Community Choice Energy is a program that allows cities or counties to form a not-for-profit local power agency that bundles the buying power of residents and businesses to purchase electricity. Community Choice empowers local governments to decide where their electricity comes from. The local power agency can purchase electricity from the market or develop clean energy resources to generate its own electricity. Choosing where our electricity comes from lets the community decide how quickly to transition to clean energy. A Community Choice program works with the existing utility (in our case PG&E), which will deliver the electricity, maintain the infrastructure, and do billing and other customer services.
Community Choice offers customers an alternative to PG&E that can provide more renewables, better energy conservation services and more affordable rates. A local power agency that develops its own clean energy resources can, in its own community, provide clean energy jobs and stimulate economic growth.
On June 3, 2014, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to take the first steps in establishing a Community Choice program, allocating $1.3 million to fund a feasibility study. The County hopes to see the program launched by early 2017.
Currently, the County is recruiting citizens to serve on a stakeholder advisory committee that will oversee the feasibility study and set goals for the program. The advisory committee will be comprised of Supervisor appointees and representatives of cities and large energy users, such as BART and UC Berkeley, that are interested in participating in the program.
The East Bay Clean Power Alliance (EBCPA), made up of multiple local organizations, has been closely following the process to ensure that Alameda County’s program emphasizes community participation, developing local clean energy resources, and produces clean jobs and economic growth.
The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, a member of EBCPA, and the David Brower Center are hosting a panel discussion on Community Choice. This educational event will be on Monday, April 20, at 7pm at the Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, in downtown Berkeley. It is open to the public, free of charge, and wheelchair accessible.
If you would like more information about Community Choice, the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, or about the upcoming event, please contact email@example.com