four at Saltbox Dining and Drinking, four 60-minute spa treatments at Sè Spa, and an Apple iPad 2.  An awards ceremony will be Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Hotel’s Summersalt lounge.

Charitable Foundation Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

The Escondido Charitable Foundation will celebrate its fifth anniversary on Friday with a celebration at the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido. The event will include comments on “Giving is a Gift” — The Personal Impact of Philanthropy from Bob Wilson, philanthropist and Escondido native; Jack Raymond, Escondido Charitable Foundation Founding Chair and Bob Kelly, president and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. The remarks will be moderated by Ken Lounsbery, former chair of the Escondido Charitable Foundation and partner with Escondido law firm Lounsbery Ferguson Altona & Peak.


The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.


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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: info@probolskyresearch.com