County Approves Community Choice Energy Ordinance

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The County Board of Supervisors laid the groundwork Tuesday to get into the business of buying and selling electricity. The supervisors voted 3-2 to approve an ordinance establishing a community choice energy program. Supervisors Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond opposed the motion.

The board also directed staff to continue negotiations with potential partners for a Joint Powers Authority to govern the CCE program and return to the board on or before October of 2020.

Community choice energy programs, also known as community choice aggregation, allow cities and counties to buy and/or generate renewable energy like solar and wind for residents and businesses.

A County CCE would offer customers in the county’s unincorporated areas an alternative to buying power from San Diego Gas and Electric. SDG&E would still provide transmission and delivery services.

A CCE feasibility report came before the supervisors on Sept. 10. The report cited estimated start-up and operation costs, a comparison of projected CCE and SDG&E rates, potential environmental benefits and options on how to govern the program.

The study found that a County CCE could provide 90% renewable energy by 2030 and save the average residential customer about 2% per year on their overall electricity bill. Several governance options were considered, including the County operating on its own or forming a Joint Powers Authority with other local cities.

Currently, the City of Solana Beach is the only operating CCE in the county but it is working with the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar and Santee to form a Joint Powers of Authority for a new CCE program. County staff has negotiated with those cities on joining the JPA and has the option to join before Oct. 1, 2020.

A second reading for the ordinance is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact