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Attacks On Local Clean Energy Stopped

Over the past decade, Our City and Californians for Energy Choice (a statewide coalition we co-founded) have helped lead successful campaigns to cut down multiple bills in the California legislature (pushed by monopoly utilities and fossil fuel energy corporations) to attack California's community based clean energy programs. Such bills have reared their heads annually in every legislative session since 2014.

In 2019, a whopping 10 bills were sponsored, which in various ways would have weakened local clean energy programs, and undermined the local community energy independence needed to protect communities from power shut offs and wildfires.

As in previous years, scores of environmental and consumer groups all over the state joined together to challenge these bills. This resulted in nearly all of the bills being amended to become benign, stopped outright, or delayed to the next legislative session where they are more likely to fail. Our City and Californians for Energy Choice focused most of our attention on the worst of the bills, SB 774.

Authored by state Senator Henry Stern (D - Malibu) SB 774 contained language that would have outrageously allowed the monopoly fossil fuel utilities to hijack and control nearly all community microgrids.

Microgrids enable neighborhoods and cities to build their own, democratically run, local clean electricity generation and storage networks, in order to reduce their dependence on dangerous, wasteful, high voltage, long range electricity transmission lines, and minimize vulnerability to power shutoffs.

SB 774 was successfully stalled in committee and is unlikely to return to active status.

Attacks On Local Clean Energy In 2018

AB 813 from Assemblymember Chris Holden (D - Pasadena) would have allowed the fossil fuel industry and the Trump administration to take control of California's electricity grid. Our coalition made stopping AB 813 our top priority, and the bill was killed in committee on the last day of the legislative session.

SB 237 from Senator Robert Hertzberg (D - San Fernando- Van Nuys - North Hollywood). This sneak bill launched at the very end of the session, would have allowed big private energy corporations to completely take over generation and sales of most electricity in the state, thereby killing all Community Choice local clean energy programs. Our coalition effort successfully gutted this legislation, turning it in to a 'study' bill that maintained strong caps to prohibit the privatizing of our electricity supply.

SB 901 from Senator Bill Dodd (D - Vacaville - Fairfield) would have allowed PG&E and the other monopoly utilities to foist all costs of wildfires caused by their long distance transmission lines onto their customers. This would have left the utilities and their stockholders completely unaccountable to prevent such wildfires. And the added cost burden to local clean energy program customers would have made it very difficult for those programs to compete with the utilities. SB 901 was successfully amended to require the utilities to apply to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) with any requests to share wildfire costs with customers.

Attacks In Previous Years

2017: AB 920 (Aguiar-Curry), SB 618 (Bradford) and
AB 79 (Levine). These three bills would have empowered the State to place draconian restrictions on, and even halt the launch of, any Community Choice local clean energy program. Our coalition effort successfully stopped AB 920 in committee and gutted SB 618 of its problem language. Because of our and other groups' concerns, AB 79 was vetoed by the Governor.

2016: AB 1110 (Ting - Onerous Rules On Local Clean Energy Programs) would have made it very difficult for community programs to compete with monopoly utilities like PG&E. Our coalition campaign successfully forced amendments to AB 1110 making it a harmless bill directing the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop fair greenhouse gas labeling requirements.

2015: SB 286 (Hertzberg - Electricity Privatization) would have ended all not-for-profit local clean energy programs in California by giving private energy corporations free rein to sell nearly unlimited fossil fuel based electricity to all commercial customers in the state. Our coalition forced amendments to the bill to make it strictly for 100% clean renewable energy, at which point the corporations behind SB 286 scuttled it.

2014: AB 2145 (Bradford - Bill To Kill Community Choice Energy). This omnibus bill would have put sweeping draconian requirements on California's Community Choice local clean energy programs, making it impossible for them to launch and survive against corporate monopoly utility competition. Our coalition successfully killed AB 2145 on the last day of the legislative session by making it so unpopular that no Senator would step forward as a Senate floor manager.