Open & Candid Letter to San Diego County Supervisors
DATE: February 15, 2017
TO: Dianne Jacob, Chair
Kristin Gaspar, Vice Chair
Dear Honorable San Diego County Supervisors:
An opportunity to establish a lasting legacy is before you today. It concerns moving forward positively and opportunistically to establish a Community Energy Program sponsored by the County of San Diego.
There is no public benefit to conducting a feasibility study. That would be like asking if it's feasible to find fresh milk in San Diego. Your colleagues in the Counties of Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, Napa, and San Francisco have proven the feasibility of forming and operating a Community Energy Program. As a direct access customer, the County itself reaps thousands of dollars of savings every day by purchasing energy from independent energy suppliers. Buying energy on the very competitive wholesale market (awash in supply) and selling it at retail is not rocket science.
Geof Syphers, the CEO of Sonoma Clean Power, made it clear in a public address several years ago that the best path to proving the viability of a Community Energy Program is to issue a Request for Quote for Electrical Energy. Companies based in San Diego as well as throughout the country stand ready to deliver competitive prices for energy and with renewable and emission-free content. A myriad of local energy companies, innovators, UCSD, solar installers, and others also stand ready to supply local generation, energy storage, efficiency and education to customers of the energy program, in turn creating jobs and prosperity from a clean energy economy and environment. Incentives for the delivery of lower costs and higher quality are non-existent in a monopolistic market.
SDED also recommends that the County issue a Request for Qualifications for an Interim General Manager. As you seek to engage the community, consider creating a naming contest for the Energy Program. Include cities in Orange County operating within SDG&E and SCE service territories because they are likely to want to join creating further economies of scale in the purchase of power.
To administer the formation process, look no farther than San Diego's own Center for Sustainable Energy. There you have the talent, knowledge and expertise for every stakeholder to manage the formation process. Retired Rear Admiral Len Hering is a superlative leader at CSE.
The San Diego Energy District would be delighted to help in any way it can to facilitate the process of choosing a qualified organization. Since our founding in 2011, SDED has been a rational and calm voice within the region, working with our colleagues at SDG&E and Sempra, and throughout the State of California.
Here is a select list of organizations which exist to inform the County about Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) formation:
http://cal-cca.org/ - Association and Lobby Group for existing and forming Community Choice Energy providers.
http://cleanpowerexchange.org/ - Information Network on CCA sponsored by Sonoma's Center for Climate Protection.
http://www.leanenergyus.org/ - A national organization founded in California to advance CCA law and practice throughout the nation.
As a disclosure, SDED supports and is supported by many individuals, for-profit companies, California jurisdictions and non-profits that advocate for CCAs as a vehicle to transition to an emission-free, safe, clean energy economy.
In closing, it is a waste of taxpayer's money to fund the feasibility of a program proven achievable several times over. Community Choice Programs are administered by local governments with a desire to provide competitive alternatives to Investor Owned Utilities. Since before 2011, the County has looked at CCA but not initiated a program. A break with this past would be welcome here and around the planet for generations to come.
With A Heartfelt Wish For Action!
The San Diego Energy District:
Lane Sharman, Board Chair
Erika Morgan, Executive Director, Secretary & Director
Susan Davison, Director
David Dufek, Director
Jose-Torre Bueno, Director
Jamie Edmonds, Director