Editorials : Guest Opinion: Introducing the Dimwit Energy Company

by Andy Caldwell

Community Choice Energy (CCE) is a scheme by which progressive parasites latch on to the infrastructure of investor-owned utilities (IOUs), namely Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, to deliver power they buy from sources other than the IOUs (as much as possible). The cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta, and the county of Santa Barbara, are all moving forward on CCE.
The plans to move forward came by way of the third bite of this poisonous apple. That is, a study and a peer review of the first study both said CCE won’t pencil out. No bother. This time, these public servants used a consultant whose work will not be reviewed and who wants to have the contract to manage the same upon final approval (they used to call that a conflict of interest).
This, despite the fact that the IOUs are 10 years ahead of the state mandate to obtain 50 percent of their energy from renewables. Moreover, upwards of 79 percent of PG&E’s energy is greenhouse gas free. Finally, as Supervisor Steve Lavagnino pointed out, PG&E’s consumers, right now, can check a box and get 100 percent of their energy from renewables. Not to mention the ability of consumers to go off grid by getting roof-top solar with virtually no out-of-pocket costs. So why bother with CCE?
The real goal here is not to save consumers money. The socialists in control simply want to take what would otherwise be the profits from these IOUs and use the same to create their own slush fund. Some of these jurisdictions will use the money to try and decrease energy uses; others will plow the proceeds back into their empty coffers. The way they figure, running an electricity grid must be easy if the private sector can do it. What could possibly go wrong?
Supervisor Das Williams admitted his goal is not to lower energy prices for consumers. Supervisor Joan Hartmann was clear as day that she didn’t have much value for allowing investors of the IOUs to keep the proceeds from the sale of electricity because they won’t help local communities get off the grid altogether. Staff admitted the “savings” to consumers could be as little as $10 per year.
The goal of Mr. Williams is to take the profits and build our own local energy supply. Here is where the dream becomes a nightmare for most South County progressive NIMBYs. Does anyone realize how much land it will take to supply the county with local energy? Solar and wind take up gobs of land. That spells doom to land conservation goals as it threatens to convert our pristine rural coast to an industrial-scale solar farm.
Mr. Williams wants to practice what he preaches. Namely, the way he figures, if he is to help shut down oil and gas and nuclear power, well then, to be practical and responsible, the community must step up and build the energy supply it needs. Anything else is hypocritical and elitist.
Unfortunately, the real experts on these subjects, the IOUs, are under a literal gag order, meaning they aren’t allowed to inform the public about Community Choice Energy. CCE will collapse the franchise utility model that allows the IOUs to produce reliable power while spreading the costs and risks to millions of customers. Moreover, we now share power supplies across a complex grid that involves the rest of the western states.
Managing power is not for amateurs. The IOUs could share the absurdities of our being forced to pay Arizona to take excess solar-generated power off our hands during the day, because we already produce more than we can use and we have no ability to store the same.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press AM 1290.