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California’s three big utility companies stand in the way of consumer choice

Sonoma County's Efren Carrillo kicks off the news conference where about 60 people from around the state came to support Community Choice.

by Sam Liccardo and Sheila Kuehl, San Francisco Chronicle


San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Sheila Kuehl wrote an opinion piece addressing the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, otherwise known as the PCIA or “exit fee”:

  • Since 2013, exit fees have risen more than 600% in the PG&E service area
  • The PCIA is a fee that Community Choice Energy customers pay to the major investor-owned utilities to compensate for the expensive electricity supply contracts that utilities signed on their behalf many years ago
  • In theory, the PCIA helps the ratepayers at the major utilities avoid overpaying to make up for the electricity that was bought at higher rates for the customers that left for Community Choice
  • Community Choice Energy programs are locally controlled utilities that provide residents and businesses with an energy mix that usually contains more renewables and typically at cheaper rates compared to PG&E, Edison, or SDG&E
  • State regulators have shifted hundreds of millions of dollars in the utilities’ costs to local residents and businesses using the PCIA

Liccardo and Kuehl suggest these solutions:

    • The California Public Utilities Commission should reverse recent rule changes that have accelerated rate hikes
    • The California Public Utilities Commission and legislature must adopt common-sense transparency measures around rate-setting and fees
    • The California Public Utilities Commission should adopt the recommendations of its public working group to require utilities to optimize their energy supply portfolio. Doing so would reduce energy costs for all customers

Community Choice Energy can be one of the most powerful ways to accelerate the transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy sources, and The Climate Center is working to spread it throughout California for a climate-safe future

Read More: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/California-s-three-big-utility-companies-stand-15528929.php