On Tuesday, November 9, at a specially planned study session, the Stockton City Council directed city staff to prepare a report and recommendation on joining an existing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) joint powers authority. The council members present voted unanimously to take this next step after hearing from a number of experts and representatives from operating CCA agencies. There are currently 23 CCAs in California, and Stockton could join any one of them that is interested in taking in a new jurisdiction.
A CCA would allow the city to buy electricity at competitive rates on behalf of Stockton residents and businesses and reinvest net revenues back into the community. PG&E would continue to provide distribution services through its power lines, while a governing board of local elected officials would decide what electricity sources residents buy from, develop local energy programs, and set rates for power generation.
The city council previously explored Community Choice Energy when it received the results of a technical study that focused primarily on the prospects of the city starting its own CCA. The technical study found that “a CCA program is financially feasible for Stockton [and] would likely be able to offer Stockton residents and businesses power that is priced at [the same rate] or a few percent lower than that offered by Pacific Gas & Electric.” The study also found that “a CCA would be well-positioned to provide additional energy services to [Stockton] businesses and residents,” provide “economic and employment benefits to the region [through] lower rates, local solar or other renewable development, and the implementation of energy efficiency programs … and create and induce over 300 jobs in the Stockton area and add over $30 million to the area’s economy.”
At a city council meeting on March 23, 2021, council members decided to evaluate other options. Joining an existing CCA allows Stockton to avoid many of the costs and steps needed to start a CCA from scratch and minimizes financial risk to the city. “Joining a JPA would be the right move for Stockton, allowing our city to leapfrog a lot of the hurdles of a single city CCA,” said Councilmember Dan Wright, a long-time champion of CCA in Stockton.
In joining a CCA, Stockton would be taking the same steps as 170 California cities and 20 counties. The state’s 23 CCAs have collectively invested in more than 9,000 megawatts of new renewable energy infrastructure, creating thousands of construction jobs in the process. They’re now serving more than 11 million customers with cleaner energy at rates competitive with or lower than the existing utility in their service areas. The Climate Center has been advocating and supporting the formation of CCAs in California since 2006 and has been working with the Stockton community since 2016 on its effort.
The report on Stockton’s options for joining an existing CCA is expected to be ready for review at a city council meeting in early 2022.