Orange County Power Authority Formation
In 2020, Mayor Khan and Councilmember Carroll were appointed as Board members of the newly formed Orange County Power Authority (OCPA). Some information on the Board members and past meetings is available on our website. For more information, including Board meeting agendas and viewing instructions for upcoming meetings, please visit the OC Power website.
On November 20, 2020 after numerous meetings and City Council presentations, Irvine and Fullerton executed a Joint Powers Agreement to form the Orange County Power Authority. In December, the cities of Buena Park and Huntington Beach, also executed the Joint Powers Agreement to become members of OCPA. On February 16, the City of Lake Forest decided to leave OCPA. Several other cities have expressed interest in joining, and are following OCPA's progress in 2021.The City of Irvine committed to funding the launch of the Community Choice Energy (CCE) effort through 2022.
OCPA will plan for the CCE’s launch by building a staff and consultant team, buying power, and developing customer platforms and programs in addition to other start-up functions to prepare for a program launch in spring through fall of 2022. OCPA will offer retail electricity to residents and businesses as an alternative to SCE, as well as energy and climate change related programs. Customers will have choice over their retail electricity options and may return to SCE service at any time. OCPA would serve between 170,000 to 250,000 accounts to start, and will likely grow to one of the larger CCEs in the state.
OCPA expects to offer rate savings, electricity rate stabilization, local control over energy sources, economic development initiatives, and place more renewable energy onto the grid while supporting programs to reduce energy consumption. These programs could include electric vehicle charging stations, net energy metering, energy efficiency grants and rebates, and low-income customer assistance.
What is Community Choice Energy?
Community Choice Energy, also known as Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), has been operating in California since 2002 following passage of Assembly Bill 117. CCE programs enable local government control over energy procurement to purchase power, set competitive rates, and collect revenue. The local utility will still maintain the electricity grid, deliver energy, and bill customers. CCEs offer automatic enrollment to businesses and residences in its jurisdiction, with the ability for the customer to opt out and continue to purchase electricity from the utility. Customers have the option of choosing increased percentages of renewable energy. CCE programs in California generally procure and resell a power mix between 50 percent and 100 percent renewable energy to their customers.
CCE Progress in Irvine
Following several presentations to the City’s Green Ribbon Environmental Committee, on September 25, 2018, the City Council approved initiating a feasibility study to assess the risks, challenges, and potential economic benefits of implementing a CCE program in Irvine. EES Consulting was awarded a contract to conduct the CCE feasibility study, and completed the study in December 2019.
On December 10, 2019, the Irvine City Council voted unanimously to consider formation of a Community Choice Energy program in partnership with other Orange County cities, and conduct a peer review of the feasibility study’s findings. The City Council directed staff to prepare preliminary Joint Powers Authority (JPA) formation documents, negotiate with other cities, and submit a CCE Implementation Plan to the California Public Utilities Commission by December 31, 2020.
In spring and summer of 2020, updates were made to the feasibility study and a peer review study was conducted. The completed documents can be viewed here:
- Community Choice Energy Feasibility Study (January 2020)
- Peer Review of Irvine Community Choice Energy Feasibility Study Findings (June 19, 2020)
- City Council Staff Report on Peer Review Findings (July 14, 2020)
- Finance Commission Staff Report on Community Choice Energy Feasibility Study Findings (August 19, 2019)
- Community Choice Energy Summary of Key Findings (August 19, 2019)
Questions on this project can be directed to Sona Coffee, the City’s Environmental Programs Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.