Governments overseeing Ventura County and the 10 cities are studying a program that could bring local control to energy purchasing and pricing, officials said Tuesday.
Sue Hughes, a manager with the county, said the jurisdictions are looking at starting a Community Choice Energy program, a new but tested model for providing electricity. Across the state, the programs offer a higher share of electricity from renewable sources than has historically been available but with rates on par with commercial utilities, she said.
Local governments can leverage the purchasing power of residents, business and governments to buy or generate energy from renewable sources such as the wind and the sun, Hughes said.
A newly formed public agency would buy electricity and set rates for the portion of bills covering generation of electricity, Hughes said.
Hughes said Southern California Edison would continue to deliver the electricity, send bills and provide customer service in the county.
“Most customers would not notice any change other than some wording on their bill,” said Hughes, the county senior deputy executive officer for government affairs.
The study is a joint effort with Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and virtually all cities in the tri-county region. Results of the study are expected to be presented early next year, when a decision about whether to move forward with a local or regional program would be made by each jurisdiction.
A website has been launched to keep the public informed of the progress and how the program may affect area homes and businesses. To sign up for email updates and learn more about the program, visit www.centralcoastpower.org.
Green Energy Initiative Explored, by Staff, Ventura County Star, September 20, 2016.