An alternative model to traditional investor-owned utilities (IOUs) is gaining popularity across California. Assembly Bill 117, passed in 2002, allows cities and/or counties to purchase electricity on behalf of their communities ─ a procurement model called community choice aggregation. Local governments administer community choice aggregators (CCAs) with the mission to reflect community preferences for energy procurement and energy programs.

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation (LCI) is the leading research center tracking the emergence of CCAs in California and the rest of the nation, as well as assessing their effects, including environmental performance. Examples of our work follow.

Community Choice Aggregation: Challenges, Opportunities, and Impacts on Renewable Energy Markets (2019 report)
Authors from LCI: Julien Gattaciecca and Kelly Trumbull
Authors from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Eric O’Shaughnessy, Jenny Heeter, Jenny Sauer, and Emily Chen

A new report by the NREL and LCI assesses the growth of CCAs and their impact on renewable energy, as part of the first nationwide CCA study by federal and academic researchers. Currently, eight states allow cities and counties to purchase electricity on behalf of their communities. More than 750 CCAs procure electricity to several millions of customers in the U.S. The researcher found that most of these CCAs formed with the goal of reducing electricity costs for ratepayers, while others focus on realizing their customers’ preferences for clean energy. In 2017, 100 CCAs cumulatively procured more than three times the amount of renewable energy than is required by state policy. 

The Growth of Community Choice Aggregation: Impacts to California’s Grid (2018 report)
Authors: Julien Gattaciecca, Kelly Trumbull, and J.R. DeShazo

In this report, LCI researchers estimated that CCAs could serve a majority of IOUs’ power customers by 2030. This would transform the retail electricity sector across California. CCAs are already increasing the amount of renewable energy on the grid, and this could further systemwide reliability challenges. The report, produced by the nonprofit organization Next 10, concluded that due to the local and public nature of these entities, CCAs are well positioned to address some grid challenges through local energy programs and their ability to coordinate closely with customers.

Evaluating Community Choice Aggregation Alternatives for the City of Santa Monica and Beyond (2017 report)
Authors: Julien Gattaciecca, Kelly Trumbull, and J.R. DeShazo

This LCI study analyzed three CCA options to support decision-making for the City of Santa Monica and other municipalities considering community choice energy. The research helped inform Santa Monica’s decision to join the Clean Power Alliance (formerly called Los Angeles Community Choice Energy), a new, locally-operated electricity provider in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Clean Power Alliance gives Southern California Edison customers the option of clean energy purchased by Clean Power Alliance and delivered by Southern California Edison.

The Promises and Challenges of Community Choice Aggregation in California (2017 report)
Authors: Julien Gattaciecca, J.R. DeShazo, and Kelly Trumbull

This first-of-its-kind report assessed the performance of the first eight CCAs in California and looked ahead to the promises, challenges, and broader implications for CCAs if current CCA growth trends continue. LCI researchers specifically assessed CCA performance and promise using metrics including: renewable energy, local programming, prices, and community engagement.