Southern California Cities Aggregation Consortium to Expand to Half of Los Angeles County

Culver City Vice Mayor Albert Vera, chairman of the Southern California Cities Joint Powers Consortium, a ten city group organized to purchase power collectively as aggregators for residents, businesses and municipal load, said he is drafting 36 additional cities to form perhaps the largest municipal aggregation effort in the nation.

The Consortium, which has chosen to organize its own aggregation effort rather than contracting out with a private firm, currently includes the cities of Culver City, Carson, El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Redondo Beach, and West Hollywood, representing 600,000 residential and business customers, or 14% of Southern California Edison's current customers. If the Consortium is successful in bringing in 36 new member cities, its member municipalities will include 4 million customers, nearly fifty per cent of Los Angeles County, whose County Commission "is also a strong supporter," said Vera. The Consortium's strategy is to be prepared to buy power when the California market opens to competition in January, 1998.

Vera said that the Consortium will bring in a private power marketer to provide bulk power at guaranteed rates, and to serve as a liaison between city hall and individual homeowners and businessess. Other firms would be employed to market the power to solicit participation from new industrial, commercial, and residential consumers.

Vera views the Consortium as a means of leveraging maximum electric bill savings for residents and businesses, and to bring those savings into local communities rather than to Edison. "It will be up to us, and not Edison, what to do with these monies. We can kick it back to the people through lower rates; or we can use it to lower taxes, or to implement new programs like better facilities for seniors, new parks, or youth programs."

While drafting more cities to join, Vera is working within Culver City to expand the concept of aggregation to include a list of related municipal services. First, he is investigating opportunities to convert municipal bus systems to alternative fuels, including the use of state and federal moneys to help fund the conversion of diesel and gasoline bus engines to less polluting fuels such as compressed natural gas.

The Consortium has not yet developed a position on renewable power, but Culver City and four other Consortium cities have signed energy efficiency installation contracts with Honeywell for municipal facilities. Honeywell has agreed to cut Culver City's municipal facility energy from approximately one million dollars per year to $500,000, including retrofitting city facilities and new cogeneration for a pool, police department buildings, and the Parks Department.

Copyright (c) 1997 by the American Local Power Project.