San Diego Regional Energy Agency Holds Inaugural Board Meeting
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Photo by Andrew Bowen
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.
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.
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