Getting Started on a Community Choice program
A Community Choice program begins with a vision and a conversation that then spreads. The conversation can be initiated by anyone – a community leader, an elected leader, or a community-based organization.
The formation of a Community Choice program begins with education about what Community Choice is and what the potential benefits and risks are. See the Resources Page of this website to review Community Choice law. Another early step is to carry out an assessment of your community and determine whether your community is eligible and ready to begin an evaluation of Community Choice.
All cities and counties in the California Investor Owned Utility (IOU) service territories are eligible to establish Community Choice programs. Cities and counties that operate their own utility or who are within the service territory of a Publicly Owned Utility (POU) – about one-quarter of California – are not eligible. A few cities and unincorporated portions of counties are served by special districts and are also not eligible. For example, electricity service for the City of Modesto is provided by the Modesto Irrigation District. Therefore, residents of Modesto and many surrounding communities are not eligible.
The timelines of the first two Community Choice programs, MCE Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power, are not necessarily indicative of future Community Choice program formation timelines. Since they were the pioneers, Marin and Sonoma both faced obstacles and uncertainties that future efforts will probably not face. The timeline for the City of Lancaster’s Community Choice program was much shorter than the first two. Lancaster took not much more than two years from the first steps to the launch of service.