Auburn OKs Community Choice in Energy Field

Energy, power and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company were the big talk at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Jenine Windeshausen, treasurer-tax collector for Placer County, was the main source of information for a new energy program called Community Choice Aggregation.

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a program that allows cities and counties to buy and/or generate electricity for residents and businesses within their areas.

The CCA gives residents more choice and local control while still working with PG&E.

PG&E will partner with the CCA to deliver the electricity and provide meter-reading, billing, maintenance and outage response.

Rate payers will also have the option to opt out of CCA service, but they have a time frame to do it before they will be charged, said Windeshausen.

There will be four letters sent to rate payers, 60 days before, 30 days before, 30 days after and 60 days after service starts.

If customers don’t opt out in that time frame they will be charged a $25 fee to switch back to PG&E.

If ratepayers opt out in that time frame they will not be charged.

How it’s set up

CCAs are set up either by a single jurisdiction or by two or more jurisdictions that create a Joint Powers Authority (JPA), which is what Placer County would be doing.

Each jurisdiction will get one seat on the board of directors, which will be a member of city council.

Other locations participating in the JPA will be Loomis, Colfax and Rocklin.

Many cities in California have already taken advantage of a CCA program including Sonoma, Marin and Silicon Valley.

Cities can choose to back out of the JPA at a later date but there may be a cost if the energy has already been purchased.

Moving forward

“We think the focus on local control, local resources are important,” said Windeshausen.

 She also said that energy prices are at a historic low, so now would be the perfect time to buy energy.

Auburn resident Robert Snyder said that he believes in Windeshausen, but he challenged her to do more community outreach.

Accepting the challenge and working fast to alter plans, Windeshausen got up early to give the presentation to Meddler’s (Auburn Chamber forum) on Tuesday morning. The city council gave Windeshausen the go ahead to complete a legal analysis and return at the next meeting with documents necessary to authorize Auburn’s membership in the CCA.

“Today we don’t have a choice,” said council member Daniel Berlant on the current energy system. “It’s on us to allow residents to make that choice.”

After discussion, the motion was passed unanimously.

Auburn OKs Community Choice in Energy Field, by Aurora Sain, Auburn Journal, May 24, 2017.

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