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Community speaks up for Community Choice at California Public Utilities Commission meeting on April 6 in Santa Rosa

Ann Hancock addresses CPUC 4-6-17

Community speaks up for Community Choice at California Public Utilities Commission meeting on April 6 in Santa Rosa

Half of the thirty-two people who spoke at the April 6 meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission spoke in support of Community Choice Energy and/or Sonoma Clean Power. A strong showing of support for Community Choice.

Ann Hancock noted the auspicious nature of the location, Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, as being the location of the first official vote of support for climate action in December 2001. Many actions followed, including identifying Community Choice as the most powerful tool available to local governments to reduce greenhouse gases. Noting her excitement about the growth of Community Choice over the past few years, she urged the Commission to foster a level regulatory playing field for Community Choice vis a vis the big utilities.

Geof Syphers of Sonoma Clean Power thanked the Commission for directing them to work with Southern California Edison and other stakeholders on the exit fee issue. Exit fees are fees charged to Community Choice agencies for power that was purchased on behalf of customers by the big utilities who no longer receive that power. Mr. Syphers noted that although he has concerns he is “more optimistic than any time in the past” that a good resolution will be found.

Bob Williamson, an early opponent of Community Choice who has served on its citizens’ committees since the early days, and who seems to have come around to support Community Choice, also addressed the troublesome exit fee issue. Acknowledging the underpinning rationale for exit fees, Williamson asserted that “for your own [CPUC] credibility the [fees] should be logical and clear.”

Julien Gervreau of Jackson Family Wines stated that they have been a happy customer of Sonoma Clean Power since its inception in 2014 and that their “bills have decreased 5-8 percent” as a result. He went on to say that the presence of SCP has enabled the winemaker to offer “a higher quality, more sustainable product.” He urged the Commission to continue its support of Community Choice in California.

The Commissioners have varying degrees of understanding and support for Community Choice. Two of the members are recently appointed and so are on a steep learning curve on a wide variety of issues, including Community Choice. None of the Commissioners live in a Community Choice service territory, so they all lack that benefit of first-hand experience that we in Sonoma County enjoy. President Picker has expressed concerns about Community Choice, so it is important that he and all of the Commissioners hear from folks who have experienced the benefit of being a customer of a Community Choice agency.

Much appreciation to all those who came to stand up for Community Choice!

Watch the entire video here: http://www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc/voting_meeting/20170406/