San Marcos council moves forward with Community Choice Energy

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SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos City Council reviewed its draft Community Choice Energy (CCE/CCA) Technical Feasibility Study during its June 22 meeting, directing staff to move forward with the next steps and explore governance options.

CCE, also known as Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), is an alternative to traditional investor-owned utilities such as SDG&E. 

Municipal aggregation entities, such as Clean Energy Alliance in Carlsbad, Solana Beach and Del Mar,  purchase power on behalf of their customers with the goal to lower costs, allow consumers greater control of their energy mix and offer a cleaner power supply to satisfy community priorities.

The city partnered with Escondido and Vista to conduct the study, and if the three cities choose to move forward, a CCE program would be implemented.

According to the study, a CCE program with the partner cities is financially feasible for all three cities.

“CCA customer bills are predicted to be 2% lower than forecasted SDG&E total bills for the first 5-years of CCA operation,” the feasibility study said.

The cities will soon decide to either enter into a CCE program together or move forward with their own individual CCE programs.

“Establishing a VSME (Vista San Marcos Escondido) Partner CCA reduces start-up costs compared with each VSME City establishing its own program and provide economy of scale savings,” the study said. “Under a VSME Partner CCA Program, electricity cost savings are estimated at $9.3 million per year over the next ten years for residents and businesses located within the Cities.”

The council heard three public comments on the issue.

“Local control means expediting the Climate Action goals for San Marcos,” said Alan Geraci from the North County Sierra Club. “This is a tool that will enable you to start exceeding the Climate Action goals.”

Joe Britton from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) assured the council that they will continue providing service to customers who choose to stay with them.

“SDG&E respects our customers’ right to choose the energy provider or program that best fits their needs, so whichever path the city chooses, SDG&E will continue to operate a clean, safe and reliable grid to deliver energy to all of our customers,” Britton said.

Council members all agreed that moving forward with a CCE is the best option for San Marcos.

“The climate crisis is unfolding before our eyes,” Councilman Randy Walton said. “The way to really attack this problem is to attack it at its source, and that is where we get our power from… The urgency of the moment demands that we act.”

“As we move forward on this, the driving forces should be the reliability of power for our community and meeting our Climate Action Plan goals,” Councilman Ed Musgrove said.

The cities must file an implementation plan by Dec. 31, 2021.

The City Council also approved an ordinance establishing procedures to prequalify contractors and to debar contractors, as well as an ordinance modifying provisions to suspend or revoke tobacco licenses.

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