New Report Examines Rising Private Utility Fees for Californians as Customers Migrate to Community Choice Energy

New Report Examines Rising Private Utility Fees for Californians as Customers Migrate to Community Choice Energy

By late 2016 nearly half the counties in the state and over 300 cities were either operational or at some stage of evaluation of Community Choice. These facts alone warrant Community Choice agency staff having a seat at the table.

A new report by the Center for Climate Protection examines procurement of power by private utilities and related exit fees charged to their customers in the context of the growth of Community Choice Energy in California.

The report, “Community Choice Aggregation Expansion in California and its Relation to Investor Owned Utility Procurement,” is authored by energy policy analyst June Brashares and Tyler Bonson, a graduate of Sonoma State’s Energy Management and Design and in Economics. It unveils several key findings relating both to exit fees and to private utility procurement of power. The findings include:

Private utility load forecasts and the corresponding procurement decisions have underestimated the number of customers leaving private utilities for a Community Choice option, resulting in over-procurement of power by private utilities. This is contributing to the 21% energy glut forecast for 2020 in a Los Angeles Times investigation.

In late 2015 a nearly 100% increase in a previously obscure fee on Community Choice Energy bills in PG&E service territory upset many customers and concerned advocates for Community Choice Energy. The fee, known as the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, or PCIA, is a fee meant to cover the costs of previous power purchases made on behalf of customers who have now exited their private utility and become Community Choice customers….

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