Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also known as Community Choice Energy, is a not-for-profit program enabled by state law that gives local governments the ability to purchase electricity at competitive rates while keeping revenues local for community tailored programs that fit community needs. It allows customer choice, brings in local economic benefits, creates local control of rate setting, creates energy resilience, enhances energy democracy, and provides local government building capacity while providing energy transparency to the public.
Currently, there are 23 established CCAs in the state of California which serve over 11 million customers with rate savings in the millions of dollars. Nearly half the state is implementing CCA and reaping the benefits of stabilized rates, cleaner energy, local revenue streams, job creation, environmental and health benefits. The Central Valley is the half of the state that has not seen these much-needed benefits that many residents in other parts of the state experience. However, that is not to say Central Valley residents do not want community choice. In 2016, a survey revealed that two-thirds or more of voters in Fresno want a choice about their electricity service, they want reinvestment of their electricity dollars in the local economy and they care about having cleaner energy sources.
In 2007, an attempt was made to establish a San Joaquin Valley Power Authority CCA. The CCA became embroiled in a legal battle with PG&E involving marketing tactics employed by the incumbent utility. The economic recession in 2008 also affected the program’s ability to find financing to support the launch. The pressures from PG&E and the recession forced the program into suspension in 2009.
Since then, the city of Fresno has reconsidered the CCA model. On Feburary14th, 2019 an informational session was held at the City of Fresno in regard to community choice energy being a viable option for the area. The information was well received and council-members were favorable of a CCA model. On June 20th, 2019 Councilmember Luis Chavez made a motion to allocate $10k for a $50k grant match, graciously offered from Sonoma Clean Power to cities wanting to explore a technical study so they could weigh the benefits of establishing a community choice energy. The motion was seconded by councilmember Nelson Esparza. When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, priorities shifted with the City of Fresno to address the immediate need to provide aid to residents.
Now is the time to get CCA back on track for the City of Fresno. Having a locally based not-for-profit electricity service provider could respond with incentive programs to help bring relief and COVID aid. It could provide energy incentives for local struggling businesses, provide charging infrastructure to low-income neighborhoods, and initiate programs that incentivize local renewable energy projects for local labor unions and others in the local workforce. A CCA could potentially even offer energy storage at little to no cost for low-income families and small businesses. This could potentially help stabilize energy costs for low-income families.
CCA is one of many solutions we advocate for as part of our Climate-Safe California campaign – a public pledge of support to enact by 2025 the bold policies required by science to put California on the path to net-negative emissions by 2030, accelerating existing state timelines.
The time is now. We need your support and voices to help push forward a Fresno CCA. To learn how you can become involved, contact: Destiny Rodriguez, Regional Community Relations.