Opinion: Community Choice Energy Starts with Community


Bishop George D. McKinney


In the coming months, the City of San Diego will have an opportunity to start healing our warming world. Across California, people have been offered a choice – cleaner, cheaper energy or the same polluting electricity we use today. That choice, that opportunity and that freedom is called Community Choice Energy (CCE) and it may be the easiest choice our community has ever made.


Unlike everything else we buy — where there are many brands to choose from and prices are lower because of those options — with our electricity we don’t have a choice. We only have SDG&E. California’s electricity costs 46% more than the national average, and on top of that, SDG&E forces us to pay more for electricity than anyone else in the state. It’s time to move on to something better.


Community Choice Energy (CCE) is simple. The city establishes a non-profit agency to buy electricity. Instead of SDG&E being our only electricity option, we will have a second option: locally sourced, renewably generated, Community Choice Energy. SDG&E would still transmit the power to your home, provide billing and customer service, but we get to choose the “brand” of electricity we want to use. Establishing a CCE means we would be replacing a monopoly with a choice.


Community Choice Energy brings three major benefits to San Diego: lower electric bills, more jobs, and cleaner energy. When we look at the CCE programs around the state, all of them offer lower cost electricity than SDG&E. It is time we stopped paying extra for electricity when that money could be helping to make ends meet.


In addition to lower cost electricity, we can also generate clean electricity right here in our community. Since CCE programs are run locally, we can decide to create power locally. That, in turn, creates jobs. California CCEs, have already contracted for over 1 billion dollars of new, renewable energy. There isn’t any reason why we shouldn’t do the same here in San Diego.


That leads to the most important piece of what a CCE would bring to San Diego, cleaner air for us and our children.  San Diego has some of the worst air quality in the country. The American Lung Association gave our city a D and an F for the number of high pollution days and high ozone days respectively. Each of us knows a child struggling with asthma and we also know that to a large extent pollution is the cause.  CCE programs in California provide cheaper energy than the utilities and many provide options for electricity without any fossil fuel. No fossil fuel, no pollution. No pollution means cleaner air and healthier children. So what are we waiting for?


There is only one way for us to get Community Choice Energy and that is to speak as a Community and make our voices heard. Pick up the phone. Call Mayor Faulconer and our District 4 Council President Myrtle Cole and tell their staff you want Community Choice Energy. Let’s make our choice!


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