by Carmen Ramirez – Mayor Pro Tem, Oxnard, and Director, Clean Power Alliance Board
Christy Weir – Council Member, Ventura, and Director, Clean Power Alliance Board
Ventura County has become one of the largest communities in the nation to adopt 100% clean renewable energy. With the arrival of Clean Power Alliance (CPA), the County and many of its cities are dramatically reducing emissions in a simple and cost-effective way.
Last month, residents received the first of four mailers about the launch of Clean Power Alliance residential service in February. Service for nonresidential customers will begin in May.
Prior to Clean Power Alliance, we could only buy power from Southern California Edison (SCE). Now for the first time in our region’s history, there is competition and we have a choice. The primary goal of Clean Power Alliance is to provide clean renewable energy at competitive rates. Clean Power Alliance is lean, transparent and accountable, overseen by locally elected representatives who answer to the public.
The majority of Ventura County’s Clean Power Alliance member agencies are starting our residents and businesses at 100% clean renewable energy; this includes the cities of Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, and Ojai, and the County of Ventura (unincorporated area). Our five communities are joined by five others in Los Angeles county, so approximately one-third of Clean Power Alliance’s one million customers will be invested in 100% renewable sources.
This will be the largest and most significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ever achieved in these jurisdictions, and it will make our environment healthier and our air cleaner. For example, emissions from the generation of electricity used by Ventura County government facilities alone will drop from 19,500 metric tons of CO2 down to 72 metric tons per year.
It is fitting and appropriate that Ventura County takes the lead on reducing emissions, as we are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. We continue to face water shortages even in winter, along with increasing frequency and severity of wildfires. Our coastal communities and Naval Base Ventura County face potential sea level rise, and some of our largest economic engines, including the agricultural industry, are already feeling the impacts of climate change. The leaders of Ventura County’s 100% Green communities view this default choice as responsible governance, advancing a prudent, efficient and effective solution to a serious problem.
Clean Power Alliance customers can always choose among three rate options – Lean Power (36% renewable), Clean Power (50% renewable) and 100% Green Power (100% renewable). For just 7-9% above SCE’s base rate (but 5% less than SCE’s comparable 100% renewable option), we have the opportunity to immediately invest in 100% clean renewable energy for our homes and businesses which will lead us away from polluting fossil-fueled electricity. The average resident currently pays $112 per month for electricity; the 100% option would add approximately eight dollars, making their total bill $120 per month.
Customers in 100% Green Power communities who are enrolled in CARE, FERA, or Medical Baseline will get Green Power at no extra charge. Those with solar net energy metering systems can receive bill credits, and more cash back than what SCE provides, when they produce more energy than they use.
Surplus revenues from CPA operations will be reinvested in our communities via local programs and benefits to customers. Through its Board and public Community Advisory Committee, Clean Power Alliance will work to develop community programs addressing such priorities as local renewable energy development and job creation, rebates and incentives for measures that will clean our air, and rate savings.
At any time and with no switching fees, customers can opt for another plan (Lean Power or Clean Power) that is cheaper or the same as SCE’s base rate and still has a higher renewable energy content. Customers can also opt out and return to SCE. SCE will continue to maintain transmission and distribution lines and handle billing for all customers, which will now include a line-item for Clean Power Alliance’s energy. Visit https://cleanpoweralliance.org or call the customer service center at 1-888-585-3788 for more information.