In summary

Community choice aggregators were supposed to provide cheaper electricity, but some now charge more than large utility companies.

By Bob Dean, Benicia

Bob Dean is business manager at IBEW Local 1245, which represents more than 25,000 workers in utility and related fields.

Re “Californians should be seeing red over electricity rate hikes”; Commentary, June 14, 2021

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo recently blamed big bad utilities for recent rate hikes. But San Jose, like other local governments, has overpromised and underdelivered when it comes to community choice aggregators (CCAs). CCAs have grown rapidly, promising cheaper, greener energy, but several now charge higher rates than PG&E.

CCAs want to avoid paying for legally mandated long-term renewable power contracts signed decades ago, when clean power was more expensive. They also want to escape responsibility for paying for reserve power to keep the lights on. San Jose has been fined nearly $8 million for failing to procure adequate reserve energy, contributing to the energy shortages over the last two years.

When CCAs dodge their responsibilities, the costs they should pay get shifted to non-CCA electricity customers. The California Public Utilities Commission took action to stop this. CCAs pushed for Senate Bill 612 to get around the CPUC decision. It’s a bad bill that should be defeated.  

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