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Published: Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Placer County explores Community Choice Energy as energy supply option

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved moving forward with certain items related to the assessment and planning for a Community Choice Aggregation or Community Choice Energy (CCE) program and its possible benefits for businesses and residents in Placer County.  A CCE in Placer County would provide a choice for purchasing energy and provide local control over rates and incentives as well as the opportunity to utilize locally generated power to meet business and residential electrical needs.

CCE programs allow local governments to provide power based on the pooled energy use of electricity customers within their jurisdictions. The CCE program provides the energy supply and works with the investor owned utilities (IOUs) like PG&E and Liberty Energy to provide seamless electricity delivery over the IOUs transmission lines and infrastructure.  The IOUs continue to be responsible for maintaining the electric distribution system, metering and billing, and providing most public benefit programs.

“Community Choice Energy is about choice and local control,” said Supervisor Jack Duran, District 1. “The economic leverage a CCE provides would benefit the entire county and especially locations like the Sunset Industrial Area.”

The presentation, given by Jenine Windeshausen Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector on June 7, provided an outline for developing a CCE program in Placer County and a summary of the assessment, due diligence and planning done to date. Windeshausen asked the Board for approval to begin discussions with the eligible cities of Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Loomis and Rocklin about participating in a CCE program. Roseville, which has its own municipal electric utility, is ineligible to participate by State law.

“We have some potentially incredible opportunities for our residents and businesses,” said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, District 5. “With a CCE program, residents and businesses get a choice in where they purchase their energy from and there is local control over rates, energy efficiency programs, and rebates and incentives.”

Windeshausen will return to the Board to review findings.

A CCE program can offer energy from a combination of power sources, including locally generated solar and biomass. Biomass produces energy while decreasing the forest fuel load that contributes to devastating wildfires and smoky skies in the summer.

Marin and Sonoma counties and the City of Lancaster have established CCE programs. San Francisco just launched its own CCE program. More than 15 other California communities are in various stages of exploring and developing Community Choice Energy programs to provide energy for their homes and businesses.

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