published on August 26, 2016 - 10:27 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
A new survey finds that a majority of Central Valley residents want a choice in how their electricity is generated, and would be supportive of providing electricity produced locally if the revenues were reinvested back into the local economy.

The survey was commissioned by the Clean Power Exchange (CPX) and was conducted by Delphi Communications of Santa Rosa. CPX is a project for the Santa Rosa-based advocacy group Center for Climate Protection.

The survey was conducted via telephone in March and April of registered voters in San Joaquin, Fresno and Tulare counties.

In the City of Fresno, about 350 residents completed the survey. Some of the results:

• 68% of the voters want a choice in how their electricity is generated.

• 66% of the voters are supportive of providing electricity produced locally if they were assured the revenues would be reinvested back into the local economy.

• 71% of the voters are supportive of having a local clean and renewable electricity source owned by the community.

• 58% are satisfied with the cost of their monthly electric bill.

• 35% are dissatisfied with the cost of their monthly electric bill

The results were similar in Fresno County, where 766 surveys were completed, as well as Visalia (223 surveys) and Tulare County (717).

CPX serves as an information center for Community Choice Energy, also known as Community Choice Aggregation, which allows local governments or special districts to pool their electricity load with the goal of purchasing or developing their own power, but still using infrastructure owned by a utility such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to deliver the electricity.

“Energy is a lot like water in that it is a resource upon which our lives and economies are built,” said Mike Dozier, executive director of the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State, in a statement. “People in the San Joaquin Valley understand that we need to make some real changes to ensure a sustainable future-both economically and environmentally. There’s no better time to explore that here than now.”

Programs are currently operational in Marin County, Sonoma County, the City of Lancaster, and the City of San Francisco.

Another program in San Mateo County is launching later this year, with several others set to launch in 2017.

The Kings River Conservation District and 13 municipalities including Fresno, Clovis and Kings County, began an effort in 2006 to bring Community Choice Aggregation to the Central Valley, even becoming the first authority to receive approval and certification from the California Public Utilities Commission of a required Community Choice Implementation Plan.

The group suspended its efforts in 2009, however, due to tightness in the credit market and volatility in energy prices and other concerns about the state’s regulatory climate. The group also pointed at strong opposition from PG&E as a factor.

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