Death of bill paves way for consumer utility independence and clean energy jobs
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 – Clean-energy advocates throughout the state rejoiced at the much-deserved defeat of Assembly Bill 2145 as the 2013-14 legislative session came to a close on Friday, Aug. 29.
The bill, backed by multiple California monopoly utilities, including SDG&E, would hinder the ability of communities and municipalities to create Community Choice Energy programs (CCEs). These programs allow residents to consolidate their buying power and lower their rates by independently purchasing clean energy. This provides a vital, community-empowering alternative to the monopoly utility companies that give consumers no say on where their energy comes from, have consistently met only the minimum clean energy requirements. AB2145 was a revived 2010 measure, Proposition 16, that was soundly defeated by California voters, in which Pacific Gas & Electric spent over $46 million to prevent Community Choice in California.
The bill was opposed by many cities, counties, organizations and businesses statewide, including a strong local coalition opposing the measure, including the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego, San Diego County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Dave Roberts, the SanDiego350, and local businesses and unions.
The move poises San Diego to explore implementation of its own CCE, which SanDiego350 strongly advocates. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has included funding for a CCE feasibility study in the city’s recently approved budget. San Diegans are urging city officials to give residents the ability to collectively purchase clean energy, which would reduce carbon emissions and benefit the local economy by creating jobs. Jobs at SDG&E would not be reduced as the utility would continue to maintain and operate the transmission lines.
Establishing a CCE in San Diego is a tenet of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) draft released in February 2014 by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. The revised draft CAP is expected to be released in late September, and business, environmental, and consumer advocates expect CCE to be preserved in the CAP, as a key means to reduce San Diego’s greenhouse gas emissions, promote local renewable energy jobs, and offer San Diegans more choice and competition in making their energy choices.
SanDiego350.org, an all-volunteer organization, is concerned about climate change and its very real effects on our livelihoods, well-being, and the future for our children. We work to increase awareness of climate change and advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are loosely affiliated with 350.org, the international climate organization, whose work inspires us.
Visit peoplesclimatesd.org for information on the upcoming People’s Climate March on Sept. 21, when SanDiego350 and a broad coalition of environmental, health, labor and civic organizations will join allies throughout the nation to demand what we know is within reach: a world with an economy that for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.