Did Toni Atkins side with "dirty energy companies"?

Assemblywoman's vote against "community choice" energy prompts accusation

A group of picketers took to the streets outside newly installed California Assembly speaker Toni Atkins’s office Friday afternoon, May 30, in protest of her vote in favor of Assembly Bill 2145, which environmental activists say would stifle the ability to implement "community choice" power supplies. Community choice, advocates say, would serve both to lower the cost of electricity and to allow more of it to be sourced from environmentally friendly sources such as solar and wind power.

A small contingent was able to meet with Atkins's staff.

A small contingent was able to meet with Atkins's staff.

"A lot of people in San Diego have spent considerable time working on community choice," says Kath Rogers, representing the climate-change action group SanDiego350.org. Community choice, she says, "would allow us to determine where we buy our energy — we're one of the sunniest cities in the nation, so it only makes sense to make decisions such as purchasing locally produced solar power."

The current city budget, Rogers says, includes funding inserted by Todd Gloria as part of his proposed climate-action plan to study the feasibility of implementing community choice in San Diego. Study results are expected sometime in the fall.

Two rural northern counties, Sonoma and Marin, already have community choice in place, though a provision in AB 2145 that blocks local energy districts from automatically enrolling customers in the program could put the plan in peril among communities that haven't already launched service. Dozens of local governments, elected officials, and activist groups statewide oppose the bill’s passage.

"Without an initial customer base, the concept is essentially dead on arrival," explains Rogers. "Feasibility studies in other counties that have done this rely on that base to request bids from potential power providers," which still could, she says, include conventional utilities such as SDG&E.

But what about people who might want to opt out of community choice, choosing instead to remain with the local investor-owned utility companies?

"It's very transparent; consumers have every opportunity to opt out, if they so choose," says Rogers. "But the fact is, most people don't want to, because [community choice] provides better options for the ratepayer, both in terms of environmentally friendly energy and rate structures."

As Rogers spoke, a crowd numbering about 30 waved signs and chanted slogans, including, "How do you spell corporate greed? S-D-G-E!"

A rumor spread that Atkins’s office was sending staff down to the street to address the protesters and their concerns about AB 2145, which passed the Assembly on Wednesday, May 28, and is now headed to the state senate.

"We are disappointed that Toni Atkins has sided with large dirty energy companies over the loud voice of San Diegans who care about green jobs, clean energy, and the ability to choose who we buy our energy from," adds SanDiego350 representative Masada Disenhouse.

After the expected Atkins staffer failed to materialize, Disenhouse and a handful of constituents went up to the office, where she says they met with district director Denise Price. Per Disenhouse, Price was unfamiliar with the specific issue but promised an official response from the assemblywoman as to the reasoning behind her vote.

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"Per Disenhouse, Price was unfamiliar with the specific issue but promised an official response from the assemblywoman as to the reasoning behind her vote."

Same (non)answer I got from a Susan Davis staffer when I asked for Davis' reasoning behind supporting the big dairy lobbyists, on a milk bill some years ago. It was probably staffer Todd Gloria giving me the runaround.

I never got a response about the reasoning behind Davis' vote, but did get an expensive package with the entire bill printout, which I could read it for free online. Stupid.

SDG&E is too powerful for Toni to challenge, otherwise she would have been far more vocal about the multi-billion dollar San Onofre rip off by both SCE and SDG&E, that will mean bigger profits for these Big Utilities and ever higher rates for ratepayers...

We are left will poor Leadership, yet she wants our votes so she can continue to push for more housing in-fill projects because developers are big donors!

I want clean energy too, but that's not what they're selling up in Marin. Now they're stuck with a CCA that doesn't do what it was was sold as, it raised their rates and gave them out of state carbon power, (yuck) I know that's not what those who where automatically forced to opt-in wanted. This stuff isn't the miracle people want it to be, Speaker Akins knows that and should be commended! Caveat emptor

That is the biggest bunch of baloney I've ever heard. Marin Clean Energy is providing customers with a higher share of renewable electricity at a lower rate than PG&E. And for those who like their air smoggy and would rather get dirty, more expensive energy from PG&E, they're free to go back to PG&E at any time.

Not Factual Please post a link that backs up what your claim, otherwise stop spreading disinformation!

Actually it is a well established fact that Marin now offers cleaner electricity at a lower price than PG&E. See the numbers here..

Residential: https://mcecleanenergy.com/sites/default/files/PDF/Res_Rates_5.30.14.pdf

Commercial: https://mcecleanenergy.com/sites/default/files/PDF/Com_Rates_5.30.14.pdf

So Marin is kicking PG&E's butt bigtime on both clean energy content -and- price, and that is exactly why SDG&E wants to kill it in San Diego and statewide. SDG&E fears fair, free market competition, that will give people a better deal.

Atkins is serving the will of fossil fuel energy corporations, instead of serving her constituents.

Thanks for the links....clearly, Community Choice offers a win-win-win for consumers who want clean energy, affordably priced and under local democratic control.

Lots more about this topic here:

San Onofre: No questions allowed at next public workshop on nuclear waste storage


All ratepayers need to ask themselves,

Where do Utilities get the money to pay their shareholders record profits year after year?

If they don't know then they need to look in the mirror. for the answer.

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