A two-year struggle to defeat an insidious piece of legislation in Sacramento, Assembly Bill 976, has come to a happy conclusion. On September 27 Governor Brown vetoed AB976 and added a brief signing statement (see below). In this statement the Governor echoed what community choice proponents drove home repeatedly in committee hearings and elsewhere.
The Climate Protection Campaign worked with the Marin Energy Authority, the Local Energy Aggregation Network, the Local Clean Energy Alliance, and other community choice energy supporters throughout the state to pull off what many consider to be an upset victory. We fought big money and influential utility lobbyists trying to pass the bill.
It would have singled out community choice energy programs like Sonoma Clean Power and prohibited them from using the same consulting service before and after the launch of a program. Because Community Choice Aggregation is a relatively new field, few expert consulting services exist.
With the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2010, passage of SB790 in 2011, and defeat of AB976 in 2012, the coast is getting clearer and clearer for emerging community choice energy programs throughout California to launch.
Many thanks to all of you who joined the fight, signed on to opposition letters, and sent your own letters.
To the Members of the California State Assembly:
I am returning Assembly Bill 976 without my signature.
This bill prohibits any company from doing business with a Community Choice Aggregation program if that company advised a local government on establishing the program.
This goes too far –local governments already have plenty of laws on conflicts of interests and transparent decision making. Adding the restriction in this bill would serve only to impede efforts to establish community choice energy programs.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.