Orange County Power Authority’s Dirty Playbook for Accessing Your Money (Part 1)

1 week ago


A generation ago long-distance phone companies invented clever ways of deceiving consumers, frequently switching them into their programs without their knowledge or permission. The practice was coined “slamming,” and today a variation of it is employed by new local-government community choice energy agencies, including Orange County Power Authority (OCPA).

It’s part of the game where slamming is concealed under OCPA’s guise of “local control by community leaders,” permitted by legislation from California’s failed energy deregulation twenty years ago, Assembly Bill 117.

These government agencies compete with incumbent power companies such as Southern California Edison, claiming to deliver clean energy for low prices when the opposite is true.

They target your passivity and distracted life while your city foolishly tangles itself in hundreds of millions of dollars of energy contract liabilities, making it all but impossible to exit from a bad deal since opting out is unavailable to cities. Despite claims to the contrary, general funds are at risk.

Irvine, Huntington Beach, Buena Park, and Fullerton are now tied to more than one-half billion dollars of take-or-pay energy contract liability.

Orange County businesses are already in the program unless they successfully opted out—not an easy feat considering it’s the community choice agencies that control the opt-out process. [1] Residential customers follow in October.

You are introduced to the program via cleverly designed junk mail type postcards—assuming you receive them.

Epoch Times Photo

OCPA’s enrollment postcards are filled with a short punch list of false benefits meant to seduce you, among them:

  • “Cleaner power at competitive rates.” According to state regulators, Southern California Edison already complies with renewable energy mandates. Conversely, most of the delivered energy in OCPA’s “100 percent renewable” or “Smart Choice” (69 percent renewable) products isn’t clean at all. Much is green-washed dirty power.
  • “Reinvesting revenue into our community.” Nearly all of OCPA’s revenue flows to east coast energy corporations and to European oil giant, Shell Oil, whose subsidiary Shell Energy North America gamed (pdf) California’s energy market twenty years ago, during the state’s failed electricity deregulation. Strange bedfellows for this “local” agency.

What is the difference between community choice and your incumbent power company? Community choice has colorful websites and telephone operators that assuage all concerns. Besides that, the differences are slim.

Prices for OCPA’s lowest cost Basic product are supposedly “at parity” with Edison’s. However, OCPA’s prices are already slated to increase.

Uber clean energy? Nope. Each kilowatt-hour of energy you pull from California’s electric grid contains the identical mix everyone else gets—there are no dedicated wires carrying green energy to your house. And California is already curtailing excess wind and solar power, which obviates community choice’s claim of “greening the grid.”

If you want to reduce carbon emissions, put these agencies out of business.

Our ‘Choice’ Not Yours

Community choice would dry up were it not for its steady draw of your money, facilitated by its opt-out mechanism—a tool it vigorously protects. [2]

The industry and OCPA’s member cities Fullerton, Buena Park, Irvine, and Huntington Beach, refer to its enrollment process as “choice&r...

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