Huntington Beach

“Community choice energy” advances

A FURTHER LOOK into the prospects for “community choice energy” was approved by the Huntington Beach City Council on Monday (Flicker/Tom Taker).

A step toward giving residents and property owners another electricity option was taken Monday night by the Huntington Beach City Council.

On a vote of 5-2 – with Mayor Lynn Semeta and Councilmember Eric Peterson voting no – the council approved a motion to use consultant MRW to proceed with a feasibility study about creating a community choice energy alternative to Southern California Edison.

“Community choice energy” doesn’t generate electricity, but instead purchases power from SCE or others. SCE would continue to provide transmission and distribution, power line maintenance and customer billing services.

Peterson said that a CCE would create more government and would primarily be about “lawyers, lobbyists and labor.” Councilmember Mike Posey countered that the city needed to plan for the future and that a CCE might provide considerable benefits.

A report was given to the city council outlining what a CCE was and possible benefits and drawbacks associated with developing such an entity for Huntington Beach.

Staff research suggested that – depending on which option local consumers chose – Surf City energy customers could save as much as 2 percent or pay a 7 to 9 percent premium over SCE rates.

The more a consumer want to elect for renewable energy and carbon-free power, the greater likelihood of paying higher rather than lower rates.

Startup costs for Irvine’s planned CCE have been estimated at $10.65 million, although it projects a surplus of over $10 million over time. Additionally, if customers “opted out” in large numbers, that might threaten the financial health of the CCE.

Three options were presented to the council. They are:

  • Proceed with the CCE feasibility study at a cost of about $66,000.
  • Direct staff not to move forward.
  • Proceed the staff to move forward with the study and explore the prospects of joining with Irvine to create the new energy entity, which is what the council eventually chose.

2 replies »

  1. The study that Huntington Beach had done and relied on in their decision making was done by MRW Associates. The same firm that works for the OCJPA. I wonder if Mike Carroll suggested them? Not exactly an unbiased report. Mayor Lynn Semeta and Councilmember Eric Peterson pointed out the fact that this program does not produce “green” energy, it merely buys it from other energy sources and then sets the rates. All it is, is a middle organization setup to enrich political leaders. The chances of residents paying less is next to none. Why? Because Irvine has to be paid back all the money it shelled out to setup this program…about $20 million. And it’s the residents who will be paying Irvine back because it will be added to their money rate. And the there is the cost that Southern California Edison will charge residents that are “automatically” enrolled in this program. How much that will be is anyone’s guess. Huntington Beach councilmember Mike Posey stated that a “CCE MIGHT provide considerable benefits”. I wonder if he knows what those benefits are? His reason for joining might be a political one since he is planning on running for a seat on the OC Board of Supervisors and this would be a good notch on his belt.
    I am an Irvine resident and have witnessed the damage Mike Carroll and Farrah Khan have already done to our city. They took away the reading of comments submitted during council meetings, they are opposed to a Veteran’s Memorial Park and Cemetery at the ARDA site (which is against 63% of Irvine Voters), they refuse to put a Nurse in Irvine Schools and they ignore residents that are being exposed to toxic chemicals coming from an Asphalt Plant by saying that they didn’t approve their homes to be built so close to a chemical plant. And then there was over $70,000 that Mike Carroll stole from taxpayers to promote himself in the last election. It was then covered up by Farrah Khan when she became Mayor. And this is the guy who is at the helm of the Orange County Power Authority. The name says it all but Carroll would have you believe it is a community choice program. However Carroll and Khan already selected our rate plan for Irvine residents without even doing a poll or a simple “ask”. They selected the highest rate option which automatically means every resident will be paying substantially more for their electricity. “OPT OUT” PEOPLE! This is a scam and we are being used, AGAIN, for our money to enrich these people who don’t even have the experience to run a program such as this!

