The Center for Climate Protection is tracking about 15 energy-related bills this legislative session, about half of which relate directly or indirectly to Community Choice Energy.
Among them is one of particular concern, SB 618, authored by none other than Steven Bradford, the southern California Senator who in 2014 introduced the most threatening legislation for Community Choice ever to emerge in Sacramento, AB 2145.
AB 2145 aimed to crush Community Choice by denying default service status to the local not-for-profit Community Choice agencies and returning that status to the for-profit large distribution utility. That battle, ultimately successful for Community Choice, was one of the milestones in catapulting Community Choice onto the radar of local governments throughout the state. Enter SB 618 in 2017. What does it do, where is it now, and what will it mean to Community Choice whether it is enacted or not?
What is does.
The main provision in SB 618 that affects Community Choice is that it empowers the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to “approve” Community Choice Integrated Resource Plans. One of the hallmarks of Community Choice is that it grants decision-making authority about a host of energy service elements such as energy sources, rates, programs, policy, projects, and more. Removing that authority and delivering it to the distant and impenetrable CPUC is a huge step backward in the emerging advance toward energy democracy represented by Community Choice Energy.
Where it is.
SB 618 is currently scheduled to be heard in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on April 4. Senator Ben Hueso chairs that Committee. The full committee roster is included below. We urge Community Choice advocates throughout California to write to the Chair and the whole Committee urging them to reject this latest attempt to undermine one of the best things going for communities, local economies, and clean energy.
What does it mean?
If SB 618 makes it through the legislative process with this core provision about removing local control intact, it means an erosion of the whole point of Community Choice, as established in the original AB 117 law, and would set a bad precedent for a future legislative or regulatory whittling away of Community Choice agency autonomy. Whether it is enacted or not, SB 618, and perhaps some other pending legislation, may once again galvanize the Community Choice advocacy community and strengthen us for future endeavors.
Read about the legislation here. You can also subscribe to it to track it yourself: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB618
The Senate Energy Committee Roster:
Senator Ben Hueso (Chair)
Senator Mike Morrell (Vice Chair)
Senator Steven Bradford
Senator Anthony Cannella
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Senator Jerry Hill
Senator Mike McGuire
Senator Nancy Skinner
Senator Henry I. Stern
Senator Andy Vidak
Senator Scott D. Wiener
Letters should be addressed to:[Legislator]
State Capitol, Room 4035
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Committee staff phone number is: (916) 651-4107
To find your California State representatives click here.
The full list of bills we are monitoring is here. Stay tuned to CPX E-News for future updates.