WHY COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY MATTERS
In our 2007 carbon-neutral plan A New Energy Direction: A Blueprint for Santa Barbara County, we identified Community Choice Energy (CCE) as the single most effective way our region could collectively move to renewable energy. Simply put, CCE is a new way to get cleaner electricity to local homes and businesses and provide greater local control over how that electricity is sourced.
- Local governments create a new public agency responsible for purchasing and producing electricity.
- The utility remains responsible for delivering that electricity, maintaining lines and handling billing.
- Communities gain control over their power supply.
Existing programs in Marin, Sonoma, and Lancaster show that Community Choice Energy provides a wide range of benefits:
CCE introduces competition into the marketplace and provides customers with a choice about the energy sources they wish to support
CCE is typically run by a public agency, accountable to the community, not shareholders. Surplus funds may be reinvested locally in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and jobs.
CCE may help communities achieve their climate action goals by lowering energy-related greenhouse gas emissions through cleaner, renewable energy choices. Marin and Sonoma both offer customers a 100% renewable option.
CCE may provide customers renewable energy options at rates competitive with Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison. Marin and Sonoma are expected to save their ratepayers more than $25 million this year.
WHAT CEC IS DOING
CEC created Santa Barbara County Energy Choice – a coalition of individuals, businesses, and organizations – to pursue Community Choice Energy in the Central Coast.
On July 16, 2019, after over a decade of encouragement from the Community Environmental Council and other advocates, the County of Santa Barbara voted 4-1 to move forward with joining Monterey Bay Community Power. The City of Goleta directed staff to move forward in August 2019.
The Cities of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria are also moving forward with Community Choice; work sessions and meetings will continue this summer. To advocate for Community Choice in an upcoming meeting, email CEC’s Director of Energy and Climate Programs Michael Chiacos at [email protected], and he will update you as these meetings are scheduled.
CEC has given talks on Community Choice Energy at a variety of awareness-raising events and public forums, including panel discussions, city council meetings, and community gatherings. We have also actively worked to educate the public through social media and video campaigns, and created a website, SBCEnergyChoice.org, where people can go to get more information.
These efforts have helped inspire Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties – as well as several cities – to study the feasibility of a local program. This study, currently in progress, will project electricity rates, greenhouse gas reductions and local economic benefits.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Launching a Community Choice Energy program will require tremendous community support and engagement, and every person’s voice matters.
- Visit CentralCoastPower.org for developments on the local Community Choice Program.
- Join our mailing list at SBCEnergyChoice.org to learn how you can support the local effort.
- Reach out to your elected officials and tell them why you want Community Choice Energy.
- Send letters of thanks to the Board Supervisors for supporting Community Choice Energy. Find their emails here.
- Advocate for Community Choice in one of the upcoming meetings. Email CEC’s Director of Energy and Climate Programs Michael Chiacos at [email protected], and he will update you as these meetings are scheduled.
Share With Friends
Pass on what you’ve learned about this powerful new clean energy tool to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and anyone else in your network.