Evident by its actions over the years, South Pasadena is flexing its muscles, enjoying the reputation of being an environmental champion.
One of its City Council members, Michael Cacciotti, is a board member with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, advocating for clean air and bringing it close to home where he’s been at the forefront of South Pasadena’s efforts to use only electric equipment for the maintenance in city parks. He’s also instituted a push for all city-owned vehicles to be hybrid or plug-in electric, eliminating the need for unhealthy petroleum fuel. An A grade was recently passed down by the American Lung Association recognizing the city in its annual assessment of tobacco-control policies.
That’s just a sprinkling of the efforts as South Pasadena presses on, perhaps, to become a better eco-friendly city than most.
It’s latest effort, however, might be its best, attested by a full vote of confidence by the City Council, envisioning a more sustainable future with the decision to become a member of the Clean Power Alliance (CPA). Beginning this month, CPA will purchase clean power and South California Edison will continue to deliver it.
Understandably, Diana Mahmud, a local City Council member who also chairs the CPA, knows there might be some confusion as to exactly what the city’s new energy provider does.
Mahmud likes the idea that residents will soon benefit from clean, renewable power at competitive rates.
“As part of our commitment to protecting the environment and building resiliency, South Pasadena has chosen to select 100% green power as the default option for our community, which provides 100% renewable energy content and gives residents and businesses the opportunity to join us in being environmental champions leading the way to a greener future,” reads a statement about CPA on the City of South Pasadena’s website.
In an attempt to clear up any confusion, Mahmud joined Allison Mannos, the senior manager of marketing and customer engagement for the Clean Power Alliance, during a CPA information meeting Wednesday night at the South Pasadena Library Community Room. Together, they informed South Pasadena residents about how Clean Power Alliance service is going to function, what options are available for customers and what they can expect from the new enrollment process.
As a nonprofit entity, CPA was created through a Joint Powers Authority, made up of 29 cities and two counties – Los Angeles and Ventura.
South Pasadena is working with the other participating cities to bring clean, renewable power choices to its residents.
So, where is Edison in the process? “We buy energy and Edison delivers it, that’s the simplest way to put it,” said Mannos, noting that customers will see two different charges on their bill. “They will see one from Edison, which will still issue the bill for delivering the energy over their transmission lines. On the bottom of the bill is a line item for Clean Power Alliance for generated charges. So, we’re the ones procuring the renewable energy and setting rates for the generation. Previously, Edison handled all that in house. Now the functions have been bifurcated.”
Southern California Edison will continue to deliver power to South Pasadena homes or businesses, send one bill, and resolve any issues with a customer’s electricity service. The utility will continue to be responsible maintaining power poles and wires associated with the electric grid. CPA customers will pay Edison, which will continue to send out bills for those services.
What do residents need to do next? Nothing. Electricity will go uninterrupted after the switch is made from Edison to CPA following the normal reading of a resident’s meter in February.
CPA has been instituted after 29 cities and two counties created a community choice aggregator (CCA), which allows local governments, like the City of South Pasadena, to decide what kind of power is best to purchase for a community, what amount to charge and other incentives offers like solar.
Clean Power Alliance is among 19 community choice aggregators in the state serving roughly 8 million customers in 2018, most of whom are in Northern California. Local governments are looking to establish more CCAs in Southern California.
Three different rate plans are being offered to customers by CCA:
- A 36% renewable energy mix that is 1% cheaper than Edison’s base rate, claim CPA officials.
- 50% renewables equivalent to Edison.
- 100% renewable.
The South Pasadena City Council voted 5-0 to adopt the 100 percent green power tier, which Mannos said is a slight premium increase of a couple of dollars on a bill. Each city and county in the Clean Power Alliance selected one of the three plans for its residents.
The CPAs 31-member board of directors, all unpaid, according to Mannos, meets on a monthly basis with sessions open to the public.
Mannos says questions of all types are coming her way, from how does the program work, is solar available with CPA, can I go back to Edison, to how is it going to affect my bottom line?
“There has been a whole gamut of questions,” she said. “Some are more active and engaged as customers, are reading our mailers and calling our call center and making choices. Others are less engaged, and so we’re trying to do these community presentations so across the board our customers are informed and empowered. ”
Mahmud stressed that CPA offers clean, renewable power at competitive rates. “Our residents appreciate that this is a good energy choice that through CPA they have a meaningful energy choice and competition,” she said. “Although Edison does offer several different energy products, differing rates of renewable energy, my recollection is Edison never developed those products until CPA did. I believe we’re responsible for Edison’s development of that. Moreover, Edison’s products are costlier, so we represent better value.”
Joining South Pasadena in the Clean Power Alliance service are the following cities: Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Carson, Claremont, Culver City, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Paramount, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, Simi Valley, Temple City, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, West Hollywood and Whittier.
Those with their own municipal power departments, including Burbank, Glendale and Los Angeles, will continue using their current energy provider.
Mahmud believes CPA is a positive step for the city she represents. “I think it has become incumbent upon us to do what we can to help to mitigate the future effects of climate change because there’s no doubt in my mind that it is coming, that it is going to have adverse effects on our way of life in South Pasadena,” she said. “We’re a community that really cherishes our children. We need to do what we can to help create a better tomorrow for them than otherwise would be the case.”
By the number of residents driving electric cars around town, enthusiastically embracing the city’s call for water conservation and other strategic efforts, “We are a community that really cares for the environment,” Mahmud continued. “We are a sustainable community and the CPA is going to help facilitate everyone’s ability to be all that much more sustainable.”
As residents greet a new energy provider, Mahmud said she can appreciate the confusion some customers may have, and invites those with questions to contact her at email@example.com or call the Clean Power Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-585-3788.