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Community Choice Energy
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CEA hopeful County Board of Supervisors will join

REGION — After the San Diego County Board of Supervisors updated its guidance on the possibility of joining up with a community choice energy program, the Clean Energy Alliance is set to prepare a letter to send to the county in the hopes the county could join CEA.

The supervisors had several questions for both the Clean Energy Alliance and San Diego Community Power, a community choice aggregate serving San Diego, Chula Vista, Encinitas, La Mesa and Imperial Beach, including a possible fee for new members, the obligations new members would have, the rates of the community choice programs versus those of SDG&E and other legal inquiries.

The Clean Energy Alliance board of directors has agreed to prepare a letter to send to the county that will be approved at the board’s May meeting.

“I think this is good news,” said Dwight Worden, an alternate on the Clean Energy Alliance board from the city of Del Mar. “We have enough load to be feasible, we figured that out, but it would be nice to have some more. I think it would benefit our rates in a variety of ways.”

Clean Energy Alliance does not have numbers on the type of load it would incur if the unincorporated parts of the county were to join, but it is expected to be significant.

“I have no basis of any factual information but yes, I would assume the same,” said Interim CEO Barbara Boswell about the potential addition being significant.

The Clean Energy Alliance does not currently have a consistent policy on new members joining the program. For Kristi Becker, the chair of the Clean Energy Alliance board of directors, that is critical not only for the potential of the county joining but for other cities as well.

“I don’t want that to hinder, obviously, our response to the county because we’re all thrilled to welcome them aboard,” Becker said. “But I do think for the future it would be really good to have a policy on this.”

The cost to the Clean Energy Alliance for evaluating and implementing a new member would include costs not exceeding $30,000. The board discussed charging that amount to new member agencies to cover costs that would be reimbursed to the individual agencies over time.

This is similar to what Clean Energy Alliance has done with its founding member agencies.

“It may be a good approach to have the prospective members pay their share of the upfront cost but be reimbursed once the Clean Energy Alliance has launched into their territories,” Boswell said.

Boswell says it would also incentivize agencies to not change their mind partway through the process and decide to not join.

The board of directors will finalize a letter answering some of the supervisors’ questions at their meeting next month.

They also expect to hear from the county about their potential interest in joining with the Clean Energy Alliance before Aug. 1. If the county decides to join, then it could adopt a resolution to join as early as November of this year.