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North County Residents Hear How Community Choice Energy Might Reduce Their Electric Bills

People at the Carlsbad Senior Center hear about the feasibility of having a c...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: People at the Carlsbad Senior Center hear about the feasibility of having a community choice energy program in North County, March 21, 2019.

During a meeting at the Carlsbad Senior Center, people were excited and somewhat cautious listening to how their electricity could soon be purchased locally.

"This is not a small enterprise fund," said EES Consulting President Gary Saleba. Saleba's company completed the feasibility study for the North County cities of Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar and Oceanside. "This one here would probably generate $100 or $200 million a year — that’s a big business."

Under a community choice energy program ratepayers would have the option to choose how much renewable energy is purchased — potentially more than SDG&E uses now.

The feasibility study said if the cities of Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar and Oceanside created a community choice energy program, ratepayers could save at least two percent on electricity — which adds up to $9 million a year in savings from SDG&E.

RELATED: County Board Of Supervisors Votes To Explore Getting Into The Energy Business

Saleba said the cities could create a joint powers authority, or JPA, which would give residents transparency.

"If you’ve got a complaint — the JPA board probably meets once a month and you come in there just like a city council meeting," Saleba said. "They have a public session when everybody gets up and says their piece, you come in there and say, 'I don’t like the way you’re doing this I want something different here’s what I want you to do,' and they’ve got to listen to you and they’ve got to respond to you so there’s a lot of transparency."

People at the meeting had lots of questions — ranging from will this save money, to what’s the risk involved, and will the program actually work. Ultimately each of the cities council’s will need to vote to create a community choice energy program. The earliest it could start would be 2021.

The study also looked at each city creating its own, independent community choice energy program. It found only Del Mar would not be able to create a successful CCE program on its own.

Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar and Oceanside recently completed a feasibility study for creating a community choice energy program and held a forum with residents to see what they think of the idea.

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