Streetlights That Charge Electric Cars Arrive in California City

As the market for electric vehicles continues to grow, electric-car infrastructure will need to keep up with the growing population of them.

To solve the problem, companies are looking at a variety of new and innovative ways to charge more cars without actually taking up more space.

Enter the ebee Smart Technologies streetlight charging station—which has now has arrived in Lancaster, California.

The concept is similar to the Ubitricity streetlight charging stations used in the United Kingdom, but ebee’s approach is a little different.

Instead of outfitting the streetlight with a simple socket, ebee attaches an actual charging station to the streetlight pole.

The strategy may be more fitting for Lancaster where cars don’t necessarily sit on the street parked overnight.

ebee streelight charging station

ebee streelight charging station


Instead, it invites electric-car owners to park for a period of time while they run errands or do other activities.

The European Ubitricity units house a simple cord that locks, to ensure it doesn’t go missing during overnight charging, while the ebee station has a conventional U.S. cord and plug.

Like Ubitricity, ebee’s solution can save money on infrastructure and take up less space since the needed electrical lines are already in place.

To start, only five streetlights will be outfitted with the charging station equipment in the city’s downtown district.

ebee streelight charging station

ebee streelight charging station


However, ebee says it has already installed more than 10,000 of its units in Europe.

Of the cost in Lancaster, 80 percent will be covered by a grant, including funds for any needed maintenance and assuring five year’s worth of data collection.

The other 20 percent will be covered by ebee, EasyCharge, and eluminocity, which has crafted the charger housings.

Since California is the largest single U.S. market for electric vehicles, innovations like ebee’s streetlight-charging station can be tested by a sufficient population of plug-in car drivers.

Streetlights That Charge Electric Cars Arrive in California City, by Sean Szymkowski, Green Car Reports, July 9, 2017.

What Will Power Los Angeles’ Electric Buses?

As the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) gears up to adopt a 100 percent zero-emission electric bus policy, there has been some recent chatter about the source of electricity powering these buses. Gas industry representatives are arguing that Metro should keep their current fleet of buses and power them with biomethane. They contend that electrifying buses means moving to coal-powered buses. They argue we have to wait until 2045 to reap the benefits of electric buses.

So what’s going on? Are environmental groups fighting for a suboptimal environmental outcome? Or, is this just more shenanigans from the gas industry? Does moving to electric buses help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or do upstream emissions from power plants mean more pollution? This post attempts to answer these questions.

The Los Angeles County Electric Bus Coalition, of which Sierra Club is a member, advocates for a 100 percent battery electric bus (BEB) fleet, powered by 100 percent clean energy (also built and supported by union labor and benefitting environmental justice communities first, but let’s focus on the first two goals in this post). It is important to marry these two goals as we want to avoid even the perception of shifting emissions upstream from the tail pipe to the smoke stack. The question is, under the current or future resource mix of the grid are we increasing emissions by electrifying buses? The short answer is no, but if that isn’t a satisfactory answer, read on!

There are two primary factors to consider when evaluating Metro’s optimal emissions outcome: the mix of resources generating powering the bus and fuel efficiency. Starting with the latter, presume for a moment that LA County’s electric grid ran on 100 percent gas (it doesn’t, but go with this for a second). Shifting the bus fleet away from buses fueled directly by gas, to electric buses powered by gas has important and immediate environmental benefits. The reason for this is that CNG buses are much less efficient than power plants.

The National Renewable Energy Lab recently completed a review of Foothill Transit’s BEBs and found their buses were four times more efficient than Foothill’s CNG counterpart. For example, when both buses’ fuel efficiency was converted to diesel gallon equivalents (dge), Foothill’s BEBs averaged 17.35 dge, while their CNG buses averaged 4.34 dge. In other words, it takes four times the energy to move a CNG bus one mile.

Simply converting CNG buses to BEBs powered by gas has environmental benefits, but the grid is more dynamic than the scenario described above. It has a mix of resources and is changing (greening) year over year thanks to a combination of state and local policies. Making matters more complex, Metro’s buses will be powered by two utilities with different energy mixes, and possibly a third as LA County moves to create a Community Choice Energy program. But, since the vast majority of Metro’s bus depots (where charging will occur) sit within the City of Los Angeles and the Department of Water and Power (DWP) is the only one that still has any coal, focusing there makes sense for now.

