Monterey Bay Community Power Courts Atascadero
The Atascadero City Council listened to a presentation from the nonprofit Monterey Bay Community Power, a green energy broker from northern California. Last year, the company entered into contracts to provide green sourced and renewable energy to Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
In June both Grover Beach and Paso Robles also entered into agreements with the organization. Known as Community Choice Energy or Community Choice Aggregation, the program purchases green energy produced by wind and water turbines or solar panels and use PG&E’s infrastructure to deliver it to homes.
During the presentation MBCP made it clear that it does not produce the energy but purchases it from green sources and utilizes PG&E for its distribution. JR Killigrew, MBCP director of communication, stated that the business has operated debt-free since its seventh month
Due to the size of the crowd drawn by the presentation, Mayor Heather Moreno deviated from Council protocol and offered the public a chance to comment. Normally, the citizens are only allowed to comment during general comment time or on items on the agenda.
By and large people came out to support a partnership with MBCP, citing the benefit of using renewable and green sources of electricity as well as the rebates the company offers. Since MBCP is a nonprofit, the company is not beholden to shareholders and claims that the return on investment now goes to the public in the form of rebates rather than to individual investors.
There were a few who protested an agreement with MBCP with the “opt-out” option drawing ire from a couple of people. In accordance with California Assembly Bill 117 established into law in 2002, individuals can opt out of a CCA rather than opting into the program. AB 117 was formed to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices as well as to stabilize the deregulation of the energy market in 2000-2001. If the City joins the MBCP, people will have a 60-day window to opt out of the program through the mail. After the initial 3-month grace period, individuals must pay $5 to remove themselves from the MBCP consumer list.
Through the urging of Council member Susan Funk, which drew applause from the crowd, the Council agreed to revisit the possibility of putting MBCP’s proposal on the August 13 agenda where it will undergo further scrutiny from the public and City staff.