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.