As California customer choice expands, are reliability and affordability at risk?

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Utility Dive

Many say the disruption from multiplying power providers in California could also put the state's decarbonization achievements at risk.

The customer choice movement is exploding in California.

As many as a dozen groups have begun aggregating residential and commercial-industrial consumers under a law that allows alternative electricity providers to take over utility customers. In addition, retail providers and large commercial buyers are seizing the moment and urging lawmakers to extend the opportunity for the direct purchase of electricity by consumers outside such aggregations.

Between the two, California's investor-owned utilities (IOUs) could have less than 20% of their retail sales left by the mid-2020s if regulatory challenges and legislative votes go in favor of customer choice. Until those challenges and votes are resolved, energy procurement is nearly at a standstill and questions about enforcement of California energy policy are growing.

Many say this disruption from multiplying power providers in California could put the state's nation-leading achievements in decarbonization, affordability and reliability at risk.

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