What is Community Choice Aggregation?
When California deregulated the energy market in 1997, many Californians switched to alternative energy providers. Following the energy crisis of 2000-01, consumer choice of electricity providers was suspended. As a response to the closing of the open market, Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002 to establish Community Choice Aggregation, also known as Community Choice Energy (CCE), which offers an opportunity for communities to join together to offer Californians choice of their electric provider and the source of their electricity.
Why am I automatically enrolled into a CCA?
Historically, investor-owned utilities have been the default service provider to customers in their jurisdictions. However, in 2002, when state legislators passed California’s Community Choice Aggregation law (AB 117), this default status was transferred from the investor-owned utility to the local community choice energy agency when available. The original CCA legislation, seeing the wisdom of collective community action, mandated that the customers residing in the service area would automatically be enrolled, unless they chose not to participate by opting out.
Do CCAs replace the incumbent Utility?
No. The IOU in your service area continues to provide all gas services, electric delivery, billing, and power line maintenance. CCAs only replace the electric generation services with cleaner energy at competitive rates.
Is the renewable electricity provided by CCAs and IOUs transmitted directly into my home or business?
No. CCAs buy and build a cleaner electricity supply. This electricity is fed onto the statewide shared electric grid and then moves down the path of least resistance to customers. This is why accounting is important. Clean energy is accounted through contracts and renewable energy certificates that confer the “renewable attributes” of that energy. It needs to work this way because individual electrons can’t be routed from a wind turbine to a particular house that just signed up for green power without building a new transmission line directly from the source to the home. CCAs, just like IOUs, report power purchases to the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission so you can be sure that CCAs are putting cleaner electricity onto the grid on behalf of their customers.
How do CCAs procure power?
CCAs pursue short and long-term contracts with a variety of power suppliers to meet the energy needs of our customers. Some CCAs hold an annual procurement process where developers or owners of renewable energy projects can propose contracts. Others may operate a Feed-In Tariff program, through which local developers can create and sell small renewable energy projects directly to the CCA at a set price, provided that they are located in the service area. Most new CCAs launch their service under a “portfolio” contract to ensure a diverse power supply at competitive rates, and then the CCA can negotiate contracts from specific facilities over time.