What does DWP’s energy mix look like? Here’s their energy portfolio in 2016:

And here is DWP’s portfolio in 2030:

Source: DWP’s 2016 Final Draft Integrated Resource Plan

While Los Angeles has some coal in its mix via the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah, that coal is going away soon. In 2020, when the first Metro line electrifies, DWP’s share of coal drops to 17 percent. From there, DWP’s coal use declines to zero in 2025 when Los Angeles retires its last coal plant and eliminates coal from its portfolio. Los Angeles is also committed to, thanks to DWP and Mayor Garcetti, increasing its share of renewable energy to 50 percent by 2025 (five years ahead of the state mandate).

But what if the CNG buses are fueled with biomethane? The gas industry contends that Metro (and every transit agency, diesel truck, and more) can power their CNG buses with biomethane, and achieve a superior environmental outcome. This is not true.

Setting aside concerns about the limited supply of biomethane, or the negative environmental impacts of biomethane production, let’s focus solely on the emissions impacts. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently completed a great review of biomethane, it’s pros and cons, the best applications for it, and how it stacks up against vehicle electrification. They found that, based on the state’s overall grid portfolio today, electric buses outperform CNG and biomethane powered buses when it comes to climate pollution. Here’s a chart from the UCS factsheet:

The only scenario where biomethane outperformed electric buses running on today’s grid was an imaginary scenario where the grid runs entirely on biomethane and the buses are still electric.

Where does this leave us? Yes, DWP has some coal right now which means BEB emissions would be higher if we woke up tomorrow and all of Metro’s buses were electric, but of course this isn’t happening. Metro only plans to have 65 BEBs (of 2,200 total buses) in 2020 and doesn’t really deploy a significant number of buses until the coal is phased out. Based on their current policy commitments, BEBs powered by DWP will have even greater environmental benefits noted in the chart above as DWP moves beyond coal and rushes to 50 percent clean by 2025. By 2030, when Metro plans to fully convert the fleet, only 28 percent of LA’s grid will come from gas, and none from coal.

One final point on this matter: Metro can negotiate a partnership with DWP and Southern California Edison to provide the agency with 100 percent clean energy. We don’t need to wait until the grid runs entirely on wind and solar to begin seeing benefits from electrification, but ultimately we do want our buses to run on zero emission technology up and downstream. One way or another, our coalition will continue to advocate for this goal. With solar power now selling at 3 cents per kilowatt hour, a shift to 100 percent clean energy could lower electric bills for the agency as well.

So why is this an issue? This is a legitimate question that we asked ourselves too. But, there’s something else going on: the gas industry has put forward a series of arguments that misrepresent the impact of electric buses in order to make their products appear more environmentally beneficial. For example, earlier this year, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas published an op-ed in the Daily News arguing against bus electrification. In the piece, they claimed that “almost 90 percent of California’s electric grid depends on coal-fired or petroleum-powered plants to generate electricity.” This is wildly inaccurate (the Daily News has since corrected the misstatement, but here’s a link to the initial piece). Then, last week a former legislator published a letter to the editor in the LA Times reinforcing industry talking points and arguing that 37 percent of DWP’s power comes from coal. This too is false and relies on outdated data.

It’s hard to take a generous view of these statements as honest errors. It takes no more than a few minutes to track this data down and get the basic facts right, especially when this data sits at the crux of your argument. Ninety percent of California’s grid powered by oil and coal? Come on… Moreover, the data sits within a broader narrative and context that can’t be ignored. DWP is moving beyond coal at the exact moment when Metro ramps up its use of electric buses. Arguing that Metro’s drive (yes, pun intended, sorry) to electric will just result in coal powered buses is a brazen misrepresentation of reality.

When we first launched our campaign, we joked that gas buses were “so 90s.” It was a silly, somewhat blithe way to frame the campaign that we hoped would be fun and positive, while acknowledging Metro’s leadership on clean air. The move away from diesel to CNG buses in the 90s was a great move. But, like many things from the 90s, CNG buses don’t look as hot in modern era. That was the joke, at least, and yeah, if you have to explain the joke….

The point is that a lot has changed since the ‘90s, and innovation within the electric and transportation sectors is quickly rendering CNG and diesel buses obsolete. The facts just don’t add up anymore when it comes to making the case for CNG or biomethane buses, and the gas industry shouldn’t get a pass for buttressing a losing argument with alternative facts.

