What Others are Saying

Numerous thought leaders have weighed in on the costs and benefits of government-controlled energy. Here is a sampling of what they are saying:

“If CCA power is being procured outside the state, I think it goes against our state’s two goals that we have. To create jobs locally and the second, to build those projects that combat climate change that replace the ones that don’t. And, as long as we’re not pushing new projects, we’re not going to be replacing the projects that are currently part of the problem.

I am concerned that we are creating a system that is going to be ungovernable. Shifting responsibilities into agencies that can’t sustain them and eventually seeing a domino effect of closures of these CCAs that could lead to a collapse of our system.” 

- CA State Senator Ben Hueso

“I think that the type of oversight that IOUs [investor-owned utilities] have to the PUC managing their operation should apply to the CCA. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … You want (CCAs) to be everything that a utility is, other than report to the PUC? Those reporting obligations should apply to CCAs, as they do IOUs.”

- CA State Senator Steven Bradford 

 “We are concerned because there are too many questions that remain to be answered. We are very interested in coming up with an inclusive solution.” 

- Jose Perez, Chairman and CEO of Hispanics in Energy

“Energy choice can be a good thing, but not if it benefits some customers at the expense of others.”

- Eric Harris, NAACP 

“The CCAs are new entities – they don’t have a track record. They don’t have credit ratings. They don’t own much of anything …They don’t actually have assets or capital structures and so it is difficult for them to be counter parties to big deals that require hundreds of millions, or billions of dollars of investment.”

- Matt Freedman, Staff Attorney for The Utility Reform Network 

“It’s really easy to see the train wreck that will come. We will have a new PCIA, or a replacement, and the cost will be higher than it is now. These new CCAs will say, ‘Oh my God, this thing we planned for, it doesn’t work anymore. The economics don’t work.’ Or their customers will get hit with big rate increases, or they will come running to the (state government) to bail them out … We can do something to prevent this train wreck. We should press the pause button. Let’s give it a little time and let’s figure out what the new cost allocation method is going to be. Let’s figure out what the numbers are.”

- Marc Joseph, Legal Counsel for California Coalition of Utility Employees

“The PCIA (exit fee) has not delivered on its goal. We understand that only about 65 percent of the costs that are appropriately born with customers when they leave utility service are actually taken with them. That leaves 35 percent behind and who pays for that? That’s not paid for by utility shareholders.  As it currently stands, it is paid for by customers who are left behind. It is paid for by customers who are in cities who either can’t take advantage of CCAs or choose not to enter into the electric commodity business. For a typical customer in Bakersfield, that’s about $100 to $150 a year more that they are paying because customers in Marin or San Francisco have chosen to go CCA. That is not a fair structure, it’s not an equitable structure and we need to address it.”

- Steve Malnight, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy, PG&E 

“In the power business, size does matter. Large utilities have greater leverage to bargain and, more importantly, pledge their huge balance sheets to support the power-purchase agreements that allow large-scale and very expensive solar, wind and other renewable projects to be built in California, creating jobs and reducing emissions. CCAs must demonstrate they can generate more renewable projects. How could this happen without our city pledging its balance sheet in support of a 25-year power-purchase agreement?”

- Jim Waring, co-founder of CleanTech San Diego, and Bob Nelson, CleanTech board member who served on the City of San Diego Public Utilities Advisory Commission

“The city’s Draft CCA Report demonstrates some positive and some negative scenarios, and the cost uncertainty is nearly $3 billion. In other words, we don’t know if this would be a gain of $257 million or a loss of $2.77 billion, according to the draft report. It is absolutely reasonable to demand more certainty. All of us have seen what projection errors have meant for our regional transportation agency. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake.”

- Haney Hong, President and CEO of San Diego County Taxpayers Association

Let’s Clear the Air. Together.

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It is critical that we openly discuss all opportunities and options for achieving San Diego’s climate action goals. The choices we make today in implementing this bold policy vision will shape San Diego and the lives of its residents for generations to come, so we need to make sure we get this right. 

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