Photo by Theresa Vu (Instagram: @bluemoodz)
In 2002, Assembly Bill 117 opened the door for California jurisdictions to develop Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs, also known as Community Choice Aggregation. CCEs are programs that allow local governments to purchase energy on behalf of their communities, while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. For decades, Southern California Edison has been the sole entity that acquired power for a majority of Southern California. However, through a CCE, local agencies can also become a power purchaser for consumers, which introduces a new level of competition in the energy market that results in customer choice.
It is important to note that the CCE’s role is limited to the purchasing of power, not its delivery. Through a CCE, Southern California Edison would continue to remain the service provider in all other steps related to the energy delivery cycle: transmission, distribution, metering, and billing.
CCEs may be an attractive option for communities that want greater local control over how their power is generated. Historically, CCEs have been established with environmental goals in mind and often procure power from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar) to enable a more rapid shift away from energy sources that emit greenhouse gases. However, by aggregating demand, CCEs have also demonstrated the ability to negotiate competitive electricity rates and have been shown to provide customers with slight cost savings compared to the rates of local utility providers.
The City of Irvine has been spearheading an effort to create a regional CCE program known as OCPA and has invited all Orange County cities to join. On December 10, 2020, the Huntington Beach City Council voted to join OCPA as a founding member.
There is no direct fiscal impact to join OCPA. Per our Joint Powers Agreement with OCPA, member agencies are not required to make any financial contributions. In lieu, the City of Irvine has agreed to finance all initial start-up costs. During the first 5-7 years of operation, OCPA will repay Irvine’s investments while also building up proper financial reserves.
Additional information about the OCPA, including Board Members and upcoming meetings are available on the OCPA's website.
The following Orange County jurisdictions have joined the OCPA as founding members:
Our Frequently Asked Questions explores the CCE model and the OCPA in depth, providing answers to questions such as:
City of Irvine – Fiscal Analysis of OCPA
UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation – The Growth in Community Choice Aggregation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Community Choice Aggregation
Lean Energy – Community Choice Aggregation Programs by State
Orange County Power Authority
City of Huntington Beach