The California Alliance for Community Energy presented a letter to Senate President Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) calling on the Legislature to protect community choice energy programs from being undermined by the utility- friendly Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The letter, signed by representatives of 50 statewide and local organizations, calls on the Legislature and Governor Newsom to “Roll Back the CPUC Attack” on community choice energy.
California’s 19 public community choice energy agencies already provide energy services to 11 million customers, a number expected to increase further in 2020. These locally governed programs provide crucial economic and environmental benefits to their communities; they lead the state in achieving its climate goals, and provide Californians with a compelling public alternative to the state’s faltering private monopoly utility model.
“While the Governor’s recently released Strike Force report does describe the urgency California faces due to the recent deadly wildfires, we had hoped it would also highlight the steps needed to ensure that our electricity system is not held hostage to the state’s monopoly utilities,” said Al Weinrub, coordinator of the statewide Alliance. “The electricity system needs to serve the needs of our local communities, not destroy them. That means providing for public safety, community resilience, and a broad array of other benefits. It means facing down the CPUC and facing head on our new climate reality.”
The CPUC’s attack against community choice has been unremitting, and ratepayers — whether in community choice programs or not — and their communities have been the losers. As California’s electricity model is restructured in the wake of PG&E’s malfeasance, the state should not allow the CPUC to further attack Community Choice on behalf of the state’s monopoly utilities.
The climate crisis requires that we start now to build a new electricity system, one designed around local control and decentralized development of renewable energy resources. Community choice agencies are at the center of this new model. In the May 1 letter to legislators, the signatory organizations are calling on our Legislative leadership and all our elected representatives to support this new model — by rolling back the CPUC’s attacks and by strengthening Community Choice energy programs.
50+ California organizations ask legislators to protect community choice energy, by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World, May 2, 2019.