What Will Power Los Angeles’ Electric Buses?, by Evan Gillespie, Medium, July 10, 2017.

Community Members Vocalize Opinions at Last Council Meeting before Break

Durning the July 11th meeting of the Santa Clarita City Council members of the public urged the council to join the Los Angeles County Community Choice Energy Program. Read their comments below. 

“This is a risk-free way to fight climate change and help consumers save money,” resident Logan Smith said.

Activists from and local ratepayers said joining the agreement would save money and electricity at a renewable baseline of 30, 50 or 100 percent, but would also allow people who want to opt out to do so.

“The solution to climate change is moving quickly to renewable energy,” local representative Alan Weiner said. “There is no downside to this.”

He then grabbed a cowboy hat and sang, “the sun shines down on everyone, the best energy is free.”

After making the mayor laugh with an anecdote about how he was mistaken for a senator because of his name, speaker Harry Reid echoed these sentiments.

“I get to help you become heroes without any risk,” Reid said. “You have the chance to hit a homerun without the risk of striking out.”

Community Members Vocalize Opinions at Last Council Meeting before Break, by Gina Ender, The Signal, July 11, 2017.

There’s Energy behind State Bill to Promote Solar Power Storage: Guest commentary

Here in another California heat wave, we are reminded that communities need new strategies to be resilient as we face erratic shifts in our climate.

By harnessing our state’s abundant sunshine, so we can tap into it even when the sun isn’t out or during a prolonged outage, energy-storage technology can boost community preparedness efforts.

Many of your neighbors — and perhaps your family — have economically installed rooftop solar panels thanks to state subsidies and tax rebates that encourage it. But home storage of the electricity generated remains highly expensive, on the order of $30,000.

That’s why it’s so important to for the state Legislature to pass a bill that would encourage storage in the same way we’ve successfully encouraged solar panels.

Energy storage is a key innovation that can enable our march toward 100 percent renewable energy. Through energy storage, California can absorb the solar power we already produce during the day and use it at times when the state otherwise turns to dirty fossil fuels to meet our electricity needs. Energy storage also allows our residents, businesses, and schools to take control of their electricity bills and ensure they are using clean, locally produced renewable energy.

Energy storage can involve a number of technologies, such as lithium ion batteries or flow batteries, or thermal energy storage used to store energy from a generation source, such as a solar PV system, for use at a later time.

Energy storage technologies give customers and utilities the ability to control the flow of electrons in an efficient manner, effectively solving the problem of the intermittency of renewable energy and allowing for an ever-greater reliance on renewables. When the sun is shining, a solar energy system can recharge an on-site storage device. Then, when the sun goes down, the storage device can be used to meet evening and night-time electricity demand.

With the right incentives and controls, storage devices can be highly flexible and dynamic, storing and/or discharging electrons to the grid. In this way, storage technologies are among the most important and effective tools for grid operators to increase use of renewable energy and build a more resilient and reliable system.

We must ensure all Californians, especially families living in underserved areas, benefit from our clean energy revolution. If an incentive existed to encourage installation of energy storage, low-income renters could save more money at home with solar energy. Locally, properties like Mosaic Gardens in Whittier, which already has solar panels installed, could benefit from such incentives.

Adding energy storage at affordable housing developments that already have solar power will do more than just boost electricity bill savings for residents; it will also diminish reliance on the electricity grid, reducing the need for fossil fuel plants that are disproportionately located in disadvantaged communities.

Solar energy already employs more than 100,000 Californians, and pairing it with energy storage helps both industries flourish. As energy storage is inherently local, it will create good local jobs and promote economic opportunity in our communities.

With Los Angeles County set to launch its own power agency to offer renewable energy directly to customers, energy storage would help this effort deliver more savings and more jobs.

The bill moving through the Legislature, Senate Bill 700 by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would slash the price of energy storage through a tiered rebate program to help this technology go mainstream, just as solar power itself has. If approved, the law would promote energy storage with a focus on disadvantaged neighborhoods and affordable-housing communities.

By reserving at least 30 percent of funding for low-income and underserved Californians, SB700 would keep energy costs stable and predictable for families that are most vulnerable to price spikes. The bill also contains local workforce training and hiring components so that the proliferation of energy storage can create economic development throughout the state.

