By Tyson Siegele, SanDiego350 (Originally published in the East County Magazine on 2/12/17)
This coming Wednesday, February 15th, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will vote on implementation for some or all of the San Diego County Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan (CREP). Many of the steps outlined in the plan save the county money and promote a healthier environment, but one particular piece of the plan could do more to promote clean energy and lower costs than all the rest combined: Community Choice Energy (CCE).
CCE, also referred to as Community Choice Aggregation, is a program that gives consumers an additional choice in electricity provider. In the past, all power has been sourced by the local utility, in monopolistic fashion. This approach, of course, does not tend to produce the lowest costs. Under a CCE program, the local utility will have to compete with alternative energy electricity generation, and the consumer will be able to choose who supplies his power, thus breaking up the monopoly.
The cities/regions in California that have adopted CCE programs have seen reductions in the cost of electricity offered. Not only that, but consumers can choose between electricity packages that can range from 30% to as much as 100% renewable energy. In some cases, even the 100% greenhouse gas free option is cheaper than the standard utility offering. This is because, for the last few years, wind and solar have been the two cheapest forms of new electricity generation, even without subsidies. Better yet, wind and solar costs are still dropping.
The first step toward setting up a CCE for San Diego county is a feasibility study. This is what the county supervisors are voting on this coming Wednesday. To contact them regarding your opinion on whether CCE should move forward, call or write:
District 1 — Greg Cox — 619-531-5511, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 — Dianne Jacob, Chair — 619-531-5522, email@example.com
District 3 — Kristin Gaspar — 619-531-5533, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4 — Ron Roberts — 619-531-5544, email@example.com
District 5 — Bill Horn — 619-531-5555, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyson Siegele, a SanDiego350 member, is an architect who works to promote sustainable design and clean energy. Recently he created ButItJustMightWork.com, a residential clean energy handbook, to chronicle things to do as well as things to avoid on one’s path to zero emissions.Google+