The Coast News Group

Clean Energy Alliance holds first meeting

CARLSBAD — The reality of Community Choice Aggregation is moving fast for three North County cities.

On Nov. 5, the Clean Energy Alliance, the CCA, otherwise known as Community Choice Energy, held its first board of directors meeting, kicking off a new energy future for Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach.

Councilwoman Cori Schumacher, who represents Carlsbad on the CCA board, was voted as the chairwoman, while Councilwoman Ellie Haviland of Del Mar was picked as vice chair. Also sitting on the board is Councilwoman Kristi Becker of Solana Beach.

Their terms are for the fiscal year, although there are no term limits, according to Jason Haber, assistant to the city manager in Carlsbad. He, along with Assistant City Manager Dan King of Solana Beach and Clem Brown, environmental sustainability/special projects manager for Del Mar, were instrumental in moving quickly for the three cities to form a joint-powers agreement so CEA can meet the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline to file its implementation plan with the California Public Utilities Commission.

“We will get this right,” Becker said.

The newly formed board also approved preliminary budgets for the rest of Fiscal Year 2019-20 and 2020-21. The budget estimates for 2019-20 total $450,000 and $1,4459,500 for 2020-21.

Those costs will be split between the three cities, although the startup funds will be recouped through surplus of the CEA. Those costs could drop, however, if other cities or San Diego County decide to join the JPA by October 2020, Haber said a previous interview.

Other municipalities in play to join the CEA include Santee, the county, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido. Those last three cities are currently undergoing a feasibility study, while Oceanside was part of a study with Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar and Solana Beach.

Encinitas recently decided to join the City of San Diego’s JPA, along with Chula Vista.

As for the implementation plan, King said the goals include a default energy minimum of 50% renewable energy and default rates set to provide a 2% discount below San Diego Gas & Electric.

Schumacher added the board will have decisions to make regarding its energy portfolio, and specifically spoke briefly about nuclear power and the concerns with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The board, meanwhile, must appoint an interim chief executive officer and finalizing its plan before the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline. Residents in Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach must opt out to remain with San Diego Gas & Electric.

As for the meeting schedule, the board did not approve the item, as Haber said they will return Nov. 19 with a revised calendar. Becker said she preferred if the cities rotated hosting CEA meetings to give residents in each city a better opportunity to attend.

Carlsbad will host the rest of 2019, with meetings slated for 10 a.m. on Nov. 19, and 2 p.m. on Dec. 19. Haber added the meetings will be held on the third Thursday of each month.

“We’re all pretty close, but I would like some meetings in Solana Beach,” Becker said. “I want our residents to be able to (come to meetings and) talk about rates.”

Also on an interim basis, the board approved Carlsbad City Clerk Services Manager Sheila Cobian as the CEA secretary; Marie Berkuit, finance director in Solana Beach, as the chief financial officer; Greg Stepanicich, Fairfield city attorney, as general counsel; and Tosdal APC as regulatory counsel; and Richards, Watson & Gershon as general counsel.

Richards, Watson & Gershon was approved for up to $80,000 for its services through the end of the fiscal year, while Tosdal APC, headed by Ty Tosdal, was approved for $50,000.