Workshop sheds light on power switchover

Leaders from the City of Moorpark and the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) took time last week to answer residents’ questions about the city’s new electricity provider.

“We decided to have this meeting due to some confusion in the community about the CPA rollout, how it works and what it would mean for the residents,” Jessica Sandifer, Moorpark’s community services manager, told the Acorn.

In January 2018, the city voted to join CPA, a community choice aggregation program made up of 32 local government agencies in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The change would give residents a choice between Clean Power Alliance and Southern California Edison, the latter of which now provides electricity to businesses and homes in Southern California.

In 2018 other local jurisdictions —including Camarillo, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks—also chose to join CPA.

The goal of CPA is to provide as much electricity as possible from renewable sources like solar and wind. As it creates more demand, the alliance hopes to invest in clean energy operations and sign long-term clean energy contracts.

Electricity from CPA will reach homeowners this month.

During the nearly two-hour meeting on Jan. 24, Moorpark residents expressed their confusion and frustration about the switchover. Some residents asked specific questions about CPA’s long-term energy contracts, while others simply wanted to know how using the new provider would affect their bills.

Moorpark resident Karl Geiger said Ted Bardacke, CPA executive director, did a good job answering people’s questions, but that Bardacke didn’t change his mind on the community choice aggregate.

“I am neither for nor against the switch over,” Geiger told the Acorn. “I am for cheap, reliable and stable electric power service. (Our family) ran the numbers in December and opted out. We may opt in after the CPA’s business model and pricing stabilize.”

Others in attendance asked questions about the creation of CPA, the provider’s fee structure and the cost comparison to Edison.

Bardacke said the organization was formed to bring choice and local control to Southern California, as its board is made up of officials from each of CPA’s participating communities. CPA was also developed to bring competition to Southern California and end the monopoly held by Edison.

“Our mission is really a clean energy future that is locally controlled, where you can talk to a board member and see the executive director come out to your communities,” Bardacke said. “Right now most of you have a monopoly situation where you don’t have a choice. We’re here to offer that choice.”

With CPA, residents can choose the amount of clean energy they want to use in their homes.

Those in Moorpark who do not make a choice will automatically be enrolled in CPA and will receive 50 percent of their power from renewable sources. The cost for most residents will be about the same as they are paying Edison, which gets about 34 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Residents can instead choose to receive 36 percent of their energy from renewable sources through CPA and pay about 2 percent less than they are currently paying Edison or they can choose to receive 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources through CPA and pay about 8 percent more than what they are currently paying Edison.

The electricity generated by CPA will still be delivered via Southern California Edison’s infrastructure, and SCE will still issue electricity bills.

“We acquire energy resources, it travels through lines owned and operated by Southern California Edison and is delivered to your home or business,” Bardacke said. “In some sense think of us as a content provider and Edison still maintains the lines.”

He said residents’ bills will look about the same as they do today, with two line items for generation costs and infrastructure costs.

“After we launch service here in Moorpark you will continue to just get one bill from Edison and it will still have those two line items,” Bardacke said. “One of those will say Clean Power Alliance and the price of that will be determined by the (renewable) tier or the rate that you select.”

The CPA will honor Edison’s discounted rates through programs like the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA). CPA will also offer residents rebates and incentives for using solar panels on their homes.

Residents who do not want to switch to CPA can opt out of the program before their first meter read in February. Those who opt out in the first 60 days of CPA will have to pay a one-time 50- cent fee to Edison. After that, residents must wait an additional six months to opt out without facing any additional charges from Edison and CPA.

Thus far in Moorpark, the opt out rate is at 2.5 percent, which is about the same as in other cities in Ventura County, according to Bardacke. Moorpark homeowners, however, have the highest opt up and down rates in the area, with residents choosing to use energy from 36 percent renewable sources or 100 percent renewable sources.

“It’s quite remarkable to see that people are engaged and are trying to figure this out,” Bardacke said. “We really appreciate that because we love our customers to be engaged.”

 

Workshop sheds light on power switchover, by Christina Cox, Moorpark Acorn, February 1, 2019.

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