County supes don’t just talk about the weather; they actually do something!

Climate change is not abstract; it’s not amorphous. But weather forecasters talk about weather, not climate. Reporters tend to focus on the emergencies brought on by extreme weather, not the climate. Given that Earth’s temperature has increased by one degree Celsius already—and if we hit two our heads explode—that’s a whole lot not to be mentioned, no matter how astonishingly heroic they’ve been pursuing the call of duty.

In Santa Barbara, the good news is that county supervisors — at least three of them — the Santa Barbara City Council, and the Goleta City Council voted to take another look at a plan to buy, produce, and consume a lot more green energy than the major utilities are otherwise planning to make available.

This plan — dubbed Community Choice Energy by the eco-wonks who have been pushing this plan for years — had been declared dead on arrival last October by a private consultant who found its costs economically unsustainable. But a subsequent consultant has since concluded the first consultant’s findings were way too dire. The second consultant concluded that the Community Choice program might pay for itself after just one year and the cleaner energy provided would have the net air quality effect of taking 29,000 cars off the road. That number is only for the county’s unincorporated territory. It will be much larger as more cities participate.

Read more here: County supes don’t just talk about the weather; they actually do something!

Supervisors decide to pursue community choice energy program for entire Santa Barbara County, Cities

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to pursue a community choice energy program for unincorporated areas and interested cities, after a feasibility study yielded opposite conclusions to last year’s naysaying report.

Community choice energy programs, or CCEs, allow counties and cities to choose the source of electricity, such as renewables including wind and solar, and set rates. The supervisors voted 3-2 to pursue forming a joint powers authority to create a new CCE program with interested cities.

Read more here: Supervisors decide to pursue community choice energy program for entire Santa Barbara County, cities

Moody’s Gives Regulated Utilities a Negative Outlook for the First Time

For the first time since it began rating sectors, Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded its overall outlook of the U.S. utility sector. The rating agency dropped credit from stable to negative for 24 utilities and from positive to stable for one utility, American Electric Power Company.

Meanwhile, Moody’s in late May offered a stable rating to Marin Clean Energy, the first community choice aggregation (CCA) program in California and its first rating of a CCA. Though it can be difficult for CCAs to establish positive credit ratings, Moody’s characterized Marin Clean Energy’s focus on clean energy and the growth potential for CCAs as strengths in its credit performance.

That vote of confidence in the growing CCA sector, taken with the mixed outlook for regulated utilities, is likely to be unsettling for proponents of the monopoly utility model.

Read more here: Moody’s Gives Regulated Utilities a Negative Outlook for the First Time

Consumer Choice is the key to California’s clean energy future

Suddenly, just after the turn of the new century, California and the rest of the country were plunged into a major energy crisis. As a result, the state Legislature took several important steps to prevent a reoccurrence. One key part of those actions was the creation of an option to establish locally-controlled energy programs that would provide competition to private investor-owned utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric and Edison. Strong support for diversifying energy choice has led to the establishment of 17 thriving community choice aggregators — providing safe, reliable, affordable clean energy across California.

Read more here: Consumer Choice is the key to California’s clean energy future

Fear-mongering by utilities won’t produce clean energy

As we expand consumer choice and accelerate our push toward community-based power and greener energy, it’s not surprising that investor-owned utilities are doing everything in their power to hold on to their monopolies in California. As they do, an unholy alliance of corporate executives and some state bureaucrats have resorted to scare tactics and dragging their heels when it comes to democratizing our electrical grid.

If we are truly going to “plan for today so Californians can turn on their lights tomorrow,” as California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker has called for, we must move beyond scare tactics and engage all stakeholders in an honest discussion about California’s energy future.

Community choice to determine California’s energy future

When the California Public Utilities Commission issued its May 3 white paper on change in California’s electricity system and customer choice, it sounded an alarm of impending doom due to diversification coming from both local communities and technologies. Don’t be fooled by this false alarm.

Good things are happening in California’s electricity markets. Community choice aggregators are now providing electric generation service to millions of Californians. CCAs are public agencies that contract for cleaner, low-cost electric supply delivered to you by utilities such as PG&E.

Read more here: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Community-choice-to-determine-California-s-12992415.php

Consumer choice has suddenly revolutionized the electricity business in California. But utilities are striking back

Nearly 2 million electricity customers in California may not know it, but they’re part of a revolution.

That many residents and businesses are getting their power not from traditional utilities, but via new government-affiliated entities known as community choice aggregators. The CCAs promise to deliver electricity more from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, and for a lower price than the big utilities charge.

The customers may not be fully aware they’re served by a CCA because they’re still billed by their local utility. But with more than 1.8 million accounts now served by the new system and more being added every month, the changes in the state’s energy system already are massive.

Read more here: Consumer choice has suddenly revolutionized the electricity business in California. But utilities are striking back

California Regulators see signs of a new energy crisis – can they prevent it?

California’s regulators see a disruption coming that may not be exactly like the 2000-2001 energy crisis, but could have bigger, wider impacts.

The customer choice movement has added dozens of new power providers into the mix. Their inexperience and uncertain place in the regulatory scheme threatens the ability of regulators and policymakers to keep the state’s focus on growing clean energy and cutting emissions. Some say it even threatens the state power system’s reliability and affordability.

Read more here: California regulators see signs of a new energy crisis – can they prevent it?

 

 

California customer choice advocates, IOUs face off on departing load charge

The customer choice movement in California is about to take a giant step, but it has two starkly different choices regarding which direction to go.

The movement is driven by the promises of more locally developed renewables and lower rates than investor-owned utilities (IOUs) can deliver. But California’s Customer Choice Aggregations (CCAs) can only deliver on those promises if they resolve the question of who will pay for the generation procured by IOUs to serve customers now departing to CCAs.

Read more here: California customer choice advocates, IOUs face off on departing load charge

Can San Diego ditch the power Company? Not without a fight

SAN DIEGO — Seeking control over the way their electricity was generated and paid for, Cape Cod residents banded together two decades ago to bypass the local utility and buy power in bulk.

Driven in part by local mandates to shift to green-energy sources, the movement has gained momentum across the country, allowing customers to choose their electricity provider, as they can do with telephone service. A growing number of California’s local governments are offering a program similar to the Cape Cod model, as are communities in New York State, Illinois and other parts of Massachusetts.

Read more here: Can San Diego ditch the power company? Not without a fight