Council to vote on establishment of community choice energy agency

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego City Council will consider the establishment Tuesday of a joint-powers authority to buy and sell energy in competition with private companies like San Diego Gas & Electric, five days after the council’s Environment Committee approved the proposal.

Environmentalists have long supported the concept of a public sector energy provider, known as community choice energy. Proponents say a community choice energy provider would lower energy costs, introduce a new revenue stream for the city and offer choice in the often-monopolized energy market.

A joint-powers authority including the rest of the county’s municipalities would become the second-largest in the state, according to city officials. The Clean Power Alliance, which serves nearly 1 million residents in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, is currently the largest community choice energy provider in the state.

The council voted in February to begin the process of establishing the JPA, with the intention of inviting the county of San Diego and other jurisdictions within the county into the fold. Since then, multiple cities have expressed interest in joining, including Encinitas, Chula Vista and La Mesa.

On its current timeline, the city intends to have the program providing energy to residents by 2021, but it would need to get approval from the California Public Utilities Commission by the end of the year to meet that deadline. If the JPA missed that deadline, it would have to push back energy service by a year, according to city officials.

In February, city officials estimated the program could have a total net income of $1.75 billion from 2020 to 2035, with an average annual income of roughly $110 million. The city also estimates that it could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50% by 2035 through the community choice program.

The council will vote on the proposed JPA during its 2 p.m. session in the City Administration Building’s 12th floor Council Chambers, located at 202 C St.

Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics