In an effort to reduce polluting greenhouse gas emissions, the Ojai Valley Green Coalition is actively working to support clean, renewable energy initiatives in our area. One such project is the Clean Power Alliance, which is a newly formed Community Choice Energy program launching in 2018. The program was developed in Los Angeles county and has expanded to include Ventura county.
By way of background, Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs are local, not-for-profit public agencies that provide electricity service to residents and businesses with the goal of increasing renewable energy and lowering costs. Unlike investor owned utilities which are accountable to shareholders, CCEs are accountable to the communities they serve. A CCE is responsible for purchasing and producing electricity, and the utility company remains responsible for delivering that electricity, maintaining transmission and distribution lines and handling billing. The CCE agency essentially replaces the line item on the electricity bill for “generation.”
The key benefits of CCEs are choice, cleaner energy, cost savings and greater local control.
The State of California passed legislation in 2002 (Assembly Bill 117) that permits local agencies to form CCE programs for their communities. Since that time, CCEs have demonstrated that not only are they feasible, but they have a strong track record, with 10 currently in operation and 9 more emerging in California. It’s worth noting that none of the CCEs has an opt-out rate higher than 9%, meaning more than 90% of CCE customers are happy with cleaner, cheaper electricity.
Ojai joined the Clean Power Alliance in December 2017, as did the unincorporated areas of Ventura County, so all Ojai Valley residents and businesses have the opportunity to participate. Each customer gets to choose: 1. whether to get cleaner, cheaper electricity through CPA, or opt out and stay with SoCal Edison (SCE); and 2. what level of renewable energy they prefer to have – 36%, 50%, or 100%.
Below is a table showing the current rate comparison of the various plans:
Since the Ojai city council in 2017 voted to adopt a 100% clean energy goal for our community, this is an immediate and meaningful way to make real progress on that goal.
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