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April 28, 2017
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Cotati opposes SB 618

By: Dave Williams
April 7, 2017

Cotati’s City Council has penned a letter in opposition to California State Senate Bill 618, which would shift the decision making authority on power contracts from locally elected officials to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 

The shift in power would be done by the transferring of authority of electricity supply contracts and customer programs from the local Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Board of Directors to the CPUC.

The CCA currently serving Cotati is Sonoma Clean Power. Back in 2002, Assembly Bill 117 established a local government’s right to implement a (CCA) by allowing communities to pool or aggregate the electric load of their residents, businesses and other institutions in order to procure and generate electricity on their behalf. Since then, all cities in Sonoma County have joined SPC.

Senate Bill 350, passed two years ago, required the CPUC to adopt a process for CCAs and electric service providers to file an integrated resource plan (IRP). It further stated that CCAs must submit its IRPs to the CPUC for certification. Sonoma Clean Power supported these requirements because it did not remove its ability to meet the needs of the community when procuring electricity. 

“The majority of our citizens have elected to receive their electricity from SCP rather than from a for-profit Investor Owned Utility (IOU) that has a legal obligation to maximize profits for their shareholders,” stated the letter, signed by Cotati Mayor Susan Harvey. “SB 618 is unnecessary and completely dismisses the purpose for creating CCAs. SB 618 would remove our ability to procure electricity at the local level and instead treat us as if SCP is an IOU.”

Sonoma Clean Power was established with the intent of advancing local priorities that included procuring GHG-free renewable energy beyond the renewable portfolio standard, providing ratepayers with energy choice and providing competitively priced energy.

Harvey said in the letter Sonoma Clean Power is performing up to expectations.

“SCP has consistently delivered lower emissions electricity at lower costs than PG&E,” she said. “Why would the Legislature want to change a very successful program by increasing costs and removing local control?”