San Diego

San Diegans Consider Alternate Energy Supply Programs

"You know, in San Diego, we have the highest electricity rates in California," said Climate Action Campaign founder Nicole Capretz

Will San Diegans eventually get their energy of choice--renewable, lower-cost--with greater environmental benefits than gas and electric firms offer?

Solana Beach power customers are already headed in that direction.

The San Diego City Council is expected to consider that “trending” prospect later this year.

It’s known as “community choice aggregation” (CCA), which serves residents in San Francisco, San Jose, Marin and Sonoma Counties and several other municipalities.

Residents who don’t want to buy into such programs are free to opt out and stay with companies such as SDG&E.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission is predicting that two out of three California communities will offer CCAs by 2020.

“This train has left the station,” said former Solana Beach city councilman Peter Zahn, a member of the city’s Climate Action Commission.

“All of the existing CCA’s throughout the state have been profitable, they’re producing surpluses,” Zahn noted, during Friday’s recording session for Sunday’s edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking.”

Climate Action Campaign founder, Nicole Capretz, who is also an environmental attorney, said, “The communities are actually recognizing that they can stabilize energy costs. You know, in San Diego, we have the highest electricity rates in California.”

But skeptics caution that CCAs raise unanswered questions and pose certain risks involving finances and the availability of additional renewable supplies.

“Cities would have to make very big commitments to energy purchases going out ten or twenty years, in order for the supply to be developed for them to buy,” said CleanTech San Diego founder Jim Waring.

“And my concern with the CCA, I have yet to see the math that demonstrated it will produce new supply," added Waring.

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