Community Engagement

NCPA to provide services for community choice aggregation

The Northern California Power Agency on Nov. 15 said that it will be providing a variety of wholesale energy services to California’s Pioneer Community Energy.

Pioneer was established to provide local decision-making authority over electricity supply. Pioneer’s initial service territory will cover areas currently serviced by investor‐owned electric utility Pacific Gas & Electric.

State law passed in 2002 authorizes local governments in investor-owned service territories to establish their own programs to purchase electricity on behalf of their communities, which is commonly referred to as community choice aggregation or community choice energy.

Under this framework, the local government makes energy resource decisions, while the investor‐owned electric utility is still required to maintain the transmission and distribution system, including responding to outages, NCPA noted.

Pioneer is a joint power authority whose members include the County of Placer, the cities of Rocklin, Lincoln, Auburn, and Colfax, and the town of Loomis.

In late October, Pioneer’s governing board approved a service agreement that calls for NCPA to provide electricity scheduling and portfolio management services. NCPA said the agreement is an important step for Pioneer as it prepares to start providing electricity to its ratepayers in early 2018.

“This relationship is an ideal fit for NCPA and Pioneer,” said NCPA General Manager Randy Howard. “NCPA has been providing local communities and agencies with wholesale energy services since 1968. We have the expertise and the economies of scale to help ensure Pioneer is able to provide affordable, reliable, and clean electricity to its residents and businesses,” he said.

As more local governments consider community choice aggregation programs, they are looking to experienced agencies, such as NCPA, to help accomplish their program goals, NCPA said.

“NCPA also brings the added benefit of being a public agency subject to many of the same requirements and expectations that are placed on agencies such as Pioneer,” NCPA said in a news release.

Headquartered in Roseville, Calif., NCPA is a nonprofit joint powers agency established to construct and operate renewable and low‐emitting generating facilities and assist in meeting the wholesale energy needs of its 16 members.

SMUD to provide services to new community choice aggregation agency

In other recent CCA news from California, public power utility SMUD on Sept. 1 said that it had been selected to negotiate a services agreement to provide Valley Clean Energy Alliance with technical and energy services, data management/call center services, wholesale energy services, credit support services and up to five years of business operations support.

Valley Clean Energy Alliance is a new community choice aggregation joint powers agency. Valley Clean Energy Alliance is set to begin serving electricity customers located within the California cities of Davis and Woodland and unincorporated areas of Yolo County in the summer of 2018.

SMUD noted that this is its first services agreement in the fast-growing CCA market.

CCAs driving IOU retail electric load shift

An article in the latest issue of Public Power Magazine notes that an early 2017 white paper from the California Public Utilities Commission estimated that as much as 25 percent of the retail electric load of investor-owned utilities in California will shift to another source by the end of the year, and as much as 85 percent within the next decade.

A major contributing factor to this dramatic shift is the rapid rise in CCAs, the story noted.