February 28, 2018,
Ventura County Board of Supervisors became the first county, and with Ojai, approximately the 4th jurisdiction to choose the 100% renewable energy default for accounts starting with Clean Power Alliance in June. Thousand Oaks chose the 50% renewable energy default for both commercial and residential.
Supervisor Parks arranged a brilliant and creative strategy to separate the decision into
a) government and commercial accounts that need to start in June, and
b) residential accounts that don’t start until late in 2018.
Choosing the 100% renewable energy tier as the default for residential accounts is controversial and involves less energy use than government and commercial accounts.
With this bold, visionary decision businesses in the unincorporated area will be alerted in mailings starting around April and again in May that their energy will be coming from Clean Power Alliance instead of SoCal Edison AND will be set at the 100% renewable energy tier.
They will be informed how much greenhouse gas emissions will be eliminated if they stay at the 100% tier. They will be told that that tier costs 7% more than what they have been paying SoCal Edison and that to save 4% on their bill they can choose the 36% clean energy tier or to save 3% on their bill they can choose the 50% clean energy tier. SoCal Edison currently has only 28% clean energy in their electricity so businesses will be able to be both cheaper and cleaner, but the county decided to ask that they opt down if they don’t want to support the 100% clean tier.
By setting the default at the highest level it is possible that seven times more businesses will stay at that level than if they set the tier at the 50% level like Thousand Oaks did and explain to businesses and residents the value of going up to 100%. People trust their local government to see that the opening tier is the best for them and they tend not to think about it. There is discussion about setting a fourth tier at the break-even cost with Edison which would be around 65% renewable energy.
Clean power advocates will ask the Clean Power Alliance and the Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance to do effective communications and outreach to assure that all businesses know that they can reduce their bills by opting for less than 100% clean energy while understanding what a great deal it is to only pay 7% more for fossil free electricity.