Rolling Hills Estates Councilmember Steve Zuckerman

By Tex Yamada–

Steve Zuckerman, Councilmember for Rolling Hills Estates (RHE), provided an in-depth look into his city’s experience with the Clean Power Alliance (CPA), which they joined in 2017.   CPA is a Southern California-based electricity provider of clean renewable energy sources for communities in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Currently, CPA serves more than one million customers in 30 cities in the Southland with Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hawthorne, and Culver City being among a few of the coastal CPA members.  South Pasadena is the other co-founder member.  None of the other three cities on the Peninsula are members of the CPA coalition.

Enrollment in the Clean Power Alliance roster does not involve private citizens joining as individuals.  Instead, the community, or city, “goes through its municipal decision-making jurisdiction, typically a city council or Board of Supervisors,” explains Zuckerman.  “So, it’s up to the cities, and we’re hopeful that more and more civic leaders and city council people will understand the model better.”

Steve Zuckerman Discusses RHE’s Experience with Clean Power Alliance

Clean renewable energy is purchased by CPA, which works in partnership with Southern California Edison (SCE) to deliver power into homes and businesses, according to Zuckerman.  SCE handles the function of billing customers.  The cities make an election to buy one of three “default power rates”, with each providing “different pricing options and different environmental outcomes,” says Zuckerman.

The three rate options are:  Lean Power, 36% renewable energy; Clean Power, 50% renewable energy; and Green Power, 100% renewable energy.  Zuckerman was proud that RHE selected the Green Power 100% option.

According to Zuckerman, the entire process of providing an energy product/service to the customer that is environmentally responsible has proven to be highly successful.  “You’re going to get a bill that looks almost exactly the same, except in the section where it shows generation cost, it will mention CPA.”  “Power and transmission are still up to Edison.  It is something that has worked well enough that we now have a million people enrolled in the program.”

During the Question and Answer period, Connie Sullivan asked, “How many Rolling Hills Estates residents decided to continue the 100% Green Power option since joining CPA in 2017?”  Zuckerman responded that only 8% of RHE residents have opted out over three years, leaving 92% in the 100% Green Power category.   Connie reminded us that she asked the RHE and PVE City Councils to join the Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) feasibility study ( the precursor  to the CPA).  Zuckerman followed up and said it was with the help of LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, RHE was able to get funding for the study.

A hypothetical question came from Carol Moeller, who wanted to know if the CPA had enough clean energy capacity to service all cities in Los Angeles County?  Zuckerman responded, “Since the grid allows importation from many sources, actually, right now nearing the summer months in the middle of the day, we already have more clean energy than we can use.  So, my guess is that we would.”  Jennifer Ward, Director of External Affairs at Clean Power Alliance, confirmed Zuckerman’s response, saying that the abundance of renewable energy on the market is how CPA is able to get competitive rates.  She believes over time, more cities will join.

NEWS UPDATE — On April 10, 2020, Greentech Media (GTM) reported “Developer sPower will build a huge battery facility in Los Angeles County for Clean Power Alliance, a community-choice aggregator.”  Here’s the link to the article:

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