Carpinteria’s City Council voted unanimously to move forward with joining a community choice aggregate (CCA) at its Aug. 26 meeting. The 4-0 vote (with Councilman Al Clark absent) directed staff to move forward in preparing a city contract to join the CCA of the Monterey Bay Community Power Authority (MBCP) with a budget appropriation of $7,500.
City staff were first directed to study the feasibility of joining a CCA in 2015. Erin Maker, the city’s environmental coordinator, explained to the council that CCAs offer consumers more local choices and promote economic development. Staff have also determined that joining MBCP provides “the least cost, lowest risk path forward.”
CCAs allow local governments to form a partnership to combine the amount of electricity used by their communities to both purchase energy and develop renewable energy projects. The partnership typically supplies a higher percentage of renewable or carbon-free electricity at competitive rates. The investor-owned utility, in this case Southern California Edison, handles the delivery of energy by maintaining transmission lines and the overall energy grid. Consumers can opt-out of the CCA use only SCE.
MBCP launched in early 2018, initially serving the counties of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey, as well as 16 incorporated cities. MBCP currently serves 275,000 customers and will increase to about 305,000 in early 2020 with the enrollment of customers in the cities of Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
Speaking on behalf of the Community Environmental Council, Michael Chiacos stated, “We’ve studied community choice extensively … we urge Carpinteria to move forward… CCEs are now serving 10 million Californians … Carpinterians deserve the choice… of cleaner energy.”
Wildfire mitigation plan
Rondi Gutheree, Southern California Edison, provided council with an overview of the company’s wildfire mitigation plan recently filed with the State of California. Earlier this year, SB 901 required all utility companies to create a wildfire mitigation plan to reduce wildfire threats and to fortify the powerlines and equipment. Gutheree stated that the purpose of the plan was to minimize the chances of SCE equipment becoming a fire hazard.
Disability advocate, Danielle Anderson, executive director of Independent Living Resource Center for the Tri-County Region, warned the public that if the wildfire mitigation plan, which includes emergency power shutoffs, “isn’t done correctly, people with disabilities will die.” Anderson said that she had reached out several times to SCE asking, “how this power shut off plan would affect people with disabilities with no response.”
More funds for City Hall remod
Councilmembers also approved a $69,885 increase in funds to remodel City Hall due to unforeseen building conditions discovered during the demolition phase of the project. The costs of the project and construction management services of GWMC will be covered by the City's insurance claim.
Magnolias to be removed
Two magnolias at 4495 La Tierra Lane will be removed and replaced per the Tree Advisory Board’s recommendations and the council’s approval. The trees were stricken by a pest infestation and were affecting the safety of pedestrians on the sidewalk. Trees will be planted immediately after the originals are removed. The city contracts with West Coast Arborists for tree replacement and removal.
City Council also approved eliminating one on-street parking spot and in its place installing two motorcycle parking spots and red curb near the existing crosswalk at 5205 Carpinteria Avenue (near Fosters Freeze). The modifications will improve visibility for drivers, providing a safer crossing zone for students.