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Getting Off The Grid With Community Energy Co-op Plans

Lane Sharman, the co-founder of San Diego Energy District, talks to KPBS about community-owned non-profit energy cooperatives.

Some San Diegans are looking for a way to work around the frequent rate hike requests from San Diego Gas & Electric and possible brownouts caused by the off-line San Onofre power plant.

Lane Sharman, the co-founder of San Diego Energy District Foundation, told KPBS about an alternative: community-owned non-profit energy cooperatives.

He said San Diegans could buy their energy from a wholesaler and work around the SDG&E system.

This co-op style of acquiring energy is already underway in Marin County in California and in five other states, Sharman said.

“I see no reason why it could not be accomplished here in San Diego,” he said.

Last week, San Diego Energy District announced it it wanted to form a Local Energy Cooperative to get that co-op system started.

The cooperative would offer a choice between purchasing power from SDG&E or local "green power" from Community Choice Aggregation.

San Diego already attempted to establish an energy co-op in 2005, but its costs were about 5 percent higher than those offered by SDG&E.

Sharman said today costs are “dramatically” different.

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