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San Diego Regional Energy Agency Holds Inaugural Board Meeting

Board members of the newly formed San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy ...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: Board members of the newly formed San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy Authority take their oath of office in the La Mesa City Council chambers, Oct. 31, 2019.

Elected officials from San Diego, La Mesa, Encinitas, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach held the inaugural meeting of a new government agency that aims to provide cheaper and greener electricity.

Board members said they plan on eventually changing the agency's name from "San Diego Regional Community Choice Energy Authority" to something shorter and more catchy. But they agreed on the symbolic importance of the meeting, as hundreds of thousands of ratepayers in the county start breaking away from San Diego Gas & Electric's monopoly on power procurement.

Listen to this story by Andrew Bowen.

Community choice energy allows a government agency to purchase wholesale electricity on behalf of households and businesses and set their own electricity rates. The programs still rely on investor-owned utilities such as SDG&E to deliver that electricity through the electrical grid.

The five cities that are part of the agency, officially united under a joint powers agreement, have pledged to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035.

Board members Thursday voted to appoint San Diego Sustainability Director Cody Hooven as their interim executive director. Hooven said in addition to filing regulatory documents with the California Public Utilities Commission, the new agency has to hire permanent staff, find office space, secure financing, create its own website and eventually start signing contracts with power plants.

"We will be serving customers in 2021, and it takes that long to make all the decisions we need to make and get all the pieces in place to start serving power to customers," Hooven said.

Solana Beach is the only other city in the county to have a working community choice energy program. Earlier this month, Solana Beach, Carlsbad and Del Mar executed their own a joint powers agreement to create a separate community choice program called Clean Energy Alliance. That program also aims to start serving customers by 2021, but the agency's board of directors has not yet held its first meeting.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has expressed interest in joining the North County community choice program, but has not ratified the joint powers agreement.

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Aired: November 1, 2019 | Transcript

Photo of Andrew Bowen

Andrew Bowen
Metro Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover local government — a broad beat that includes housing, homelessness and infrastructure. I'm especially interested in the intersections of land use, transportation and climate change.

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