SB700 offers a technology-neutral solution to increase the amount of storage to solve for the grid issues California faces and unlock the solution to getting more renewables across the state. We cannot afford to wait as we increase our commitment to renewable energy. Energy storage technology is ready to efficiently absorb the renewable energy we already produce and allow for the expansion of clean, local solar power.

As California takes the national and global stage on our climate change leadership, SB700 wwould ensure all Californians reap the benefits of clean energy.

When the next epic heat wave comes, we need to be ready.

There’s Energy behind State Bill to Promote Solar Power Storage: Guest commentary, by Jim Jenal, Stephanie Wang, and Dan Jacobson, Pasadena Star-News, July 6, 2017.

City of Lancaster, CA Partners with ebee Smart Technologies to Launch BLVD Streetlight Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Today marks the launch of the City of Lancaster’s BLVD Streetlight Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging demonstration, a cutting-edge project which seamlessly integrates EV chargers into five streetlights along the City’s popular central downtown destination, The BLVD. These charging units are made by ebee Smart Technologies, whose innovative controller technology makes installing public and semi-public charging cheaper, faster, and more flexible by incorporating charging units into existing infrastructure, such as streetlights. Already a market leader in Europe, with approximately 10,000 controllers installed in EV charging units throughout the European Union (EU), ebee Smart Technologies holds a key to accelerating advanced clean transportation in California, as well as internationally.

“We bring knowledge from decades in the international automotive industry and have applied it to make installing state-of-the-art EV charging technology simpler and more cost-effective for cities and workplaces,” said ebee Smart Technology CEO Dr. Henning Heppner, who traveled from Berlin, Germany for the ceremony. “We’re excited to bring our solutions to North America and to partner with the City of Lancaster on realizing their vision for a more sustainable community.”

Lancaster’s BLVD Streetlight EV Charging demonstration project is a collaboration engaging local and regional government with private enterprise. A grant from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD) will cover 80% of the total project cost, which includes installation, operations and maintenance, as well as five years of data collection. The remaining 20% will be covered by private sponsors, which include ebee Smart Technologies’ partners, EasyCharge and eluminocity, the company which created the outer housing of the charging units.

The project host is the City of Lancaster, CA – a natural home for this zero emissions transportation infrastructure demonstration, given the City’s strong and far-reaching commitment to advancing clean energy solutions.

“The City of Lancaster’s sustainability platform thrives on integrating new technologies – that are not only leading the way for sustainable industry advancement, but also offering affordable options, such as these charging units which can be utilized by nearly any infrastructure base for the benefit of many. Our goal is to not only better our environment, but to increase the overall quality of life for our residents,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “I am continuously astonished by all of the wonderful ideas coming to fruition and making ‘greener’ living tangible for communities around the globe. There are no more excuses for not transitioning to clean energy resources.”

“As municipal leaders, we understand and embrace the value of public-private partnerships, both domestically and abroad,” concluded Mayor Parris. “The City of Lancaster is at the forefront of alternative energy developments because of our commitment to progress through innovation and collaboration. This is evidenced by our many successes with companies such as BYD and KB Home. We could not be more excited about this new venture with ebee Smart Technologies, and are looking forward to the ongoing deployment of EV charging stations throughout our City.”

City of Lancaster, CA Partners with Ebee Smart Technologies to Launch BLVD Streetlight Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Lancaster Choice Energy, June 22, 2017.

California Alliance for Community Energy Endorses SBCP Business Plan

The California Alliance for Community Energy, the statewide Community Choice Aggregation coalition has strongly endorsed the South Bay Clean Power draft business plan:

CACE on SBCP Plan_6-21-17

The mission of the California Alliance for Community Energy (CACE) is to support and defend Community Choice Energy programs in California that advance local clean energy for the environmental and economic benefit of our communities.

The CACE steering committee includes Community Choice Power expert advocates who are leading local CCA efforts from the Bay Area to San Diego.

Members of the California Alliance for Community Energy are advocates and supporters committed to developing local renewable energy resources and clean energy jobs through Community Choice energy programs. The Alliance provides a forum for respectful and productive discourse among a diverse group of stakeholders to: build relationships, share resources, educate each other about issues and challenges, and organize against threats.

California Alliance for Community Energy Endorses SBCP Business Plan, by CREATIVEGREENIUS, South Bay Clean Power, June 27, 2017.

