Community Choice
Community Choice Aggregation

Community Choice Aggregation or CCA is a system adopted into law in the states of Massachusetts, Ohio, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island which allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts. Currently, nearly 1 million Americans receive service from CCAs.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, where the law was first enacted in 1997, the towns of Cape Cod formed the Cape Light Compact and successfully lobbied for passage of seminal CCA legislation that had been filed by State Senator and Energy Committee Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), Senate 447 (1995). The Cape Light Compact founders, Falmouth Selectman Matthew Patrick and Barnstable County Commissioner Rob O'Leary, were subsequently elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate respectively.

The Cape Light Compact currently serves 200,000 customers, running aggressive and transparent energy efficiency programs and installing solar installations on Cape Cod schools, fire stations and libraries. In Ohio, the nation's largest CCA was formed shortly after 1999 when the state legislature adopted a CCA law - the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) switched approximately 500,000 customers in 100 mostly rural towns from a utility mix of coal and nuclear power to a mix of natural gas and renewably powered electricity, announcing a 70% air pollution reduction in the region's power mix.

Former FERC Commissioner Nora Brownell has called Community Choice Aggregations in Massachusetts and Ohio “the only great exceptions to the failure of electric deregulation in the U.S.” With every CCA yet formed still in operation and charging ratepayers less per kilowatt hour than their Investor-Owned-Utilities, CCAs have proven to be reliable and capable of delivering greener power at competitive prices. Ohio’s Office of the Consumer’s Council has said that CCA is “the greatest success story” in Ohio’s competitive market, and new legislation to re-regulate utility rates in Ohio will preserve CCA even if other forms of competition are eliminated. In Massachusetts, the success of the Cape Light Compact has led to the formation of new CCAs such as Marlborough, Massachusetts.

California

In the early days of the California energy crisis, Paul Fenn, who had served as Senator Montigny's Energy Advisor, formed Local Power (local.org and localpower.com), drafted new CCA legislation for California. In a campaign organized by Local Power, the City and County of San Francisco led Oakland, Berkeley, Marin County, and a group of Los Angeles municipalities in adopting resolutions asking for a state CCA law in response to the failure of California's deregulated electricity market. Fenn's bill was sponsored by then Assembly Member Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) in 2001, and the bill became law (AB117) in September, 2002.

In particular, San Francisco adopted a CCA Ordinance drafted by Fenn (86-04, Tom Ammiano) in 2004, creating a CCA program to build 360 Megawatts (MW) of solar, green distributed generation, wind generation, and energy efficiency and demand response to serve San Francisco ratepayers. Specifically, the ordinance combined the power purchasing authority of CCA with a revenue bond authority also developed by Fenn to expand the power of CCA, known as the H Bond Authority (Charter Section 9.107.8, Ammiano), to finance the new green power infrastructure, worth approximately $1 Billion. In 2007 the City adopted a detailed CCA Plan also written primarily by Fenn (Ordinance 447-07, Ammiano and Mirkarimi), which established a 51% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2017 for San Francisco.

Inspired by Climate Protection efforts, CCA has spread to cities throughout the Bay Area, and throughout the state. In 2007, forty California local governments are in the process of implementing CCA, virtually all of them seeking to double, triple or quadruple the green power levels (Renewable Portfolio Standard, or "RPS) of the state's three Investor-Owned Utilities. Marin, Oakland and Berkeley are also seeking to employ San Francisco-style revenue bonds and implement a 51% RPS by 2017.

Background Articles

VICTORY: California Regulators Limit Utility Power Contracts: Door Open for Community Choice, Green Power (January 22, 2004)

Local Power Comments in New California Public Utilities Commission Proceeding on Community Choice Aggregation, Calling the CPUC "Gatekeepers" Between Utility Procurement and Community Choice Aggregators, Proposes a "Principal of Mutual Indifference" to Protect Both Utility and Community Choice Ratepayers from Over-Procurement (January 9, 2004)

December 18 is "Double Dip Day" At California Public Utilities Commission with Proposals to Bail Out PG&E and Put the State's Ratepayers on the Hook Again for Utility Contracts & Power Plants (December, 2003)

San Francisco Community Choice Fact Sheets Explaining Why California, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island Municipalities Can Now Switch Electricity Providers & Convert 1/4 of their Electricity Load to Green Power Without A Rate Increase (September, 2003)

Ohio Regulators Report to Legislature Credits Community Choice Municipal Aggregation With Making Ohio's Electricity Market Among the Best In the U.S.(May, 2003)

Local Power Asks CPUC to Stop Monopolies' Plans to Block Comunities from Finding Alternative Energy Providers (Feb 2003)

Local Power News: In California, Cities Seek Alternative Power Providers, Fear Monopolies' Plans to Block Them (Jan 2003)

California Governor Signs Community Choice Bill, AB117, To Allow Communities to Choose Alternative Electricity Services Providers (September 24, 2002)

California Community Choice Bill in State Senate: $300 Million/year in Conservation, Energy Efficiency Funds Still At Risk in Senate Appropriations Committee August 12 (August 7, 2002)

San Francisco Voters Approve Proposition H: Green Light for Proposed 50MW "Community Power" Facility (November 8, 2001)

Download Fact Sheet on San Francisco Solar Iniative Campaign YES on PROP H

California Governor Vetoes Unanimous Community Choice Bill(October 14, 2001)

California Community Choice Bill Faces Hostile Amendments in Senate Committee (June, 2001)

World's Largest Urban Solar Plant Proposed by San Francisco Board President

Let Us Build Urban Solar: A Policy Proposal to the California Energy Commission

Local Power Testimony to Assembly Energy Crisis Committee on the California Community Choice bill AB48x

Our Fake Energy Crisis: What Really Happened in California, by Harvey Wasserman

Local Power Proposes "Next Generation" Distribution Wheeling Amendment to California Community Choice Bill AB48x by Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco)

February, 2001

Local Power's California Community Choice Bill Sponsored by Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco)

Click here to ask about or endorse the California Community Choice bill.

Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) sponsors California Community Choice bill (AB48x): new Distribution Wheeling Amendment is key to states's emergency conservation goals (February 28, 2001).

View California Community Choice bill AB48x.
View Distribution Wheeling Amendment.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Neighbors Become Nation's Largest Clean Power Purchaser with Community Choice Agreement: Contract Doubles the Number of Americans with Non-monopoly Power, Quintuples Green Mountain's National Customer Base

September, 2000

California Energy Crisis Becomes Official as Rates Triple in San Diego

Local Power Perspective on California Rateshock: Political Bedlam and the Call for Community Choice

Copyright (c) 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Local Power

.