The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has formally created a regional energy authority and finalized a Joint Powers Agreement to allow East Bay municipalities to work together to procure energy for customers and have more input in ensuring that their energy comes from clean, local, renewable sources.
Already, 11 local cities have voted to join Alameda County in the newly created East Bay Community Energy authority. In doing so, participants are taking advantage of a 2002 State law that enables local governments to form Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs for their communities.
CCAs enable local governments to pool electricity demand within their jurisdictions in order to procure electricity for customers while maintaining the existing electricity provider, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, for customer billing, transmission and distribution services.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in June 2014 authorizing the County Community Development Agency to investigate the implementation of a CCA program for Alameda County and its cities, and in October 2016 passed an Ordinance authorizing the program. Since that date, 11 local cities have voted to join Alameda County in the East Bay Community Energy program – Albany, Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro, Dublin, Livermore, Hayward, Union City and Fremont.
“We are pleased that so many of our local government partners in Alameda County are joining us in taking this monumental step,” said Scott Haggerty, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. “Across the East Bay, the consensus is that a CCA program is the right way to go – both for the environment and for our residents.”
A feasibility study recently concluded that a CCA program could potentially bring numerous benefits to Alameda County, including:
- Competition with existing utilities that would be advantageous for consumers and their electrical rates.
2. More local control to plan and work to procure higher levels of renewable energy, and to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases associated with local energy consumption.
“We also believe our local CCA will have additional flexibility in terms of investing in local power development, energy efficiency programs for residents, and new technologies – such as electric transportation, distributed energy storage and microgrids – to help make our communities more resilient and to help generate a significant number of local jobs,” said Chris Bazar, Director of the Alameda County Community Development Agency.
The JPA Board, composed of the County and the partner Cities, is expected to convene for the first time in January 2016. After detailed program design and energy contracts are finalized, program launch for customers would begin in late 2017 or early 2018.