Two more cities have joined LA County’s new community choice energy program, called Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE). Sierra Madre and Alhambra have signed on, electing to give their residents the option to purchase power from greener and more local sources, and providing an alternative choice to what was, up until now, the sole provider in most of the County, Southern California Edison.
LA County initially undertook a feasibility analysis to explore establishing a community choice aggregation (CCA) plan back in 2015 through a motion by written by Supervisor Don Knabe and co-sponsored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. The Board voted unanimously this April to authorize the establishment of a CCA program in Los Angeles County. CCA’s allow local governments to form utilities to buy electricity wholesale on the market or through large-scale contracts with generators. Established CCA’s are able to negotiate with energy generators on behalf of customers in order to achieve competitive prices and to select more renewable energy sources in accordance with demand.
In Los Angeles County, this model will allow the new nonprofit utility to compete with Southern California Edison, improving customer choice and bringing energy prices down. The Board estimates that power bills could decrease by as much as five percent for customers who choose to switch from Edison to LACCE. In addition, these customers will be able to help direct what types of energy the utility purchases by choosing among solar, wind, and other green sources for their own homes and businesses.
Because CCA programs allow for the continued use of existing infrastructure, the transition should be hassle-free for those consumers who purchase their electricity through LACCE. While these customers will see the change reflected in the types of power they are consuming and the prices they pay, the delivery, metering, and billing will still be carried out by Edison.
“This plan will allow residents to participate in innovative new programs like EV charging stations and energy efficiency rebates,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “I am thrilled that LA County will be bringing new sustainable energy options to our residents while offering them lower prices.”
The new program is expected to be available to unincorporated residents starting next year. Residents of incorporated cities will have access if their elected official approve participation, as long as the cities do not already have municipal power utilities. Cities currently on board include West Hollywood, Rolling Hills Estates, South Pasadena, Calabasas, Alhambra, Sierra Madre, Downey, and Agoura Hills.