OP-ED: It’s Time for 100% Renewable Energy: Here’s Why

When you think of renewable energy, you probably think of wind turbines and solar panels, clean sources of energy that can make up a small percentage of our electric power supply. Often, the idea is that these sources of power are not consistent and tend to cost more than fossil fuel power plants running on coal or natural gas.

The truth is, a quiet revolution has been taking place, making these clean sources of energy far more competitive. In fact, Forbes magazine noted earlier this year that there are already more jobs in the solar industry than in oil, coal and gas combined. This is driven by two major factors: a stunning decline in the cost of renewable energy, as new technologies and economies of scale have made renewable energy less expensive than fossil fuels in more and more markets, and improvements in battery and other energy storage technologies that can make renewable energy more reliable throughout the day and all year long.

However, a recent local development that really makes it time for Long Beach to go renewable involves legislation that enables communities to create new electric energy providers, called Community Choice Energy (CCE).

Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a new CCE for the 1 million residents in the unincorporated areas of the County, and invited cities to join. This new CCE promises more renewable energy at lower costs than Southern California Edison (SCE), largely by taking advantage of the precipitous drop in renewable energy that SCE, with long term contracts, can’t take advantage of. Amazingly, LA County’s CCE also plans to make available a 100 percent renewable energy option competitive with today’s SCE rates.

So let’s recap—with a vote by our City Council we could sign Long Beach up for:

  • 100 percent Renewable Energy
  • Local jobs for our community in a growing field
  • More capacity for the growing fleet of electric vehicles
  • Less air pollution and a better planet for ourselves and future generations

Seems like it’s time for Long Beach to take action. If you agree, make sure to let the Mayor and Council know. On June 22 at 4:00PM in the Long Beach City Hall Chambers, the Long Beach Sustainable City Commission will hear presentations about CCE. The public is invited to attend and all attendees are welcome to make public comments.

Coby Skye is an 18-year resident of Long Beach and works as an environmental engineer with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. He was recently elected to chair the Long Beach Sustainable City Commission and also volunteers as a board member for the Long Beach Area Group of the Sierra Club.

OP-ED: It’s Time for 100% Renewable Energy: Here’s Why, by Coby Skye, Long Beach Post, June 21, 2017.

Metro’s Plan Would Electrify Bus Fleet by 2030

Under pressure from environmentalists and others to end its reliance on compressed natural gas (CNG), Metro has presented its plan to gradually transition to a fully-electric bus fleet. While the end goal is laudable, the time-frame is no portrait in courage. Metro intends to proceed this month with a $200 million contract for 295 CNG buses, affirming the agency’s primary reliance on CNG for the next half-dozen years.

Electric buses in use every day by municipal bus agencies, including Foothill Transit, LADOT, and Long Beach Transit. Even in affirming an ultimate transition, Metro staff’s presentation elaborated on challenges to electrification, citing “known and unknown technology risks.” Metro is requiring a 250-mile range for a full bus (1.4 load factor – seats full, plus 40 percent more riders standing) the 12-year vehicle life. In addition, funding needs to be allocated for buses, as well as charging equipment and related infrastructure.

Metro will run electric buses on the Orange and Silver Lines as an initial proving ground; these lines are planned to be fully electric by 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Metro’s electric bus transition plan stands or falls on a 2019-2020 “technology assessment” before the agency actually begins to ramp up “ZEB” (Zero Emission Bus) acquisitions circa 2022. Then, the agency would transition its ~2500 bus fleet to all electric by 2030.

Graph showing Metro’s planned transition to Zero-Emission Buses. Image via Metro staff report

Metro’s ZEB transition plan was presented at yesterday’s meeting of the board’s System Safety, Security and Operations Committee. The plan was presented as part of the contract approval process for electric buses for the Orange Line (more on this below), without any formal committee approval – merely a “receive and file” action. Metro’s Chief Operations Officer James Gallagher stated, “we’re committed,” and characterized the plan as “a stake in the ground” and “what we’re working on now.” Boardmember Mike Bonin requested that the Metro board approve the zero-emission transition as an enshrined policy; this will not happen this month, but will come back to the board in the near future.

