Del Mar councilwoman brings CCE concerns to county supervisors

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council unanimously voted Monday, Oct. 21, to move forward with a Community Choice Energy program, which will launch through a Joint Powers Agreement with the cities of Solana Beach and Carlsbad.

Del Mar council members voted unanimously to start a Community Choice Energy program at their Oct. 7 meeting. In a separate 4-1 vote, they agreed to form a Joint Powers Agreement with Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Santee and San Diego County. Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland, the lone “no” vote, said she wanted to wait another year.

The Santee City Council and San Diego County Board of Supervisors have since decided to postpone their decision on whether to join the CCE program, which will be called the Clean Energy Alliance, leaving the three North County cities as the founding member cities of the CEA.

CCE programs enable cities to band together to offer their residents and businesses a higher percentage of renewable energy, typically at a slight discount compared to traditional utilities. The energy is delivered with the infrastructure of traditional energy providers such as San Diego Gas & Electric.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting last week, county staff said they didn’t like the requirement of a two-thirds vote to make changes to the terms of the Clean Energy Alliance, and would instead prefer a unanimous vote.

Gaasterland, who attended the meeting, reiterated her support for waiting another year before committing to the new partnership. She said she wanted a more thorough analysis of the business model and possible worst-case scenario, and raised those concerns again at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Speaking at the council meeting this week, Don Mosier, a former Del Mar councilman, said her comments to the Board of Supervisors did “a disservice to the whole process.”

“When the council has decided to move forward with a CCA, and has been in long-term discussions with county about being a member of that CCA, I think you can’t go to the board of supervisors meeting and represent that you are an individual expressing your opinion when your opinion differs from that of the council on which you sit,” he said.

He was one of a few speakers who took issue with Gaasterland’s comments to the board after Del Mar voted to form the JPA and move ahead with the CCE this year. Other council members, including Ellie Haviland, and public speakers, including Sustainability Advisory Committee member Ann Feeney, have said the city has fully vetted the plans to join the Clean Energy Alliance with its North County neighbors.

Gaasterland said she was speaking as a private citizen at the Board of Supervisors meeting, and was glad the supervisors voted to establish a CCE while postponing a decision on whether to join the Clean Energy Alliance.

“I also, in my remarks, communicated why I, as a private citizen, have concerns about this year versus next year for launching the JPA,” she said.

The Clean Energy Alliance is scheduled to launch in 2021.