Eight states allow Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), a policy that allows local governments to purchase and/or generate cleaner and cheaper electricity on behalf of their residents and businesses. Under the legislation, a local incorporated government or group of governments can decide to form an Aggregator through an ordinance. Once formed the Aggregator then acts on behalf of its members to negotiate the purchase of electricity from a provider.
The original focus of CCA policy was on reduced and stabilized rates for their members. Because the CCA is negotiating a bulk purchase on behalf of its members, CCAs generally receive lower rates for ratepayers than they received with their utility. More recently CCAs have become more focused on expanding renewable electricity. This is especially important in light of a study released earlier this year revealing that Maryland’s “Renewable Portfolio Standard” includes forms of energy that are far from clean.
“Community Choice Aggregation is a tool that local governments can decide to use that will allow them to speed their transition to renewable energy,” said Delegate Lorig Charkoudian. “We must do everything we can to empower all levels of government to react to the threats of climate change – and that includes giving them the authority to direct their own electricity mix.”
“This innovative policy solution places power in the hands of communities to negotiate better prices with energy providers, while allowing us to generate more affordable clean, renewable electricity directly for our residents and businesses,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Creating a Community Choice Aggregator will also help meet our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals for the County.”
The legislation does not require the establishment of Community Choice Aggregators, but simply gives them the legal authority to do so.
“The real benefit of Community Choice Aggregation is that it gives communities local control of their electricity supply,” said Senator Mary Washington. “This allows them to seek lower and more stable rates for their residents. The added benefit is that these lower rates can be achieved while also protecting the environment by increasing the purchase of renewable electricity.”
“We applaud Delegate Charkoudian and Senator Washington for introducing this legislation,” said Mitch Jones, Senior Policy Advocate at Food & Water Watch. “We look forward to working with them to pass this vital legislation to give local control to communities that seek cleaner, cheaper electricity for their residents as Maryland moves rapidly to 100 percent renewable electricty.”
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