Benefits 

Choice vs. no Choice

Today residents and businesses in Orange County have no choice of provider for electricity. When a city adopts community choice, residents and businesses have two options instead of one - the existing utility or the community choice program. 

 

competition vs. monopoly

In today's monopoly situation, ratepayers have little to no recourse when when rates are raised or expensive pipelines or power plants are built at their expense. Adopting community choice introduces competition for the first time in our electricity market. With competition comes price stabilization and innovation, all good things for both businesses and the public.

 

local & transparent process vs. remote & opaque process

Today, most of the decision making about rate-setting and how to generate electricity is done at meetings in Sacramento or San Francisco. That doesn't give Orange County residents much opportunity to participate. Community choice programs are run locally with meetings that are open to the public. They also have public advisory committees to ensure the public has a voice in the operation of the program.

 

stable Rates vs. runaway Rates

Businesses and residents of California pay 50% higher electricity rates on average than the national average. That is bad for family budgets and businesses' bottom lines. Introducing competition could stabilize or lower rates and bring rates closer to the national average. 

 

community Priorities vs. shareholder Priorities

All three investor-owned utilities in California are accountable to their shareholders to make a profit. Community choice programs are not-for-profit and accountable to the community.

 

Public $ for Public Benefit vs. Shareholder Profits

When investor-owned utilities have profits that go to their shareholders. Community choice programs have surpluses that are reinvested into the community. Some examples of how these surpluses are used in existing CCE programs:

  • Up to 50% discounts on electricity for businesses who let the CCE program install battery storage at their location. (Sonoma Clean Power)

  • Extra rebates on electric vehicles (Sonoma Clean Power)

  • $17,500 for homeowners who lost homes to wildfire to rebuild homes all-electric with solar and battery storage. (meaning no natural gas hookups). (Sonoma Clean Power)

  • $500 incentives for homeowners to install solar panels. (Rancho Mirage Energy Authority)

 

Local Control vs. No Control

Today we have almost no say in how and where our electricity gets generate and what rates are set at. Under community choice, local municipalities get to decide where and how our electricity is generated and what prices are set at. This opens the door to purchasing more electricity from local renewable sources, which increases resiliency and creates local clean tech jobs. CCE programs are still regulated by the CPUC just like the investor-owned utilities and have to meet the same standards for renewables.


Switch to 100% Clean Energy vs. Remain Dependent on Fossil Fuel-based Electricity

Many existing CCE programs are making the switch to clean electricity faster than the investor-owned utilities, and helping California meet its greenhouse gas emissions reductions early at a savings to customers. 


Myths

Myth: Cities should focus on transportation instead of energy for greenhouse gas reductions.
Fact:  Cities should focus on all avenues to reduce GHG emissions, and not one or the other. 

Myth: Cities won’t be able to offer lower rates than SCE or SDG&E.
Fact: So far, every CCE program's default rates are lower than the utility's. SCE's base rates are 50% higher than the national average. SDG&E customers pay the highest rates in the state and among the highest in the nation. This was recently highlighted by a letter from Office of Ratepayer Advocates within the California Public Utilities Commission stating that SDG&E’s rates for residential customers have increased 24 percent between 2015 and 2017, triple the inflation rates.

Myth: Rates will increase for CCE customers.
Fact: Marin Clean Energy has been operating for eight years and still offers lower rates than PG&E. One of the primary goals for a CCE program is to ensure rates are competitive with SCE or SDG&E’s. To date, the operational CCEs in California have succeeded in saving ratepayers millions of dollars while significantly increasing the levels of renewable and carbon free power that their customers consume.

Myth: CCE cannot meet a 100 percent renewable energy goal because it cannot build new renewable generation facilities.
Fact: Contrary to the notion that CCEs cannot enter into new long-term renewable generation projects, California’s existing programs show that the opposite is true:

  • Peninsula Clean Energy, which launched in 2016, announced in September of 2017 that it has entered into a 15-year contract for 100 MW of new solar power.

  • More broadly, CCE programs have already invested nearly $2 billion in new renewable projects in California.

  • Solar energy is now the lowest cost option in many locations, and is more inexpensive to construct and generate than fossil fuel or natural gas facilities.

Myth: CCE won’t actually create clean energy jobs.
Fact: CCE is working well for communities throughout California. For example, as of January 2017, Marin’s CCE, MCE, helped create 24 new California renewable energy projects supporting more than 2,800 in-state jobs and 1.2 million project labor hours. East Bay Clean Energy estimates it will create 6,300 new jobs in its service territory in the first eight years. Orange County CCEs will keep money that would otherwise line the pockets of utility shareholders, with the option to reinvest it in the community to build similar renewable projects.

Myth: Staying with the status quo — the for-profit monopoly — is a good solution.
Fact: The risks and costs of NOT enacting a CCE program include:

  • Higher electricity rates from SCE or SDG&E

  • Not achieving 100 percent clean energy — cities have no control over utilities

  • Less local economic development

  • Fewer local jobs

  • Less local solar