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Oakland Supervisors Green-Light Community Choice Energy Program

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Community choice aggregation (CCA)  – a policy that allows cities and counties to pool residents’ and businesses’ demand for alternative, clean energy – has taken a significant step forward in the Bay Area. An October 4 vote by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors (BOS) gave the green light to create the East Bay Community Energy Program, which will provide homes and businesses with a cleaner and lower-cost mix of electricity services than is currently provided by Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The program is slated to launch in the fall of 2017.

The CCA effort was spearheaded by the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, a broad coalition of unions and community and environmental justice organizations that includes Emerald Cities Oakland. The alliance hailed the supervisors’ vote to establish a Community Choice energy program “that would maximize community benefits and include community input in the governance of the program.”

In a statement issued following the BOS vote, the alliance said the East Bay Community Energy’s governance structure will include direct community representation. The statement noted that a feasibility study completed in July “confirmed the program’s potential to provide cleaner electricity at a lower rate than PG&E and to spur the creation of thousands of local jobs.”

Oakland activists rally in support of the East Bay Community Energy Program; photo by Megan O'Neill

The statement added that the go-ahead vote occurred “two weeks after the release of a groundbreaking Unity Platform put forward by the East Bay Clean Power Alliance and the Alameda Labor Council.” The platform, it said, “reflects the increasingly aligned interests of labor, environmental and social justice advocates in a just transition to a clean energy economy.”

Underscoring its support for the platform, the BOS allocated up to $500,000 to develop, within eight months of setting up the program’s governing board, “a business plan for achieving local renewable energy development, union and family-supporting jobs and other community benefits,” the statement added.

Photo by Megan O'NeillEC Oakland Director Tara Marchant commented: “It’s notable not only that community energy choice is coming to Alameda County with the promise of clean, affordable energy and good jobs, but also that this was achieved with concrete and committed community and labor support.

She added, “EC Oakland is proud to be part of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance. We commend the coalition’s leadership, which was so instrumental in achieving approval for the East Bay Community Energy Program. We also commend our elected officials for listening to their constituents and voting to advance an equitable clean-energy agenda.”

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