  2. The Residents and Businesses in Irvine and Cities that have joined the Orange County Power Authority, need to pay ATTENTION! You are all going to be AUTOMATICALLY removed from Southern California Edison (SCE) and enrolled in this new Community Choice Energy (CCE) program, also known as Community Choice Aggregator (CCA).

    Irvine Council Member, MIKE CARROLL, and Irvine Mayor, FARRAH KHAN are spearheading this program and neither have the experience to run this type of program. Mike Carroll does however, have experience in using tax dollars for his own personal benefit and Farrah Khan has experience in covering it up. And this program is all about using our tax dollars to create a whole new bureaucracy that allow city council members to profit. That’s all it is, and common sense tells you this.

    All you have to do is understand the process. SCE still provides transmission, distribution, and customer billing services that are paid for by us through this new program. The rate we pay for our energy is decided by the Board members of this CCE, which include Mike Carroll and Farrah Khan and these fees are on top of the SCE fees mentioned above. If you think you will be getting “greener” energy, helping the environment, and all that, think again. For reasons that will be explained further, just know that if your neighbor “opts out” of this CCE, they will still be getting the same exact energy that you receive and are paying more for, substantially more. Why? Because distribution of our energy comes from SCE’s grid. And unless you have a dedicated line to you from SCE, we ALL receive the same mix of energy. If you want to guarantee receiving 100% green energy, then you need to cut your line with SCE and invest in Solar Panels. But you will not be told this. You will be sold on the fact of receiving greener energy and helping our environment. But that isn’t even true because you have no way of knowing that what these Board members are purchasing is even green energy. You are told to “trust” them.

    What this CCE does is something known as “green washing”. It’s a paper trading scheme, known as Renewable Energy Certificates or REC’s. These CCE’s purchase inexpensive energy from a windfarm or an industrial solar farm that is not actually from wind or solar. It purchases cheap gas-fired power and delivers that to SCE and reports the REC to governing agencies as green because it came from a wind or solar farm. And greenhouse gas emissions are not decreasing, as the agency claims, but actually increasing because CCE’s are adding to the demand for gas-fired power plants. The more REC’s it buys, the more demand it creates for gas-fired power and the more emissions it produces.

    CCE’s offer nothing to consumers except higher rates. Rates under a CCE are not regulated by a government agency. The rates are set by the CCE’s Board of Directors, which is comprised of local city council members. And who’s to keep the CCE’s from paying their directors and consultants outlandish salaries and benefits? We already know that the CCO of Irvine’s CCE is getting over $200,000 a year, not including car allowance, cell phone, health benefits, retirement plan, severance package, sick pay, paid vacations, etc. All this for a non-profit organization paid for by taxpayers! Irvine residents are being slapped twice for the startup costs for this CCE through their monthly rate and then by the City using tax funds to loan to this CCE.

    Energy is a long-term business. Procurement contracts are non-cancellable and can span 30-40 years into the future. Cities that join CCA’s are on the hook for large, long-term financial obligations. When things turn south, and they eventually will, member cities are stuck because they cannot afford to exit the program. Marin Clean Energy had outstanding non-cancelable power purchase commitments of approximately a billion dollars. Marin Clean Energy has actually cost consumers more while providing energy that is less clean than their local utility company was providing. The primary beneficiaries of this CCE, which has 22 employees, is the directors and consultants of the organization that are bilking taxpayers out of millions of dollars a year. By the time customers realize this they will be locked in for at least six months before they can go back to their utility company.

    The Joint Powers Authority membership document includes language that enables a CCE to invoke eminent domain within a member jurisdiction’s boundaries, so cities that join JPAs may not even realize they are “giving away their sovereignty.” If there’s an empty field, the CCE can assert eminent domain and install a solar farm. Similarly, the CCE can invoke eminent domain and erect windmills. These are very real issues, given that CCAs claim they want to construct local renewables.
    The Board members on Irvine’s CCE remain on the Board even if they are not re-elected on their city council. So now we have unelected Board members making decisions about our open space! That should scare the heck out of everyone!

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