Irvine will pursue ‘community choice’ program to buy its own electric power

Flipping on the lights or running the dishwasher could get a little cheaper and a lot greener in Irvine, under a “community choice” energy program city leaders plan to implement.

Irvine would still depend on and pay Southern California Edison for the use of its electric transmission system – the poles, wires and substations – to deliver power to residents and businesses. But city officials say the community choice program could save customers an estimated 2% compared with Edison’s rates, which can pencil out to big savings for businesses, and it would allow the city to buy electricity from greener sources that could reduce impact on the climate.

“It lets us use power sources that we feel are better for our community,” said Irvine Councilwoman Melissa Fox, who began researching community choice for the city’s Green Ribbon Environmental Committee in 2017. “Why wouldn’t we want cheaper, cleaner power?”

State legislation passed in 2002 made community choice aggregation possible, and in 2010, Marin Energy Authority (now called Marin Clean Energy) was the state’s first community choice agency to launch. Today it serves 34 Bay Area communities.

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