Community choice for electricity at risk

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 13, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

There is a new “poison pill” bill before the California State Legislature, AB 2145 (Steven Bradford, D-Gardena) that will cripple an existing program called Community Choice Aggregation, in short CCA, that many Californians are using to bring clean energy to communities and reduce carbon emission.

CCA enables communities to join together and provide renewable electrical energy to its citizens. The energy is publicly provided, but the transmission is through the current grid. The program is seamless to the consumers as they are automatically enrolled with an easy opt- out option. However, setting up a CCA is a significant undertaking. The legislature understood the advantage to clean energy to make the program opt-out. AB 2145 would require customers to “opt-in” rather than “opt-out”.

CMTA supports competition in electric generation markets. Providers of electric service have the incentive to improve prices and service when customers are able to choose among them for the best value. California policies provide both direct access options for individual customer choice and community choice aggregation for communities.

The legislature and the CPUC have imposed extensive rules and regulations governing how customers can exercise these choices, including the information that must be provided, while protecting other customers who remain with the incumbent utility service. The current balance has been struck over many years of work and debate among all the stakeholders. Going forward, CMTA believes there should be more, not less, competition in electric markets and would support reforms to allow more customer choice. 

AB 2145 goes in the opposite direction. CMTA supports a level-playing field for all electric providers, including the incumbent utility. CMTA opposes AB 2145 because it would seriously upset the balance in favor of the incumbent provider. 

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