South Pasadena’s electric ratepayers, its mayor, state senator and assembly member are at the center of an ongoing battle in the electric utility industry worth tens of millions of dollars in annual benefits. The funds are tied to “exit fees” paid by customers of the state’s growing, renewable energy-focused community choice aggregators (CCAs), including the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) that serves South Pasadena residents and is chaired by South Pasadena Mayor Diana Mahmud.
The most recent iteration of the conflict took place a month ago when the Assembly’s Committee on Utilities and Energy chaired by Asm. Chris Holden (D-41) unexpectedly canceled a June 30 hearing on reform legislation authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-25), likely killing its chances for success this year.
The bill “has strong local and statewide support.” Over 150 communities, environmental justice organizations, environmental groups, and clean energy providers back the bill. Its opponents are PG&E, Edison, their employees and a consumer group. Their principal objection is based on a desire not to undermine the ongoing work of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which has overseen changes to the PCIA via a carefully laid out proceeding involving dozens of players who’ve put considerable time into it.