Community Choice Aggregation
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Community Choice Aggregation, abbreviated CCA, is a system (neither a company nor an organization) adopted into law in the states of Massachusetts, Ohio, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Illinois which allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts on a community-wide basis, but allowing consumers not wishing to participate to opt-out. Also known as "Municipal Aggregation" and "Community Aggregation, CCAs now serve nearly five percent of Americans in over 1300 municipalities as of 2014. CCA's are de facto public utilities of a new form that aggregate regional energy demand and negotiate with competitive suppliers and developers, rather than the traditional utility business model based on monopolizing energy supply.
In Massachusetts, where the nation's first CCA bill (Senate 447, Montigny) was first drafted by Massachusetts senate energy committee director Paul Fenn in 1995 and enacted in 1997, the towns of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard formed the Cape Light Compact and successfully lobbied for passage of the seminal CCA legislation. Two of the Cape Light Compact founders, Falmouth Selectman Matthew Patrick and Barnstable County Commissioner Rob O'Leary, were subsequently elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate respectively. Between 1995 and 2000, Fenn formed the American Local Power Project and worked with Patrick to draft and pass similar laws in Ohio, New Jersey, and other states.
Former FERC Commissioner Nora Brownell has called Community Choice Aggregations “the only great exceptions to the failure of electric deregulation in the U.S.” With every CCA yet formed still in operation and charging ratepayers less per kilowatt hour than their Investor-Owned-Utilities, CCAs have proven to be reliable and capable of delivering greener power at competitive prices. Ohio’s Office of the Consumer’s Council has said that CCA is “the greatest success story” in Ohio’s competitive market, and new legislation to re-regulate utility rates in Ohio will preserve CCA even if other forms of competition are eliminated. In Massachusetts, the success of the Cape Light Compact has led to the formation of new CCAs used in towns such as Marlborough, Massachusetts.
The nation's first CCA, the Cape Light Compact, currently serves 200,000 customers, running aggressive and transparent energy efficiency programs and installing solar installations on Cape Cod schools, fire stations and libraries. The Hampshire Council of Governments has filed petitions for Municipal Aggregation of Electricity on behalf of 39 communities in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Worcester Counties. After approval by state regulators, the Council will arrange supply for those customers who have not chosen an independent supplier. These include Great Barrington in Berkshire County; Hampden in Hampden County; sixteen participating communities in Hampshire County including Belchertown, Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton, Pelham, Plainfield, Southampton, Westhampton, and Williamsburg; thirteen Franklin County participating towns including Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Heath, Leverett, Montague, Northfield, Rowe, Warwick, Wendell, and Whately; and eight Worcester County participating towns: Barre, Brookfield, East Brookfield, Mendon, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Upton, and West Brookfield.
Other towns and cities are working to complete the initial process, in addition to these 39 communities, which have a combined population of over 165,000 people.
In Ohio, the nation's largest CCA was formed shortly after 1999 when the state legislature adopted a CCA law - the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC), made up of approximately 500,000 customers in 138 cities and towns across eight counties, procured a power supply contract that switched electric generation fuel supply from a mix of coal and nuclear power to a mix of natural gas and a small percentage of renewably powered electricity, announcing a 70% air pollution reduction in the region's power mix. The contract also included solar photovoltaic demonstration projects in each of the eight counties. NOPEC's contracting process was led by Scott Ridley, an energy consultant who had worked with Fenn to develop Community Choice Aggregation in Massachusetts and was a consultant for the Cape Light Compact.
California's adoption of CCA in 2002 inaugurated a new phase of CCA with a focus on green power rather than merely energy discounts. In the early days of the California energy crisis, Paul Fenn, the Massachusetts Senate Energy Committee director who conducted the legal research and drafting of the original CCA legislation, formed Local Power Inc. and drafted new CCA legislation for California. In a campaign organized by Local Power, the City and County of San Francisco led Oakland, Berkeley, Marin County, and a group of Los Angeles municipalities in adopting resolutions asking for a state CCA law in response to the failure of California's deregulated electricity market. Fenn's bill was sponsored by then Assembly Member Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) in 2001, and the bill became law (AB117) in September, 2002.
San Francisco adopted a CCA Ordinance drafted by Fenn (86-04, Tom Ammiano) in 2004, creating a CCA program to build 360 Megawatts (MW) of solar, green distributed generation, wind generation, and energy efficiency and demand response to serve San Francisco ratepayers using solar bonds. Specifically, the ordinance combined the power purchasing authority of CCA with a revenue bond authority also developed by Fenn to expand the power of CCA, known as the H Bond Authority (San Francisco Charter Section 9.107.8, Ammiano), to allow the CCA to finance new green power infrastructure, worth approximately $1 Billion. In 2007 the City adopted a detailed CCA Plan also written primarily by Fenn (Ordinance 447-07, Ammiano and Mirkarimi), which established a 51% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2017 for San Francisco.
Inspired by Climate Protection efforts, CCA has spread to cities throughout the Bay Area and the state. In 2007, forty California local governments are in the process of implementing CCA, virtually all of them seeking to double, triple or quadruple the green power levels (Renewable Portfolio Standard, or "RPS) of the state's three Investor-Owned Utilities. Marin, Oakland and Berkeley are also seeking to employ San Francisco-style revenue bonds and implement a 51% RPS by 2017. Marin County created the first active CCA in the state, and now also includes the city of Richmond. They offer both a 50% renewable energy option and 100% renewable energy option to their customers, reinvesting net income back into community programs, primarily energy efficiency work in existing buildings.
Recently, communities in Southern California have started to investigate the feasibility of forming CCAs because the program allows some flexibility in choosing the mix and sources of power production. A study was produced by The Local Government Commission (LGC) in February 2009 that evaluated forming a CCA and has been published to the California Energy Commission website. 
In June 2010, Pacific Gas & Electric sponsored a proposition, Proposition 16, to make it more difficult for local entities to form either municipal utilities or CCAs by requiring a two-thirds vote of the electorate rather than a simple majority, for a public agency to enter the retail power business. Although PG&E contributed over $46 million in an effort to pass the initiative (Prop 16's opponents, led by Local Power Inc. and The Utility Reform Network, had access to less than $100,000), Proposition 16 was defeated.
Sonoma County created a countywide CCA, SonomaCleanPower, under the CCA law in 2013, offering power that is both greener and more locally sourced, and also to be offered at a lower cost than incumbent utility PG&E. It includes the County of Sonoma, Windsor, Cotati, Sebastopol, and the City of Sonoma. Geof Syphers was named CEO on July 2, 2013. It is expected to start providing power in early 2014. SonomaCleanPower.org
The state of Illinois adopted a CCA law in 2009, which has led to an explosion of communities providing electricity services to over 2/3 of the state's population as of 2014, including the city of Chicago, whose mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is focusing the program on reducing coal power production and increasing renewable energy.
By the end of 2013, 91 local governments in Illinois (representing 1.7 million state residents) used the state's 2009 CCA law to purchase 100% renewable electricity for their communities.
New Jersey adopted a CCA law in 2003, but did not see active formation of aggregations until 2013, when Bergen county, Jackson county, and fifteen other cities and counties started CCA programs, focused on both lowering electric bills and in some cases greening their power supply, or both.
CCAs have set a number of national green power and climate protection records while reducing power bills, a rare combination that has won national Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognition for achieving significantly higher renewable energy portfolios while maintaining rates that are competitive with conventional fossil and nuclear-based utility power. With the more recent emergence of "CCA 2.0" in California, CCAs like Sonoma County and San Francisco are increasingly focused on using the policy as a platform for financing and integrating a transition to local renewable energy sources rather than grid power.
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