Things You Learn When You Are Stuck in the Elevator with SFPUC Power Staff

The SFPUC’s Hetch Hetchy Power System and CleanPowerSF programs combined serve about 80% of the City’s electricity demand. What does it take to keep these programs running?

As part of Public Power Week and Energy Awareness Month, one SFPUC communications team member took elevator small talk to the next level. The short elevator ride and chat with Power Enterprise colleagues Claudia Saft and Murshida Chowdhury helped shed light on the people who help keep the power on.

Claudia Saft (right) with her 12 year old.

Claudia Saft – Commercial Division Assistant Supervisor, Hetch Hetchy Power

Q. What is does your role entail as a Commercial Division Assistant Supervisor?

Saft – I work on the team handling billing for our Hetch Hetchy Power customers. From our largest municipal customers to our smaller residential customers, we process their Hetchy energy bills through our electric billing system.

Q. You’ve been at the SFPUC for almost 30 years ─ congrats! What changes has your division experienced during this time?

Saft – Over the last 30 years, the number of Hetch Hetchy Power accounts and the size of our own team have both grown. When I first started as an Account Clerk, Hetch Hetchy Power was within the bureau of Light, Heat and Power and it was just my boss and me managing all the accounts. Now, we are a team of seven, including two new temporary staff, working with a much larger account load.

Q. What has kept you at the SFPUC?

Saft – My team is a huge reason I’ve stayed at the SFPUC. The people in my unit get along well and support one another. We are always willing to pitch in and help.

Q. What’s on the horizon in Hetch Hetchy Power billing?

Saft – We will soon be implementing a new electric billing system that will allow us to better serve more customers on different billing rates.

Q. What is one of your greatest achievements?

Saft – My 12-year-old daughter is the highlight and joy of my life.

Murshida Chowdury.

Murshida Chowdury – Utility Analyst, Hetch Hetchy Power

Q. What does your role entail as a utility analyst for Hetch Hetchy Power?

Chowdury – To support San Francisco’s goal for sustainability and green energy, I manage operations and maintenance for 22 solar projects across the City of San Francisco as part of the Distributed Energy Resources Projects, I monitor incoming data from these solar projects to ensure performance and when necessary, coordinate with field services and City vendors to make replacements and repairs.

Q. What motivates you to do this work?

Chowdury – I love to serve the community and I am inspired by how the SFPUC is bringing renewable energy to the community at affordable rates. I like how our work benefits San Francisco residents and improves quality of life across the City while preserving the environment.

Q. What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?

Chowdury – I liked the solar project that we recently completed at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. For this project we replaced three inverters (Inverters convert direct current (DC) from the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity). Completing the project required successful coordination with our vendors, field services, engineers, and customer and accounting teams. We worked together as a team to make the project a success. It is also a beautiful site to work on and visit!

Q. What is something most people don’t know about you?

Chowdury – I volunteer in my free time for women empowerment causes and I’m supporting education for underprivileged children for the last 11 years. In my spare time, I also like to create art work such as painting and graphic design.

Kiara Herman (middle) on a day of impromptu outfit-matching with CleanPowerSF staff.

Kiara Herman – Utility Analyst, CleanPower SF

Q. What does your role entail as a utility analyst for CleanPowerSF?

Herman – I work on CleanPowerSF’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to analyze our 20-year projections for CleanPowerSF’s energy demand and build a blueprint for how we will meet that demand. Beyond a growing customer base, many external factors impact the size of our load from the proliferation of electric vehicles to City ordinances around the electrification of buildings and City-wide renewable energy targets. I’m also responsible for emissions reporting and tracking for CleanPowerSF’s two energy options, Green (48% renewable) and SuperGreen (100% renewable).

Q. What motivates you to do this work?

Herman – Climate Change is one of the most pressing issues we face, so it’s exciting to see how CleanPowerSF’s operations are translating to real, quantifiable results by reducing the emissions related to San Francisco’s electricity use. San Francisco is a climate leader and I enjoy working on local solutions that influence state and national action.

Q. What’s on the horizon for CleanPowerSF?

Herman – We’re looking to source more of CleanPowerSF’s energy from local renewable projects, with a preference for projects in the Bay Area that create local jobs. We’re also expanding our portfolio of customer program offerings.

Q. What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Herman – I was a college radio DJ and hosted shows on everything from rap to the Simpsons to Soul. At one point, I also hosted a call-in advice talk show.

Q. Favorite place to visit Hetch Hetchy Power in action?

Herman – The main library after work and during lunch.