Talk about bringing power to the people: eight regional governments in California are in various stages of adopting "community choice" utilities to buy power from the grid in the hopes of cleaning up their energy portfolio.
"From Silicon Valley to the East Bay to the Central Coast, a "people's power" movement is sweeping through California that will give local residents a choice to ditch PG&E and buy cleaner -- and possibly cheaper -- energy from the cities and counties where they live," reports Tracy Seipel.
Specifically, Seipel is referring to "community choice" utilities, currently place in three counties around the state but under consideration for many more. Seipel explains more about how the community choice utilities operate:
"Overseen by a team of energy experts and a board of elected officials, new community-run utilities are buying power from the grid, procuring a higher percentage of renewable energy -- think solar and wind, as well as methane from dairy cows -- than PG&E, while aiming for a price around or even below the giant utility's rates. The new power systems also are charged with developing more local renewable energy."
Seipel also sums up the political debate surrounding the idea, noting that critics of the arrangement call community choice "a feel-good solution that will lead to unstable prices, empty promises and -- at least for the time being -- no additional green energy."
The remainder of the article focuses on the fortunes of the community choice utilities so far, as well as insight into the slightly esoteric but still critical matter of the "exit fee" that determines how expensive the model is in any given month.
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