STATES UNDER CONSIDERATION
In January, 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis presented a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution with a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2040.
In April, 2021 HB21-1269 was introduced by Colorado State Rep. Edie Hooton (D-Boulder). The bill would direct the state’s Public Utilities Commission to study the feasibility of CCA.
In January, 2022, The Colorado Public Utilities Commission opened a CCE investigatory docket that was authorized by HB21-1269, proceeding number 22I-0027E, and its title is "Study of Community Choice for Wholesale Electric Supply”. The Commission invited input from interested parties on the 23 questions and topics that are specified in the bill plus about a dozen additional questions added by the Commission, all of which are aimed at determining how CCE might work best in Colorado if it was implemented by the legislature. In its report to the legislature, the Commission will incorporate information it receives from both formal comments and public comments that are submitted, as well as invited expert presentations on key topics at one or more Commissioner Information Meetings (CIMs), and research conducted by PUC Staff. LEAN's initial comments submitted on March 1, 2022 can be viewed HERE, reply comments submitted on April 15, 2022 HERE.
The Public Utilities Commission hired the Great Plains Institute, a nonpartisan advisory group, to collaborate on the study and the commission will send recommendations to the state Legislature by December 15th. As of October, 2022, CCA-enabling legislation is being drafted to be introduced in 2023, regardless of the PUC's recommendations.
As of early March, 2023, CCA-enabling legislation has been drafted and is currently awaiting approval for "late bill status".
In the News:
Frustrated with their utilities, some Coloradans want the state to change its rules so communities can buy their own electricity. October 21, 2022, cpr.org
Americans want more renewable energy. Can ‘community choice’ help them get it? May 21, 2021, Boulderweekly.com
Xcel says Colorado Community Choice Energy won’t advance clean energy goals. April 26, 2021, Daily Energy Insider
Who's on the sidelines? Boulder legislator cites missing faces at table in community choice aggregation testimony. April 1, 2021, Mountain Town News
Colorado governor releases final plan to reduce emissions by 90%. It’s still too vague, environmentalists say. January 14, 2021, The Colorado Sun
Regulated and Deregulated Energy Markets
Deregulated Energy States & Markets (Updated 2020)
FERC: Electric Power Markets, National Overview
CCA: A Community Tool to Boost the Economy and Green the Grid, LEAN presentation in Colorado, March, 2019
In early 2022, a move to repeal Arizona’s “energy choice” bill (HB 2101) was introduced, written by Salt River Project and backed by all of the state’s IOUs. The bill passed and repeals the existing energy competition statute. Legislators have agreed to form an energy taskforce to get up to speed on the changing energy market and other viable structures for competition, the changing grid and distributed energy, etc. LEAN is working with advocacy groups in the state on trying to get a seat at that table.
In April, 2022, a coalition of climate action groups have drafted a sign-on letter compelling the ACC to open a docket to study CCA, and Prima County may be considering a pilot program.
Working with Public Power New Mexico, the state made a run unsuccessfully at enabling legislation in Quarter 1 of 2023 (3rd time). LEAN continues to support Public Power New Mexico in 2023 as they convene a working group to study CCA and hopefully re-introduce legislation in 2024.
The City of Ann Arbor is leading the CCA efforts in Michigan and is working with local legislators to draft legislation that they hope to see introduced “in the near future” (see January, 2021 article HERE).
In the News:
Ann Arbor to lobby Michigan legislature for power to choose electricity sources. energynews.us, January 14, 2021
DTE Energy raises concerns about Ann Arbor’s plan for 100% renewable energy. mlive.com, June 3, 2021
Power outages lead to renewed talks of creating public electric utility for Ann Arbor. mlive.com, August 24, 2021
DTE Energy hopes Ann Arbor nixes idea of creating its own electric utility. mlive.com, August 24, 2021
Currently there is a team of 9 community, CCA, legal, and solar industry experts working on establishing CCA in Pennsylvania. The group consists of individuals from REIV2G Network, Sierra Club of Pennsylvania, Ready for 100, Joule Community Power, PASSIA, Philadelphia Solar Energy Association, eco(n)law and Earthjustice. The team has identified 3 possible pathways to CCA-enabling success: Legislative, regulatory and existing borough statute. The team has decided to forego the legislative path for now due to political challenges, and focus on regulatory and existing borough statute.
The regulatory pathway was at first not a consideration due to the possibility that an opt out CCA program would be violating existing legislation, however it has been recently discovered that if the regulatory submission can prove that a CCA program would be in the public interest, the PUC could approve the program.
The borough pathway could also be successful because of a statute in the state that allows boroughs to purchase electricity on behalf of their residents, developed decades ago. This statute, however, was not intended to use for CCA, so the team is currently looking deeper into how it could work.
More details and regularly updated information can be found HERE.
HOW DOES A STATE GET A CCA?
We’re often asked “What do you look for when considering CCA in a new state?” “Where does it work best?” The truth is, there’s no single answer nor is it always a straight path to CCA adoption. Why? Because regulatory frameworks, electric power markets and policies/politics are very different around the country.
Let’s start with some basic context. At the 50,000 foot level, the US operates within 10 electric power markets and 3 regulatory frameworks:
Regulated/Un-Restructured– Vertically integrated investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are the sole source provider of both electric/gas generation and transmission services. It’s a one-stop shopping monopoly model with guaranteed rates of return, centralized oversight and no market competition or customer choice. Over half of US states operate in fully regulated energy markets including WA, UT, AZ, MN and FL.
De-regulated/Restructured – In restructured states, the utility function has been split to allow for electric (and in some cases, gas) supply to be provided by retail energy suppliers on a competitive basis. The utility gets out of the power generation business and is a “poles and wire” company providing power transmission, distribution, line maintenance and some programs. Examples of deregulated/restructured markets are TX, NY, MA and IL.
Partially De-Regulated – These states maintain a vertically integrated utility structure but allow some customer classes, usually large commercial and industrial, to access the wholesale, competitive market to procure power for their load. Small commercial, municipal and residential accounts continue to be served on a regulated, monopoly basis by the IOU. Examples of partially de-regulated states are: CA, OR, NV, MI and PA, VA.
CCAs are authorized at the state level in one of two ways: 1) through State legislation or 2) through regulation. Of the states in which CCA currently exists, six are de-regulated (IL, OH, MA, NY, RI, NH and NJ), two are partially de-regulated (CA and VA), and zero are in fully regulated states… although we aim to change that. Please see our “What is CCA” page for links to state statutes/enabling legislation.
WHAT ARE THE CONSIDERATIONS?
Although there are some similarities depending on which electric power market a state operates in, each state has differences including existing regulations, state energy policies, political leadership and customer base. That said, we’ve identified 5 considerations when determining where CCA might work best :
Partially deregulated or restructured energy market
States with aggressive renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and other clean energy goals
Legislative or public action to explore electric competition and/or greater use of clean power (e.g. NV’s 2018 Energy Choice Initiative; Oregon’s SB 978)
Local government interest in CCA
Electric rates and customer dissatisfaction with incumbent utility
LEAN defines ‘best’ as CCA programs that have a triple bottom line: more customer choice, more affordable rates, more clean power.
Page last updated 3.23.23