COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY
In 2002, Assembly Bill 117 opened the door for Community Choice Energy (CCE), also known as Community Choice Aggregation, which permits California cities and counties to purchase electricity on behalf of their communities. For many decades, Southern California Edison has been the sole entity that has acquired power for Buena Park. However, the CCE’s purchasing power introduces competition into the energy market, providing customers with a choice, where none currently exists.
It is important to note that the CCE’s role is limited to the purchasing of power, not its delivery. Southern California Edison remains in control of the remaining steps in the energy cycle: transmission, distribution, metering, and billing.
CCEs may be an attractive option for communities that want greater local control over how their power is generated. For Buena Park, this means greater customer choice for its residents and businesses than what is currently offered. Historically, CCEs have been established with environmental goals in mind and often purchase power from renewable energy sources (e.g. water, wind, and solar) to enable a more rapid shift away from conventional energy sources that emit greenhouse gases, such as natural gas, coal, or nuclear. However, CCEs have also demonstrated the ability to negotiate competitive electricity rates and have been shown to provide customers with potential cost savings compared to the rates of local utility providers (i.e. SCE).
ORANGE COUNTY POWER AUTHORITY (OCPA)
The City of Irvine has been spearheading an effort to create a regional CCE program known as OCPA and has invited all Orange County cities to join. On December 15, 2020, the Buena Park City Council voted to join OCPA as a founding member along with the cities of Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine and Lake Forest. Buena Park City Council selected Council Member Sonne to the OCPA Board to represent Buena Park. Mayor Traut was selected as an alternate Board Member.
There is no direct fiscal impact to join OCPA, as founding member agencies are not required to make any financial contributions. In lieu, the City of Irvine has agreed to finance all initial start-up costs. During the first 5-7 years of operation, OCPA will repay Irvine’s investments while aiming to build up proper financial reserves.
BUENA PARK'S PROGRESS TO DATE:
03/09/21 – The City Council will decide on how to proceed with membership in the OCPA before the April 1, 2021, deadline.
03/02/21 – The City Council will hold a “virtual” Town Hall meeting to discuss membership in the OCPA.
02/09/21 – The City Council reviewed an impartial analysis conducted by an outside consultant and directed staff to engage the public through advertising and to host a Town Hall meeting on March 2, 2021, at 6pm.
12/16/20 – The OCPA board held its first meeting with representatives from all member cities.
12/15/20 – The City Council voted to join the OCPA and directed staff to provide an independent analysis of OCPA’s financial viability, to review the OCPA Implementation Plan, and to provide an analysis of the risks the City would face if it remained in the OCPA.
OCPA OPT-OUT PROVISION
The OCPA JPA contains a provision that allows Buena Park to “out-out” of the JPA with 15 days notice before the April 1, 2021, deadline without any costs or penalties.
Additional information about the OCPA, including Board Members and upcoming meetings are available at https://www.ocpower.org/
Community Choice Energy Town Hall Zoom Meeting:
Tuesday, March 2, 2021