Communities within Los Angeles and Ventura Counties are negotiating cheaper, cleaner, and more sustainable energy sources and have them delivered using its existing supplier.
Rate payers in qualifying areas have received two mailed notices based on their last meter read date citing the advantages of partnering with Southern California Edison (SCE) to purchase clean, renewable energy.
To gain this advantage and opt for 30, 50, or even 100 percent renewable energy, rate payers in the SCE service area don’t need to install solar panels, batteries, or do anything at all—they merely opt for what level of energy source they are willing to pay for.
To achieve that goal, twenty-nine cities and unincorporated Los Angeles and Ventura Counties have created a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to obtain cheaper and cleaner energy than the utility can provide on its own.
Residents of cities with their own municipal utilities, such as Los Angeles, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, and Azusa, cannot participate in a CCA, but unincorporated Los Angeles County is eligible.
WHAT IS CLEAN POWER ALLIANCE?
Clean Power Alliance or CPA(www.cleanpoweralliance.org), is a nonprofit entity, formed through a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) made up of 31 public agencies across Los Angeles and Ventura counties—including the unincorporated areas of the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura—working together to bring clean, renewable power choices to our communities.
CCA came about in California in 2002, when Assembly Bill 117 was signed into law. It authorized local governments to band together and purchase electricity, and also required investor-owned utilities, like SCE, to cooperate with them.
As a result, Clean Power Alliance was established in 2017 to provide cost-competitive electric services, reduce electric sector greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate renewable energy development, implement distributed energy resources, promote energy efficiency, demand reduction programs, and sustain long-term rate stability for residents and businesses through local control.
Originally established as a joint powers authority with unincorporated Los Angeles County, Rolling Hills Estates, and South Pasadena as founding members, it quickly grew to a coalition of 31 agencies across Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Spearheading the initiative for Los Angeles County is Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who is the vice chairman of the board of directors for the CPA and a fierce advocate for the future of green power.
“I’m very proud of our work bringing this kind of clean energy innovation to Topanga and other communities,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “Clean Power Alliance is giving residents three different levels of clean power to choose from—clean, cleaner, and cleanest. Nothing else will change for consumers. Southern California Edison will continue to deliver the power, send the utility bills, and be responsible for resolving any electricity service issues.”
According to the County’s website, many CCAs, like the Clean Power Alliance, are already taking voluntary action to meet or exceed the 2030 state mandate of 50 percent renewable energy when legislators passed California’s landmark climate change legislation, AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.
Its passage marked a watershed moment in California’s history by requiring in law a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. California set the stage for its transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future as the first program in the country to take a comprehensive, long-term approach to addressing climate change, in a way that aims to improve the environment and natural resources while maintaining a robust economy.
EXPLANATION OF RATES
The Clean Power Alliance, a government-operated community electricity provider, will automatically enroll 950,000 residential customers in February 2019 and 100,000 businesses in May in green energy plans.
Once rate payers receive their first notice, they can also choose not to take advantage of what the Clean Power Alliance has to offer and elect to opt out without penalty, Their electricity generating charges will remain with SCE.
The Clean Power Alliance offers three rate options designed to suit the needs of member communities:
Lean Power—36 percent renewable content at the lowest possible cost, with the added benefit of local management and control. Lean Power offers a 1-2 percent overall bill savings as compared to SCE’s standard rates.
Clean Power—50 percent renewable content and the opportunity to support building a cleaner future, all at cost competitive rates. Clean Power offers parity (or 0-1 percent overall bill savings) with SCE’s standard rates.
Green Power—100 percent renewable content and the opportunity to be an “environmental champion.” One hundred percent Green Power is offered at a 7-9 percent higher rate than SCE’s standard base rates but at least five percent below SCE’s 100 percent renewables rate.
According to Edison, customers of a CCA continue to have an SCE meter and receive a bill from SCE. Additionally, the SCE bill will be separated into energy charges from the CCA for the energy a customer uses and for the distribution, transmission, and customer services they receive from SCE.
IS 100 PERCENT RENEWABLE ENERGY POSSIBLE?
“The Clean Power Alliance has purchased enough short-term energy to ensure immediate reliability and we are currently underway in our long-term process to build more renewable capacity,” according to Allison Mannos, Senior Manager, Marketing and Customer Engagement for the CPA. “Over the next few years, Clean Power Alliance will build a diverse portfolio of renewable energy sources, which, combined with energy storage, will put us on a path toward powering all our customers’ homes and businesses with carbon-free energy every day, all day.”
Mannos added that Clean Power Alliance’s energy is procured on behalf of its member communities from mostly non-polluting, clean, and renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
“We do not use coal or nuclear power,” she said.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON
According to SCE, retail electricity service in California involves two parts—the buying and selling of electricity (or power procurement) for retail customers, and delivery of that power to customers.
“The majority of electricity customers in California continue to rely on their utility for both the purchase and delivery of their power,” wrote an SCE spokesman. “Customers that receive both services from their investor-owned utility are called “bundled service” customers. Under certain circumstances, customers can receive their power procurement from other authorized service providers. One of these options is Community Choice Aggregation.”
In 2002, the California Legislature enacted AB117 to establish CCAs, which offer cities, counties, or other authorized California public agencies the ability to buy and sell electricity on behalf of utility customers within their jurisdictions, as long as no costs are shifted to the remaining bundled service customers who continue to purchase their power from the utility.
SCE added that “Interest in CCAs has been increasing in the last five years and a few are now operating throughout the state. There are also a large number of communities considering CCA formation. SCE supports customers’ right to purchase power from a CCA as long as there are no costs shifted to customers who continue to purchase their power from the utility.”
WHAT COMES NEXT?
As Clean Power Alliance begins to offer service, customers will receive a total of four notices via mail before and after the switch from SCE to Clean Power Alliance.
The first notice was distributed in December 2018.
According to the Alliance, rate payers don’t have to do anything when they receive these notices; they will automatically begin receiving the benefits of CPA service in 2019. The notices, however, will provide information about the new energy choices, including how to make changes to your account and customer support contact information.
Once you receive your first notice, rate payers can choose not to take advantage of all the benefits Clean Power Alliance has to offer and elect to opt out without penalty, and your electricity generating charges will remain with SCE.
“We want green power at good prices and jobs within a new local green economy,” Kuehl wrote in the Los Angeles Daily News in 2017. “The county is proud to be at the forefront of making this historic shift from fossil fuel dependence and we invite cities from throughout the region to join us in building a greener future for American energy.”
To learn more, including answers to frequently asked questions and rate comparisons, visit the Clean Power Alliance website at www.cleanpoweralliance.org. For an overview of AB32, visit www.arb.ca.gov/cc/ab32/ab32.htm