Community choice aggregation (CCA) has become quite the hot topic in California. CCAs happen when local governments, either municipalities or counties, form an entity to procure electricity for their communities. In the Golden State they have allowed communities procure renewable energy even more rapidly than the statewide 60% by 2030 mandate.
Last week, atop the city’s Alvarado Water Treatment Plant, San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer (R) announced that the city of 1.4 million would be forming its own CCA. The decision comes as critical action toward’s the city’s Climate Action Plan, which sets an even more ambitious renewable mandate than California’s already-aggressive state one, at 100% by 2035. So, not only is San Diego the largest city in the U.S. to have set an 100% renewable energy mandate, but it is the largest single city in the world to form a CCA.
“I want San Diego to lead this region into a cleaner future,” Faulconer said in a release announcing the CCA. “This gives consumers a real choice, lowers energy costs for all San Diegans, and keeps our city on the cutting edge of environmental protection. We are a city where our environment is central to our quality of life and Community Choice will ensure we leave behind a better and cleaner San Diego than the one we inherited.”
This decision comes just weeks after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to increase the “exit fees” that customers have to pay when opting out of utility procurement and into a CCA. Furthermore, CPUC chair Michael Picker has previously expressed concerns over the implementation of CCAs and their affect on utilities.
The raise on exit fees is especially important, as CCAs are already responsible for complying with local capacity requirements and ensuring that remaining utility customers do not see cost increases. However, these concerns do not seem to be an issue in San Diego, as the mayor’s office expects the city to see “a cost reduction of 5 percent or more compared to the utility’s energy generation rates residents and businesses are currently paying,” according to the mayor’s office.
Now, with the announcement in the past, comes the process of procuring power for the city of San Diego. Under the proposed CCA’s business plan, a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) would be formed in 2019, along with the appointment of a board of directors. From there on, the board would hire an executive leadership team, a chief executive and a chief financial officer. These executive positions would guide the JPA through the CCA implementation process, in hopes of delivering power to customers by the plan’s target date of 2021.
“San Diegans deserve to have a choice in where their energy comes from,” said City Councilmember Lorie Zapf. “This is an opportunity to reach our climate goals while at the same time lowering costs for everyone, especially families struggling to make ends meet. With this decision, Mayor Faulconer is ensuring that San Diego continues to set an example for other cities to follow when it comes to protecting our environment.”
San Diego to form world’s largest single city CCA, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine, October 29, 2018.