Cost-effective carbon-free energy is here.
Do you care about the climate crisis? Community choice energy is the foundation for creating a carbon-free economy by taking carbon out of our energy supply.
Community choice energy is the most cost-effective way of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions because it actually saves money on electricity. Carbon-free electricity supports the other pillars of the SLO Climate Coalition’s focus: electric vehicles (EVs) become zero emitters and electrifying buildings is cost-competitive and carbon-free.
The SLO Climate Coalition has been working to save energy costs for San Luis Obispo County, CA while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging cities and the County to join Monterey Bay Community Power’s community choice energy program. This is the most economical path to a carbon-free San Luis Obispo County and Central Coast.
Without the work of the SLO Climate Coalition, this progress would not have occurred.
What is Community Choice Energy?
California allows counties and cities to purchase the energy to be delivered by the utility. It provides local control and choice over energy decisions, enabling energy to be a driver of economic development while supporting efforts to address climate change. Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) is the community choice aggregation (CCA) that is expanding across the Central Coast.
There are now 19 community choice energy programs in the state, formed by 161 municipalities and providing almost 50% of the total energy for the State of California.
San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay Lead the Way
Last year, with the support of the SLO Climate Coalition, the City of San Luis Obispo and the City of Morro Bay joined Monterey Bay Community Power in order to save businesses and residents on energy costs, while obtaining 100% carbon-free energy.
Residents and businesses will start receiving carbon-free energy on January 1, 2020, after the California Public Utilities Commission’s one-year waiting period. These cities will be eligible for programs that will support economic vitality and further electrification efforts on the Central Coast.
As of this writing, Monterey Bay Community Power is seeking candidates for two new San Luis Obispo-based positions. Click here to learn more.
More Cities Join
This year the SLO Climate Coalition has been working to support Monterey Bay Community Power’s efforts to expand to the cities throughout San Luis Obispo County.
In January, Coalition members started attending budget priority workshops all over the County promoting community choice energy.
This is me speaking at the Atascadero City Council meeting on July 9, 2019. Photo The Climate Reality Project SLO.
A city requires 3 or 4 meetings to officially join Monterey Bay Community Power. The Coalition has been working to inform residents and businesses of the benefits of community choice energy and encourage them to attend council meetings to speak in favor of joining Monterey Bay Community Power.
The results have been outstanding, with nearly unanimous votes. Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, and Arroyo Grande have completed the process to join Monterey Bay Community Power in 2021. They have been joined by Santa Barbara County which brought along other cities in the northern part of Santa Barbara County.
To date the City of Atascadero has refused to do an analysis of the opportunity and the County of San Luis Obispo has been slow in walking through the process. However, if they do complete the process in the future, it will mean another $2.75 million in anticipated annual savings and 130,000 MWHrs of carbon-free energy.
What Did the SLO Climate Coalition Do?
SLO Climate Coalition members have attended and spoken at budget workshops and council meetings, met with council members, called on close to 400 businesses to introduce them to the benefits of community choice, conducted outreach to the community by emails, created Facebook events, developed talking points, and staffed information tables at events such as the San Luis Obispo Women’s March and Representative Salud Carbajal’s town hall meeting.
What are We Focused on Now?
The largest challenge remains—getting the County of San Luis Obispo to join Monterey Bay Community Power.
San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Meeting on October 1, 2019
Please join us at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on October 1, 2019. During the afternoon session, the supervisors will be receiving the Monterey Bay Community Power financial feasibility study they commissioned and deciding on the next steps.
Meeting Date, Time and Location
Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at 1:30 p.m
1055 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA
Contact Your Supervisor
If you live in San Luis Obispo County, please contact your Supervisor to voice your support community choice energy.
We are supporting Monterey Bay Community Power with the rollout of the program to the residents and businesses of the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Our focus is to communicate the benefits of being a customer with a goal of making sure people stay with Monterey Bay Community Power keeping the opt-out rate below 5%. The rest of the cities and the County will be watching.
What Can You Do?
You can help make community choice energy a reality all across the Central Coast. Here are a few ideas.
Help Get San Luis Obispo County on Board
We have not given up on getting the County of San Luis Obispo to join Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) but it going to require either Supervisors Debbie Arnold, John Peschong or Lynn Compton to support joining. Let them know that joining MBCP is important to you.
The County hired an accounting firm that used some bogus financial assumption to mischaracterize the future performance of MBCP.
You may need to vote for a new county supervisor to reduce energy costs and receive carbon-free energy.
Support City of San Luis Obispo and City of Morro Bay MBCP Rollout
The rollout of MBCP will be starting soon in the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.
I have started to see that some people are opting out seemingly based on misinformation and against their financial interests (and the environment). If any of your friends or neighbors talk about opting out, please direct them to MBCP’s enrollment webpage.
If they still have questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com and I will be sure they get answers.
Join the SLO Climate Coalition
There is a lot of work to be done to help reduce carbon emissions in our community. Come to a SLO Climate Coalition meeting (3rd Thursday of the Month, 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Ludwick Community Center) and become part of the solution.
- Choose Energy Efficient Cooking Methods
- Demystifying All-Electric Homes and Buildings
- Electric Vehicles are Good for People and the Environment
- SLO Climate Coalition – Our Kids are Counting on Us
- SLO Votes to Cut Gas Pollution in New Construction
- The City of SLO Wants Your Climate Action Plan Ideas
- Community choice energy grows on Central Coast – by Great Mart, KCBX, 12/28/18
- Community Choice Energy: What You Need to Know – San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, 07/09/19
- Enrollment: Cities of Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo – Monterey Bay Community Power
- Monterey Bay Community Power
- More cities explore Community Choice Energy – by Peter Johnson, New Times, 04/11/19
- Power pivot: Community Choice Energy arrives on the Central Coast – by Peter Johnson, New Times, 09/19/19
- Santa Barbara Gives Green Energy Plan the Green Light – by Nick Welsh, Santa Barbara Independent, 07/24/19
About the Author: John Smigelski spent decades working in the energy industry before moving to San Luis Obispo and founding Better World Energy. His experience includes working for diverse energy companies from utilities to startups and he has been involved with distributed generation, wind energy, hydro, photovoltaic, and solar thermal technologies. John is a strong advocate for community choice energy programs and he is excited about greening the California electric grid.