Heard talk about community choice energy but not sure what’s what? Here’s a primer on the basics to get you powered up.
What is community choice energy and why should I care?
Instead of one utility company supplying and delivering power, a public entity steps in as broker. This go-between sources energy from carbon-free and renewable suppliers, then partners with the utility to deliver the power to you. That means you get earth-friendly carbon-free power (hydroelectric, wind, solar, etc.) typically at lower prices than you’re paying now. We see this as a win-win all around.
In just 8 years, California has gone from one community choice program to 21, with San Diego set to become the largest city in the U.S. to go this route. Seven other states – Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Virginia – have also adopted legislation authorizing community choice energy.
So this is happening here?
Yep, though timing depends on where you live. The cities of San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Morro Bay and Paso Robles have already signed on to join Monterey Bay Community Power, which is up and running in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Arroyo Grande, Atascadero and Pismo Beach are expected to join the gang in coming months; SLO County is still a bit of a question mark.
Local customers are expected to receive a rebate of 3.7 percent of their current costs – projected to mean a savings of more than $30 million across SLO County. You can also “opt-up” to 100 percent renewable power or choose to apply your rebate toward investment in local energy projects (offshore wind, anyone?) or climate efforts.
Do I have to participate?
Nope. It’s completely optional. If for some reason you aren’t interested in carbon-free energy with about 3 percent savings, you can stick with what you’ve got now.
Does the SLO Chamber support community choice energy?
Absolutely. Community choice energy aligns with the Chamber’s Economic Vision, Imagine SLO, in furthering sustainable solutions that support healthy economic growth and ensure community resiliency. We are advocating for inclusion of the remaining cities and County of San Luis Obispo in the Monterey Bay Community Power Joint Powers Authority.
Does this mean PG&E is out of the picture?
Negatory. PG&E equipment – towers, lines, stations, etc. – will still deliver the energy to your home and business. And your monthly bill will still come from PG&E, with new line items for generation and delivery charges, as you can see in this sample.
Watch Chamber Legislative Affairs Director Molly Kern talk about community choice energy at June’s Good Morning SLO.