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Notch another win (mostly) for Community Choice Energy

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

CPUC adopts a favorably amended resolution, initially a big problem for emerging Community Choice agencies

Clean energy advocates, local government elected officials, and Community Choice agencies (CCAs) scored a partial victory at a voting meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in San Francisco on February 8th.

Inundated by “thousands of emails” according to one of the Commissioners, a draft resolution that would have created an effective freeze on CCA formation was amended favorably. The revised resolution was issued to the public 3.5 business days prior to the voting meeting. That amended resolution was adopted.

The amended resolution E-4907 is unquestionably better for emerging CCAs than the original draft, but it still imposes new procedural requirements in order to launch service. The adopted resolution only applies to an interim period in 2018 and 2019 and all emerging CCAs will be able to launch within a reasonable time frame. How Resource Adequacy and unintended cost shifting issues will be addressed after that period will be taken up in the appropriate formal proceedings, one of the key demands of the CCA community. The amended resolution is intended to facilitate an orderly transition to CCA service, ensuring that over-procurement of Resource Adequacy does not occur.

Over forty speakers lined up to share their support for Community Choice and express their concerns about the amended resolution and on a variety of related matters. Significant concerns also remain among many in the CCA community regarding CPUC authority overreach, process, and bias in favor of the delivery utilities.

Resolution E-4907, as originally drafted, was the most recent challenge in a long history of challenges to Community Choice, every one of which has been resolved in a way that not only empowers CCA to move forward, but strengthens the CCA community. Highlights of that list include:

  • Proposition 16, the $46M 2010 ballot initiative paid for almost entirely by PG&E that would have stopped CCA in its tracks.
  • AB 976, a 2012 bill that would have hamstrung CCA consultants.
  • The notorious AB 2145 of 2014, where local governments and CCA advocates rose up across the state to stop the bill that would have flipped the opt-out choice structure on its head, once again, effectively destroying Community Choice.

As we have in the past, the Center sprang into action on December 8 when the original resolution was issued, and worked with our friends, supporters and allies over a two-month period to challenge the substance of the resolution and the deeply flawed public engagement process that was used. And here we are in 2018 with challenges yet to come, for sure, but with an even more powerful statewide constituency ready to rise and act effectively on a moment’s notice.

News Conference and Rally

Earlier in the day CCA and local government representatives, joined by CCA advocates from throughout California – about 60 people in all – joined for a news conference and rally prior to the meeting.

Our sincere gratitude to the news conference speakers who came from near and far: Francesca Vietor, Commissioner, SFPUC, who offered welcoming remarks; Efren Carrillo, former Sonoma County Supervisor and founding governing board member of Sonoma Clean Power; Jan Pepper, Peninsula Clean Energy CEO and Los Altos City Councilmember; Steve McShane, Salinas City Council member; Lindsey Horvath, Councilmember, City of West Hollywood; Dave Pine, Supervisor, San Mateo County and Peninsula Clean Energy governing board; Rod Sinks, Vice Mayor of Cupertino and Founding Chair of Silicon Valley Clean Energy.

Other elected officials who attended and/or testified at the hearing included Lucas Frerichs, Davis City Council and Valley Clean Energy Alliance; Mike LeBarre, Mayor of King City; Dwight Worden, Mayor of Del Mar; Justin Massey, Hermosa Beach City Council; Shelly Kaplan, Councilmember, Cathedral City.

A robust thanks also to the many organizations  that participated including Communities for a Better Environment, various 350.org regional groups, Local Clean Energy Alliance, California Alliance for Community Energy, Interfaith Light & Power, GreenPower, a project of the Romero Institute, Organizing For Action, East Bay Clean Power Alliance, The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, SLO Clean Energy, the Climate Action Campaign, and many others.

A finally, a hearty thanks to all CCA supporters and advocates throughout the state who sprang to action in December and January to defend Community Choice Energy. Count this one as a measured win for Community Choice. More info & news will be posted in CPX E-news on this matter in the coming weeks as it becomes available.