The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Milestones – The Power Switch! – Opinion

Silicon Valley Power is a $775 million company. It is an autonomous entity owned by the City of Santa Clara and in turn, Santa Clara residents.

Being independent has proven to make SVP a super low-cost entity, supplying competitive power right next door to that powerhouse giant, PG&E.

The majority of the power generated by SVP is used by industry with residents making up between 5 to 6 percent of its total usage.


The rest of the power created by SVP, roughly 90%, goes to commerce and industry.

The Weekly and Silicon Valley Voice have lifted the curtain on some of the issues of this entity and asked questions that some don’t wish to have addressed. Particularly, General Manager Manuel Pineda.

SVP has passed along three rate increases to residents over the last two years. When you consider SVP is a $775 million company, and that residential customers represent only 5% of that revenue, these rate increases don’t reflect effective executive planning and execution. They would do little to offset increasing costs, driven in large part by the growth of data centers.

Recently, residents have witnessed the influx of data centers which use tremendous amounts of power and employ skeleton crews.  These few employees add minimal tax revenue to the city. Our Planning Commission did the right thing earlier this month in rejecting an application for another data center proposed to be built on the Northside of town.

Pineda’s job is to make money for the city and its residents…not use city resources to benefit one group of customers.

Pineda was recruited by Deanna Santana, who used the city coffers as an income-boosting piggybank for her cronies. Maybe Santana’s influence has shaded the thinking of those directing SVP.

Santa Clara’s base of industry continues to drive the largest revenues for SVP. Data centers use the most electricity — 80% — and return the least in city revenue.

Mr. Pineda and SVP need a reminder of what drives commerce, industry and cities. It’s called profit. With rates 40% lower than the competition, SVP staff already have the greatest sales pitch in California. SVP doesn’t need to subsidize businesses to take up our limited space, use our low-cost power and pay minimal taxes just to make a sale.

Thank you, Planning Commission, for injecting sanity into SVP’s decision process and rejecting another data center application. Now, require a bottom-line increase from SVP that’s equitable for residents and asks data centers to pay rates that reflect their impact on city costs.


  1. Tommy C 3 weeks ago

    Not only do data centers use most of our electricity, they also use enormous amounts of water. No one ever mentions this. But I’m aware of it, so everyone should be nervous. You really should contact me Miles.

  2. Jim 3 weeks ago

    How about a TAX on business’s electricity usage? Base it on the number of on-site employees, the fewer on-site employees, the higher the tax. Make sure retirement homes and hospitals should be exempt.

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