BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA CITY COUNCIL: COMMUNITY CHOICE RESOLUTION
Passed by the Berkeley Energy Commission and the Berkeley City Council on May 5, 1998

Contact: Paul Fenn
Local Power Coalition
510 451 1727 or paulfenn@local.org


RESOLUTION NO. 59,462-N.S.


REQUESTING THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE TO AMEND THE STATE'S ELECTRIC DEREGULATION LAW, CHAPTER 854 OF 1996, SECTIONS 366(A) AND (B), AS WELL AS ANY OTHER APPLICABLE SECTIONS, TO AUTHORIZE ANY CALIFORNIA MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, UPON A MAJORITY VOTE OF ITS CITY COUNCIL OR REGISTERED VOTERS, TO DESIGNATE ITSELF AS THE AUTOMATIC AGGREGATOR OF ELECTRICITY ON BEHALF OF ITS RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES, SUCH THAT RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES SHALL BE AUTOMATICALLY INCLUDED IN THE MUNICIPALITY'S AGGREGATED ELECTRICITY BUYERS' GROUP, UNLESS EXERCISING A CHOICE FOR THE EXISTING ELECTRICAL CORPORATION OR ANOTHER PROVIDER

WHEREAS, the state's electric deregulation law, Chapter 854 of 1996, came into effect on January 1, 1998; and

WHEREAS, the electricity industry constitutes the largest industrial sector with profound financial impacts on residents and businesses, with multiplier effects in the local economy; and

WHEREAS, the electricity industry is one of the largest single sources of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, as well as health-damaging pollutants such as ozone and radiation, holding far-reaching impacts on the public health and environment in the city of Berkeley and around the world; and

WHEREAS, many residents and small businesses of Berkeley may be unlikely to participate in or benefit as consumers from the deregulated electricity marketplace unless they are organized in aggregate to pool their electricity demand as a large volume buyer; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of Berkeley may be best be able to influence the price, terms and conditions of, and the pollution associated with, electricity sold within its boundaries if the City of Berkeley is able to play a role as an aggregator of electric consumers within its jurisdiction upon a majority vote of registered voters or of the City Council; and

WHEREAS, section 366(a) of Chapter 854 of 1996 deregulating California's electricity industry declares that "Customers shall be entitled to aggregate their electric loads on a voluntary basis, provided that each customer does so by a positive written declaration," and that "If no positive declaration is made by a customer, that customer shall continue to be served by the existing electrical corporation or its successor in interest," meaning in effect that Pacific Gas and Electric Company will function as the automatic aggregator of electricity service to all consumers who do not find an alternative supplier; and

WHEREAS, section 366(b) of Chapter 854 of 1996 deregulating California's electricity industry states that "Aggregation may be accomplished by private market aggregators, cities, counties, special districts or on any other basis made available by market opportunities and agreeable by positive written declaration by individual consumers," in effect prohibiting local governments from automatically, even upon a majority vote of its citizens or City Council, aggregating residents and businesses which do not find an alternative power supplier to Pacific Gas and Electric Company; and

WHEREAS, the City of Berkeley is uniquely dedicated to strengthening its local economy, creating jobs, protecting the public health, improving air quality, protecting the environment, and ensuring a sustainable energy future for the residents and businesses in its boundaries, and has a direct interest in the proliferation of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology within its communities for purposes of job creation and environmental protection; and

WHEREAS, the existing default provider provisions in the State law would unnecessarily reduce the potential economic and environmental benefits of a municipally-aggregated electricity buyers' group; and

WHEREAS, although the City of Berkeley has no specific plans at present to create a municipally-aggregated electricity buyers' group, it is in the community's interest to have the option to do so in the most economically efficient manner; and,

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has recently established a legislative precedent for effective local government aggregation of electric consumers, while ensuring that any customer who wishes to select his or her own electric supplier be allowed to opt-out of the aggregation program.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Berkeley requests the California Legislature to amend the State's electric deregulation law, Chapter 854 of 1996, Sections 366(a) and (b), as well as any other applicable sections, to authorize any California Municipal Corporation, upon a majority vote of its city council or registered voters, to designate itself as the automatic aggregator of electricity on behalf of its residents and businesses, such that residents and businesses shall be automatically included in the municipality's aggregated electricity buyers' group, unless exercising a choice for the existing electrical corporation or another provider.

May 5, 1998


Copyright (c) 1998 by the American Local Power Project