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Local Government Commission

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Currents

An Energy Newsletter for Local Governments

Community Choice Aggregation Update

Background

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), as defined by AB 117, permits any city, county or group of cities and counties to aggregate the electric loads of residents, businesses and municipal facilities to facilitate the purchase and sale of electrical energy. Prior to AB 117, individual customer participation in electric load aggregation programs required their positive written declaration indicating their choice to participate (opt-in programs). In contrast, CCA under AB 117 provides for aggregating customer loads within city or county boundaries, with each customer given an opportunity to not join their community's aggregation program and thereby continue to be served by the incumbent distribution utility (opt-out program).

Distribution utilities are directed to cooperate fully with any community choice aggregator in its efforts to develop their aggregation program including providing all necessary data as well as to continue to provide all metering, billing, collection, and customer service to retail customers that participate in CCA programs. Community Aggregation programs cannot begin until the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has determined rules and protocols for implementing aggregation programs, including departing load fees.

CPUC Process On Community Choice Aggregation

AB 117 requires the CPUC by July 15, 2003 to establish policies and procedures by which any party, including, but not limited to, a local entity that establishes a community choice aggregation program, may apply to become administrators for energy efficiency and conservation programs that are funded through the public good charge (PGC). The draft decision that will go before the commissioners on July 10th (comments on the draft decision can be provided until July 7th) states the following:

  • Cities, counties and CCAs should not be given a preference in energy efficiency program funding awards;
  • Energy efficiency program administrators should allocate a proportional share of their activities to CCA territories where the CCA is not the program administrator;
  • The proportional share should be determined by multiplying the utility’s statewide per capita energy efficiency spending from the previous year by the number of customers in a CCA’s territory; and
  • The utilities should provide data to cities, counties and CCAs that they already collect at no cost; the data available varies between utilities.

This PGC decision is only the first step in the CPUC process to implement AB 117. The CPUC is expected to open a new rulemaking that will deal with the rest of the CCA implementation process soon.

Cities For Community Aggregation

Many cities and some counties are already starting to investigate the opportunities and costs of CCA. Some have banded together to create Cities for Community Aggregation, a coalition dedicated to exploring the benefits of purchasing bulk power on behalf of local communities. The coalition’s objectives are to:

  • Share information about community aggregation efforts;
  • Influence state agencies and the legislature to support community aggregation; and
  • Work with investor-owned utilities to implement community aggregation in a fair and reasonable manner.

To contact the coalition, call or e-mail Fraser Smith at (415) 554-1572 or fsmith@sfwater.org.

Local Government Commission Activities

LGC, together with Navigant Consulting, is seeking funding to help some pilot communities, or groups of communities, investigate the feasibility of CCA. The lessons learned from the pilot communities’ studies will be shared through workshops, fact sheets, a guidebook and this newsletter. Look for updates in future issues and action alerts.

Contact Pat Stoner at LGC for more information, (916) 448-1198, ext 309 or pstoner@lgc.org.

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