Community choice aggregation (CCA) is a policy wherein decision-making power over energy procurement is shifted from investor-owned utilities (IOUs) like Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas and Electric to locally-controlled public agencies.
Get involved today!
Make Your Voice Heard on Your Local Energy Decisions:
Community Choice Energy Ad Hoc Committee
Tuesday, October 1st
City Hall Room 15
735 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara
What is Community Choice Energy?
Historically, monopoly corporations like Southern California Edison made all the decisions about
where to get our electricity from. Recently, all that’s started to change. Both the City and County
of Santa Barbara have joined dozens of other communities in embracing community choice
energy. Community choice energy (CCE) is a policy that enables local governments to take
back control over how they source energy for their communities. That means that you and
your local government are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions about
our energy future.
Why should I be excited about community choice energy?
When we get local, public control over our power, we get to start to change a lot of flawed
systems. State-level renewable standards are getting more aggressive, but I want to see us go
100% renewable much faster: we can do that now. Too many of our energy projects are located
far away, often located in marginalized communities or built in right-to-work states: we can bring
those generation projects closer to home and become more energy independent. Right now we
don’t have sufficient energy generation on our side of the mountains, making our energy system
vulnerable to natural disasters: we can generate energy through local microgrids and become
more energy secure. Someone else has always made the decisions: now we’re in charge.
Sounds great. What needs to happen next?
Secure the Public’s Seat at the Table. Like most policy changes, CCE has the possibility of
either truly revolutionizing the way we organize public services, or it could become another
bureaucratic gambit. The best way to make sure this program is publicly accountable is to:
1. Attend CCE Ad Hoc Committee meetings. The next one is October 1st @ 10AM @ City Hall
2. When CCE is on the agenda at City Council Meetings, go make public comment.
3. Push to establish a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) so we have a long-term way
to make our voices heard.
Start Pushing for Local Generation Projects Now. It will take some time for the CCE to build
up the reserves necessary for local generation projects, but it’s never too early to talk about it. In
the meantime we should ask the right questions about where we’re getting our energy from.
Large hydro-electric isn’t carbon-based, but it’s still destructive to the environment. Solar is
great, but if it’s being generated in right-to-work states like Arizona, that’s not really helping our
local union workforce. And buying green energy certificates from the Pacific Northwest
unbundled from our actual energy sources (like the energy equivalent of carbon trading) is
nothing more than window-dressing. Meanwhile, local microgrid projects can get us energy
close to home, use local union labor, and make us energy independent and secure. We must
ask: Is it green? Is it union? Is it local?
Make Energy Costs Progressive. As it stands, low income community members pay
disproportionately more for energy than wealthier residents. With control over rate-setting, it
could be possible with the CCE to set rates progressively. Not only would progressive rates
be more economically just, but it would mean that CCE opponents would no longer be able to
use low-income customers as a human shield to protect their own coffers, as they have done in
past lobbying efforts.