Delay on East Bay Community Choice Program - No Rest for Advocates

Providing less than 24 hours’ notice, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors delayed its much anticipated action on Community Choice energy at its August 2nd meeting. The vote is now expected in October, following a half-day Board of Supervisors retreat on September 20th. 
Despite the organizing challenges of the last minute shift, the delay offers the East Bay Clean Power Alliance an opportunity to make Alameda County’s Community Choice program even stronger in its commitment to community involvement, community benefits, and investment in local renewable energy resources.

The eleventh hour change came as some supervisors expressed a need for more information about what was being proposed to move the Community Choice program forward. It was reported that some of their concerns centered around a resolution of the Alameda Labor Council calling for all work under the Community Choice program to be conducted through Project Labor Agreements. Despite labor representatives holding multiple seats on the County Community Choice Steering Committee, this issue was never discussed at the committee.
County Supervisor President Haggerty stated that Alameda County’s program was not threatened, only delayed. Supervisor Carson also stated that he and others needed more details about the program before voting on (1) approving a Joint Powers Authority agreement to propose to cities that wish to participate in the County’s Community Choice energy program, (2) accepting the recently-completed Community Choice feasibility study, and (3) funding the next phases of establishing the Community Choice program. 
The Board of Supervisors invited the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, the Alameda County-wide alliance calling for community benefits and involvement in the Community Choice program, along with other stakeholders to join the half-day Board Retreat on September 20th to discuss the program before the vote, now expected in October.
In July, over 340 Alameda County residents sent letters to the Board of Supervisors requesting that the County’s Community Choice program prioritize local renewable energy development, community involvement in governance, and equitable program benefits. The East Bay Clean Power Alliance submitted a letter signed by 56 community organizations demanding the same, to “Put our Communities in Community Choice.”
With the newfound time, the East Bay Clean Power Alliance is exploring the possibility of adding language in the Joint Powers Authority agreement calling for preparation of a business plan for the new program, including a description of how it will build local renewable energy resources and thereby contribute to fostering local economic benefits, such as job creation, community energy programs, and local ownership and control of electricity. 
Stay tuned for how to support and when to come to the Board of Supervisors vote!