San Diego, CALIF.- Politics sometimes makes strange bedfellows.
Such is the case in San Diego where Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, is now arguably closer to the Democrats on a proposed city run energy program, than the business community that got him elected.
Faulconer announced on twitter that he will champion a new CCA program for San Diego, a program that would likely be implemented when he is out of office.
Faulconer also announced he is "heading to LA to join former Gov. Schwarzenegger to discuss San Diego's efforts to cut GHG emissions and talk with key leaders about private industry and government working together to fight climate change on a global level. Then back to SD to introduce my energy choice plan!"
Faculoner's push comes after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adjusted the so-called “exit fee,” in an effort to make it more fair for county ratepayers. The city’s current CCA estimates are determined off of the old exit fee cost structure which some argue means more uncertainty for the city going forward.
What is a CCA?
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is an alternative to the investor owned utility energy supply system (SDG&E) in which local entities aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts.
The CCA chooses the power generation source on behalf of the consumers. Most often those making the energy decision are local elected officials.
San Diego Gas and Electric will still send out customers bills and provide service and maintenance to facilities.
Climate Action Campaign Celebrates
While concerns have been raised by those opposed to CCAs, the group who has championed the effort is celebrating.
Nicole Capretz, the leader of the campaign, came on our podcast recently. I asked her who controls energy choices under CCAs? Capretz noted, “There would actually be a separate entity most likely created, a nonprofit joint powers authority that would have a board of directors that would make those decisions. Members of the City Council or the Mayor could be appointed to that board of directors but it’s not the entire council as the board. It’s usually elected officials because of accountability, if they go astray and don’t follow the master plan goals established then we’re going to hold your feet to the fire. You got to do what you’re supposed to do. ”
Following Faulconer's announcement, Capretz tweeted this:
Clear The Air Coalition Statement
Tony Manolatos is the spokesman for the Clear the Air Coalition, a group of community, business, environmental leaders and Sempra Services, concerned about the direction of the city of San Diego's energy future, notably CCAs.
The coalition issued the following statement and story concerning the mayor's announcement:
“Our coalition has said we would support government-controlled energy in San Diego if it were cheaper, greener and did not shift costs by forcing ratepayers in neighboring communities to subsidize the city’s new program. State regulators essentially resolved the cost-shift issue earlier this month, ensuring any future costs shifts would be minimal. The decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to treat all customers fairly eliminated a key concern of ours, but questions about the city’s ability to provide cheaper and greener energy remain. The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting a new statewide fee structure for CCAs would add more than $20 a month to the electricity bills of residential customers in San Diego, and the evidence indicates a San Diego CCA would not meet the city’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2035 or create many new jobs. But it would impose risk on taxpayers.” –Tony Manolatos, spokesman for the Clear the Air Coalition.
San Diego County Taxpayers Association Call Plan "Huge Risk"
In addition to the Clear the Air Coalition's concerns, Haney Hong, the President of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, raised similar concerns with CCAs months ago in a video interview.
Hong told IVN San Diego, "the evidence shows, especially if you look at some of the other CCAs that have been happening around the state, you are not getting the incremental GHG reductions that they are promising and I worry that this might be a potential environmental fraud," Hong continued, “When the City of San Diego came out with its feasibility study it had about 10 potential outcomes, some had a positive net value to as much of a negative value of 2.8 billion dollars. It’s a 3 billion dollar swing of uncertainty.”