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'SDG&E Set to Stifle' Community Choice Energy


Last updated 8/27/2016 at 10:06am

Also known as community choice aggregation, or CCA, community choice energy brings local control. Municipalities allow residents and businesses to choose alternative energy providers. In some instances, cities or local jurisdictions may choose to establish their own energy corporations, similar to how municipal water districts are operated.

Climate Action Campaign, San Diego-area climate watchdog organization, expressed disappointment with a recent decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to approve San Diego Gas & Electric's request to form an independent district to handle public relations regarding community choice energy. Currently, SDG&E is the region's only electricity provider.

"SDG&E has made clear they’ll stop at nothing to stifle the voices and the freedom of choice for families and businesses who want better energy options to save money, clean the air and create a brighter, healthier future with home grown clean power," stated Nicole Capretz, executive director of the Climate Action Campaign. The decision comes at a time when several cities in the region, including Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and San Diego, are considering community choice energy as part of their climate action plans.

"We will not let this stop our progress," Capretz said. "We are just getting started on a positive campaign to improve our quality of life. We won't stop until we offer families the freedom they deserve. After all, that's the American way."

SDG&E's plan would create a new marketing division housed at its parent company, Sempra, which Capretz says would be used to market and lobby against community choice using unlimited shareholder funds.

She said Climate Action Campaign was among several cities, elected officials, businesses and environmental organizations who submitted letters expressing opposition to SDG&E’s plan, claiming the playing field is not level.

"We will keep pressing the commission to adopt more meaningful protections that limit SDG&E’s ability to overwhelm community choice energy efforts," Capretz said. "The safeguards approved today are a start, but not sufficient to level the playing field and prevent SDG&E from killing the freedoms and opportunities our families deserve. [This is] an unfortunate setback for community choice, but nowhere near defeat. This is just the beginning of a battle we will win. We still have some tricks up our sleeves."

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