Overshadowing the electric bus transition plan were contentions over Metro’s first significant electric bus contract. Before the board next week is a $60 million contract to purchase 35 60-foot-long articulated electric buses for the Orange Line. Metro staff is recommending that the agency contract with bus manufacturer New Flyer, a company with which Metro has a history of bus purchases. New Flyer is expected to manufacture buses at its plant in Ontario, in nearby San Bernardino county.

Electric bus manufacturer BYD is also vying for the contract, and contesting Metro staff’s decision to go with New Flyer. BYD committed to manufacture buses at its plant in Lancaster. BYD representatives tout their product’s longer range and better local jobs creation; Metro staff ranked New Flyer higher technically, based in part on the company’s longer track record pointing to durability for the 12-year vehicle life.

Due to a lack of quorum of boardmembers without conflicts of interest, the initial articulated electric bus contract was not decided yesterday, but will go before the full board next week. In July, the board is expected to approve a second electric bus contract for 40-foot-long buses for the Silver Line pilot.

See additional coverage of Metro’s bus electrification plan at KPCC.

Metro’s Plan Would Electrify Bus Fleet by 2030, by Joe Linton, StreetsBlog LA, June 16, 2017.

Green L.A. County Program Offers Consumers a New Energy Alternative

While Washington is slashing environmental protections and further jeopardizing the future of the planet, Los Angeles County is moving in a visionary new direction. A proven new way of providing green power to county consumers that can reduce both greenhouse gases and consumer bills while building a whole new green economy is around the corner.

Sadly, this new green power alternative is poorly named: “community choice aggregation” (CCA). The name could be why not very many people know about it, despite the fact that there are eight CCAs already operating in California, as well as in other forward-thinking states like Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.

These established CCAs are consistently demonstrating that they help increase green power consumption, lower utility bills and create quality jobs in local renewable power. The county’s new chief sustainability officer, Gary Gero, calls our future CCA “an incredible new initiative from which L.A. will reap benefits for generations to come.”

So how does it work? CCA offers consumers a new energy option by allowing local governments to purchase electricity in the wholesale power market and sell it to their residents and businesses as an alternative to the electricity provided by a corporate utility like Southern California Edison. Electricity consumers would have a choice in their power provider, and local governments, not utilities, would get to say how rates are set and customer programs are created.

For consumers, the benefits of the CCA are a no-brainer. CCAs elsewhere have lowered utility bills for homeowners and businesses as much as 5 percent. In addition, consumers can choose to increase the amount of clean energy they use, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gases and to reach, and even exceed, state and national clean-energy goals. CCA customers have also benefited from rebates on energy efficiency upgrades and free energy consumption assessments.

Over the next few months, individual cities within the county will be able to join the CCA so that they can take advantage of this win-win-win program. Cities who sign up will sit on the governing body in charge of operating the CCA and help make the decisions on how much renewable energy we get, from where, and how much we reduce consumer rates. Once your city joins, residents and businesses will have access to CCA power, rates and programs. We expect the rollout to begin next year.

The county’s program will be the state’s largest CCA, and it will position the entire Los Angeles metropolitan region as a national leader in providing clean green power at good prices to businesses and residents while creating green jobs in a new local economy. This is an important and significant investment in a better future for our region.

The county is proud to be at the forefront of making this historic shift from fossil fuel dependence, and I invite cities from throughout the county and my district in the San Gabriel Valley to join us in building a greener future for American energy.

Hilda Solis is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing District 1.

Green L.A. County Program Offers Consumers a New Energy Alternative, by Hilda Solis, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 12, 2017.

Huntington Beach City Council Discusses Energy Program

Monday, June 5th, the Huntington Beach City Council considered entering a non-disclosure agreement with Southern California Edison to look into a community choice aggregation, which can provide cities control over electricity rates and efficiency programs, a city staff report says.

A CCA is a program for cities to buy or generate electricity for residents, according to Pacific Gas and Electric.

Several Huntington Beach council members felt they need more information on the concept, and the panel voted unanimously to hold a study session soon to discuss the program’s pros and cons.

Peterson said he has a problem with the government being in charge of the city’s energy program.

Semeta and Councilwoman Jill Hardy said they need more information.

The council would have to enter a non-disclosure agreement with Edison to obtain customer energy use data to see if a CCA would be economically viable for the city, according to the report.

Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Tustin, Lake Forest, Orange and Garden Grove are looking into the program, the report says.

Huntington Beach City Council Discusses Energy Program, by Ben Brazil, Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2017.