Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Revolution in Illinois

Yesterday, voters in the vast majority of 300 Illinois cities approved Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs, adding over a million customers to be served by CCAs nationwide.
In the Chicago area, 80 percent of cities approved the CCA measures, resulting in over a million new customers receiving power service since LPI developed CCA. Several million Americans have received CCA service since the late 1990's when Massachusetts adopted the first CCA law and Cape Cod towns formed the Cape Light Compact. With many major California cities and counties now forming CCAs, and many new CCAs like Cincinnati and Hampshire County Massachusetts forming CCAs on the East Coast, Local Power Inc. may finally announce the existence of a major national movement that already serves a substantial portion of America's electricity demand.


Yohan John Morgan said...

Hooray! It seems that finally millions of us are awakening at the ballot box. No wonder PG& E, the utility "serving" the home base of Local Power, spent millions (paid by rate payers) on a disgustingly deceptive ballot initiative attempting to throttle CCA in the cradle.

And now, like an ancient myth, the youth is growing stronger quickly.

Woe to the would-be murderers. said...

Unlike PG&E, which as you say tried to kill CCA with Prop 16, ComEd in Illinois has remained sanguine because, unlike California where the regulators screwed up deregulation then covered it up with mock regulation (bailouts, "New World Procurement" with blind CPUC contract authorizations, spurious surcharges, anti-competitive cost-shifting, and outright coup attempts like Prop 16), the state of Illinois structured its energy system better so that the utilities were truly neutral to departing customers. California made customers pay PG&E the value of its company in bailouts, then hand back virtual monopoly back to them concealed from the public by the Chronicle and mainstream media - except CCA kept the hole in the dyke, Prop 16 taught everyone in Califonia what CCA is, and now San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, East Bay Cities, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Yolo County and others now want to do their own thing. NEXT CHALLENGE: will CCAs make it real with energy localization or just buy RECs? Renewable Energy Credits are virtual green - a creature of the 1990's, like Carbon Credits, RECs commoditize green power, meaning you get the green bumper sticker so you can lord it over your neighbors as Greener Than Thou, but without any actual change in your power - you are still being sold brown power but bought the tagging rights from someone else's green power. It is easier for the CCAs, because you don't have do anything other than pay a premium for those tags. Provided that the rest of the power you are buying is cheaper than the monopoly, you will survive. But if not - green comes with a premium bill charge, and economics dictate that only 10% of the market is capturable this way. So government mediocrity means trivialization of concept and exponential shrinkage of benefits or impact. If CCAs do not get this, CCA will fail based not on monopoly blockage (We kicked PG&E's ass at $100k vs $73M - so bring 'em on) but because of the atrophied condition of U.S. local government after 150 years of disempowerment.

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