HomeCity Government NewsJoining Clean Power Alliance Tops City’s Agenda

Joining Clean Power Alliance Tops City’s Agenda

The City Council introduced an ordinance to move along the process for the city to join the Clean Power Alliance of Southern California and be ready to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2059.
Also at the Nov. 7 meeting, the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan was granted an extended deadline, and the Council approved a change in its Building and Safety Services by putting out an RFP to replace the contract it has with Los Angeles County with another provider.
The Clean Power Alliance serves more than 3,000,000 customers in 35 communities throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, according to city management analyst Jeannette Klein, adding “They are the fifth largest electricity provider in the state and has the most customers in the nation receiving 100% renewable energy.”
The city conducted an Impact Study as part of the initial step to seek membership. The study was favor-able and on Oct. 5, the CPA Board voted to invite LCF to join as a member.
“Membership in CPA is in line with the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and is identified as a ‘Top 10 Biggest Bang for Your Buck’ action item toward reaching the city’s foundational goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050, and toward the city’s 2035 greenhouse gas emissions,” Klein told the Council.
The City Council will be responsible for reestablishing the default rate for the city for all customers to be automatically enrolled, but all customers will have the option to select their desired renewable energy tier or to opt out of the program.
CPA offers three tier rates defined by the amount of renewable energy in the portfolio, which includes Lean/40% renewable, Clean/50% renewable and Green/100% renewable.
“Should the city opt in as a CPA customer, the financial impact on the city’s electricity costs will ultimately be determined by the renewable tier rate selected,” according to the agenda.
If the city withdraws from CPA after it has procured electricity for residents, it must make a good faith effort to sell surplus electricity procured.
As part of the final steps for the CPA membership, the city is required by Nov. 30 to pass an ordinance implementing a Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA program — which allows local governments to purchase or generate electricity for their community — and execute a Joint Power Authorities agreement, a contract between two or more public agencies for a common purpose. The Clean Power Alliance is a CCA that specializes in providing clean energy.
The CPA board will then vote at its Dec. 7 meeting to approve filing an Implementation Plan Addendum with the California Public Utilities Commission to expand service to LCF starting in 2025.
“The Implementation Plan is intended to facilitate information-sharing and smooth transition of service, as well as to assure the [CCA] can provide sufficient load and comply with utility tariffs,” Klein told the Outlook Valley Sun.
After the approval, city staff will begin working with CPA to notify all residents and businesses of the change. The CPUC is the governing body that regulates CCAs.
Councilman Keith Eich said he is excited for the plan, since forming this relationship for the city has been a goal.
“I love this. I am the one that forced it to be sort of brought up in June after wrestling with our old city manager. So, thank you for getting it to this point,” he said, adding, “I am very supportive of this, but I am afraid we haven’t done enough public outreach.”
If the majority of LCF residents are not in favor of the plan, Klein said the city has until Nov. 1, 2024, to withdraw without being subject to the removal procedures in the agreement.
Once there is final approval from CPA and a tier rate is selected by the city, Klein said the city will start doing community outreach and town hall meetings.
“I think we spend next year really working toward public education, so when the day comes that we do need to make that tier rate selection, it’s a robust conversation that is well informed, so no one will be terribly surprised that this is the direction we are going,” said Councilman Kim Bowman.
If the city does partner with CPA and uses their service, residents will have the opportunity to opt out if they want to, said Eich.
“Well, I am very excited about it,” said Councilwoman Terry Walker. “It is on one of our top 10 priorities for our CAAP, so even though the CAAP isn’t finalized, we are making headway.”
Karen Schmidt, director of rates and strategy at CPA, has been helping the city in the application process and came to the Nov. 7 meeting to help clarify some questions. To date, she said, cities do not typically pass a Joint Power Authorities ordinance and then withdraw.
Schmidt said that CPA has a pretty good idea on opt-out rates, since across their service territory, participation rate is between 93% to 94% of customers who are enrolled in CPA.
“And we don’t expect La Cañada Flintridge would be drastically different from that,” she said.
LCF resident Julie Kane-Ritsch said she is excited to see action happening.
“I just think that this is a win-win, and it’s up to us to explain to the rest of the residents what a valuable choice this is because right now, you can’t get clean energy from Southern California Edison, they are oversubscribed,” she said. “I would really urge the Council to go in at the 100% renewable energy rate.”
LCF resident Stephanie Fossan also spoke in support of CPA.
“In addition to being excited about the fact that this provides choice for our community members in a way that we currently don’t have with SCE, it also doesn’t have to be even more expensive” she said, adding that she has utilized the CPA calculator to estimate her bill.
A second reading of the ordinance will be held at the Nov. 21 City Council meeting.

The city’s subcommittee on streamlining permits has recommended looking elsewhere for building and safety services after being contracted with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works since 1976.
With a unanimous vote from the City Council on Nov. 7, with the absence of Mayor Pro Tem Michael Davitt, the city will release a request for proposal, or RFP, for its building and safety services.
A previous RFP was issued in Oct. 2020, but due to the pandemic, no action was taken.
“I have been working on this for a very long time,” said Gunter. “We tried to do this in 2020, but the world ended and we weren’t able to move forward on that.”
Gunter said that the RFP will include the building department, the grading review, drainage review and inspections. It also includes a plan reviewer who will work at City Hall for 40 hours a week, and that a first review for a home will be done in 10 business days. The group will also use California building codes.
“For many, many years, our relationship with the county was super beneficial and provided great service to our city, and over time, it’s evolved that maybe the best for us is to go another way,” Gunter said.
City staff, along with Gunter and Davitt, have been working on the change for about five years.
“I would expect by January we would be in the process of having a private company to do our building department and plan check, which has the potential to significantly speed up the process and get us away from county drainage and grading, which has been a huge hurdle for many of our residents,” Gunter said.
Bowman agreed and spoke on how the change will be effective for residents.
“I’ll speak as a resident, and less as a councilmember,” Bowman said. “I’ve lived the La Cañada dream, where you spend all your money to buy a house here, and you struggle to make that happen, and then you spend years and years making it your forever home. Having gone through that remodel process… dealing with some of these issues very personally, I can say, I really wish we had a time machine.”

Also at the Nov. 7 meeting, the City Council, excluding Davitt, unanimously approved to extend the completion date for the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to April 16, 2024, instead of the original date of Oct. 16.
Blue Strike Environmental has been the consultant for the city regarding the CAAP since August 2022.
Although there is sufficient money budgeted to complete all the remaining tasks in the CAAP, additional time is needed to complete each of the identified tasks.
Kane-Ritsch said she is concerned about the delay in the plan.
“I am very concerned that by delaying the delivery of the report that the City Council is also going to de-lay implementation of the actions that are being recommended,” she said. “We just keep waiting and waiting and waiting, we have a document, I don’t think it’s going to change a whole lot between now and the final version. It has actionable items that we can actually work on.”
“Don’t delay, act today,” she added.
Once the CAAP has finished its final review from the subcommittee, said Bowman, it will go to the planning commission for approval. Then, it will go to the City Council by January or February with public comment and feedback.

First published in the November 16 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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