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CalCCA Statement on CPUC Approval of Controversial ‘Exit Fee’ Reforms

Concord, Calif. – The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) today released the following statement from Beth Vaughan, executive director of CalCCA, after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to approve controversial revisions to the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA).

“CalCCA is very disappointed that the Commission approved changes to the PCIA that favor the investor-owned utilities and will stifle competition from locally-run CCAs,” Vaughan said. “However, we remain undeterred in our efforts to support a new PCIA that lowers costs for all consumers and fosters a competitive environment that offers communities more energy options. We will consider all avenues going forward.”

The PCIA is an “exit fee” charged by the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to CCA and other departing load customers to compensate for electricity generation built or contracted in the past at prices that are now above-market.

Today’s action by the CPUC will result in a sharp increase in PCIA rates for CCA customers. This devastating blow to the flourishing CCA movement in California could deter further market entry by CCAs.  At a minimum, the action will impair CCAs’ abilities to accelerate the state’s decarbonization and economic justice policy goals and to better tailor electric service to meet the needs of local communities.

CalCCA thanks Administrative Law Judge Stephen Roscow for putting forth common sense, legally-supportable reforms to the PCIA based on the hearing record, that would have provided a more balanced result. The rejection of Roscow’s proposal by the Commission is at the expense of both CCA and IOU ratepayers in California.

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About CalCCA: The California Community Choice Association supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally-run Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity providers in California. CalCCA is the authoritative, unified voice of local CCAs, offering expertise on local energy issues while promoting fair competition, consumer choice and cost allocation and recognizing the social and economic benefits of localized energy authorities. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving an estimated 8 million customers in 2018.

For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.

Press release is here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2018

Press Contact: Leora Broydo Vestel

(415) 999-4757 | leora@cal-cca.org

CalCCA Issues Report on CCA Efforts to Advance Equity and Diversity in Local Communities

Concord, Calif. – The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) has issued a new report that details efforts by the state’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) to advance equity and diversity through their procurement, policy and program activities. The report’s release coincided with the California Public Utilities Commission’s Supplier Diversity En Banc, held on October 4 in Richmond.

The report, titled “Beyond Supplier Diversity,” highlights CCA initiatives that align with the intent and spirit of General Order (GO) 156, the CPUC’s Utility Supplier Diversity Program. The program monitors supplier diversity in procurements by participating utilities and oversees a clearinghouse of women; minority; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT); and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises.

CalCCA Executive Director Beth Vaughan and MCE Chief Executive Officer Dawn Weisz participated in a panel at the En Banc which focused on emerging energy markets. They highlighted the steps CCAs are taking to ensure their operations are inclusive of diverse groups, such as those targeted in the GO 156 program.

CalCCA’s Environmental Justice and Equity Working Group compiled the report after surveying CCAs to find out what they are doing to promote economic development in diverse communities.

“We asked, what are the CCAs doing to ensure access, inclusion, and representation of underrepresented sectors in the core business of CCAs, that of clean energy,” Vaughan said at the En Banc.

CCA programs and activities featured in the report vary widely, from the creation of community advisory committees and local development business plans to the funding of grants to enable community engagement and local workforce development initiatives.

“In their role as public, not-for-profit agencies, CCAs share a commitment to inclusion and representation of our diverse communities through democratic governance and intensive community engagement,” the report notes.

The working group is evaluating CCA diversity activities to establish best practices that can be shared within CalCCA’s membership and with external stakeholders. CalCCA also plans to host a CCA supplier diversity symposium next year in Southern California. The first symposium, co-hosted by CalCCA and the Greenlining Institute, was held in January 2018 in Richmond.

The full report is available here.
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About CalCCA: The California Community Choice Association supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally-run Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity providers in California. CalCCA is the authoritative, unified voice of local CCAs, offering expertise on local energy issues while promoting fair competition, consumer choice and cost allocation and recognizing the social and economic benefits of localized energy authorities. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving an estimated 8 million customers in 2018.

For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.

CalCCA Calls on Commission to Reject Alternate PCIA Proposal

The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) is urging the California Public Utilities Commission to reject a proposal to alter the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), warning in comments filed Sept. 6 that it would lead to sharp increases in PCIA rates for existing community choice aggregation (CCA) programs and make it uneconomic for new CCA programs to launch

The PCIA is an “exit fee” charged by the state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to CCA and other departing load customers to compensate for electricity bought in the past at prices that are now above-market. The Commission is considering two proposed decisions on the PCIA.

The first Proposed Decision (PD), crafted by an Administrative Law Judge after a year-long process, strikes a reasonable balance with respect to stranded cost recovery and provides an opening for long-term cost reduction for both CCA and IOU bundled customers. A commissioner’s Alternate Proposed Decision (APD), however, would result in significant PCIA rate increases for CCA customers, while protecting the returns of utility shareholders.

“The APD would deal a devastating blow to the flourishing CCA movement in California, impairing CCAs’ abilities to accelerate the state’s decarbonization and economic justice policy goals and to better tailor electric service to meet the needs of local communities,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of CalCCA.

The APD contains a number of elements that would materially shift costs to CCA customers. Of primary concern is the APD’s inclusion of pre-2002 “Legacy” utility-owned generation (UOG) in the scope of PCIA-eligible costs. Doing so would place responsibility for new capital investment costs in these aging UOG facilities on CCA customers long after their departure, contrary to the Commission’s indifference standards and clear statutory directives.

“It is the Commission’s province to apply, not rewrite, the law, and the final decision must exclude Legacy UOG from CCA customer cost responsibility,” CalCCA notes in its comments.

The APD also removes the 10-year limitation on recovery of post-2002 UOG costs through the PCIA, ignoring prior Commission decisions, reducing utility incentives to prudently plan and manage their portfolios and subsidizing the ongoing operation of fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Further, the APD “scrapes the bottom of the barrel” in proposing a flawed, short-term resource adequacy capacity benchmark to value the IOUs’ energy portfolio capacity, leaving CCAs no alternative but to procure in the short-term market to compete with the IOUs.

“The APD’s benchmark would drive a change in the CCA’s business model that undermines the state’s policy goals,” CalCCA said. “Rather than engaging in new RPS project development with a long-term power purchase agreement, a CCA would be driven to procure low-cost attributes to reduce risk.”

Most critically, it would be impossible for the CCA to fund the types of services they were intended to promote, such as innovative electric vehicle programs, procurement of local premium resources or programs for low-income residents and disadvantaged communities, while staying competitive with IOU rates.

CalCCA requests that the Commission reject the APD and adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s Proposed Decision, subject to the modifications proposed in CalCCA’s August 21 comments on the PD. The association will be advocating today for a fair PCIA resolution during an all-party meeting at the CPUC. The Commission is expected to consider PCIA reform proposals onSeptember 27.

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The California Community Choice Association supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally-run Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity providers in California. CalCCA is the authoritative, unified voice of local CCAs, offering expertise on local energy issues while promoting fair competition, consumer choice and cost allocation and recognizing the social and economic benefits of localized energy authorities. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving an estimated 2.5 million customer accounts in 2018.

For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.

Press Contact: Leora Broydo Vestel
(415) 999-4757 | leora@cal-cca.org