Letters reveal wide support for more direct access in California

May 7, 2013

California

Sacramento, CA California schools, hospitals, retailers, hotels, restaurant chains, grocers, manufacturers, government facilities and many others have united to write state lawmakers urging support for pending legislation to increase opportunities for access to the competitive retail electricity market for customers in California.

Known in California as “direct access,” the ability to choose among competitive energy suppliers allows customers to select the retail electricity product or service that best meets their individual energy needs and objectives.

“The ability to choose direct access should be made available to more of the businesses and institutions that are vital contributors to California’s economy,” the diverse group of electricity customers and jobs providers said in letters sent to members of the California Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee.

The letters urge support for Assembly Bill 1350, sponsored by Assembly member Roger Hernandez. They note that expanding direct access allows more customers access to retail choice without harming customers who remain on utility service; nor does direct access negatively impact the state’s renewable energy and environmental policy objectives. 

The bill is similar to previously passed legislation that provided for a limited increase in the amount of commercial and industrial load that could choose direct access. When those new opportunities for direct access were made available, they were oversubscribed within a matter of seconds.

“We’ve consistently seen customer demand for competitive electricity supply options in California far exceed the extremely limited amount permissible under the statutory cap. California electricity customers are being denied their right to choose competitive retail product offerings due to arbitrary limits that are completely overwhelmed by pent-up demand for choice,” said Tim LoCascio, California State Chair for the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA).

“Demand for electric choice in California is substantial and long-standing,” said Andrea Morrison, President of the Alliance for Retail Energy Markets. “The limited access to competitive options is far too low and frustrates thousands of customers in California who demand the right to choose their own electricity provider.” 

“Many of our customer members are active in the effort to persuade California lawmakers to expand opportunities for direct access. They know the value and the innovative products and services that are available to them when they are allowed to choose among competitive supply options, and they want California lawmakers to know the economic and jobs benefits that expanding direct access can provide,” said COMPETE Coalition Executive Director Joel Malina.

“Safeway is one of the nation’s leading retailers embracing environmentally friendly initiatives throughout our business operations, and a leader in renewable and socially responsible energy procurement,” the company said in its letter urging support for the legislation. “Our achievements in this area are the result of competitive organized customer choice energy markets.”

Among those also participating in the letter campaign are the California Retailers Association (and many individual retailers like Safeway), the School Project for Utility Rate Reduction, the California Alliance for Competitive Energy Solutions, hospital and health care corporations, manufacturers, and governmental organizations like the Board of Supervisors for the County of Tuolumne.

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About RESA

RESA represents competitive energy suppliers dedicated to creating and sustaining vibrantly competitive electricity and natural gas markets for the benefit of consumers.  RESA’s members include:  Champion Energy Services, LLC; ConEdison Solutions; Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.; Direct Energy Services, LLC; GDF SUEZ Energy Resources NA, Inc.; Hess Corporation; Homefield Energy; IDT Energy; Integrys Energy Services, Inc.; Just Energy; Liberty Power; MC Squared Energy Services, LLC; Mint Energy, LLC; NextEra Energy Services; Noble Americas Energy Solutions LLC; NRG, Inc.; PPL EnergyPlus, LLC; Stream Energy; TransCanada Power Marketing Ltd. and TriEagle Energy, L.P.  For more information about RESA please contact Tracy McCormick, Executive Director, at (717) 566-5405, or visit www.resausa.org.

About AReM

The Alliance for Retail Energy Markets is a mutual benefit corporation that advocates for continued development of successful customer choice in California’s retail energy markets and provides a focused voice for competitive energy retailers and their customers in selected public policy forums on the state level. The Alliance members are Constellation NewEnergy, Direct Energy and Noble Americas Energy Solutions, who collectively serve the majority of competitively served electric load in California. For more information about AReM, please contact Andrea Morrison, President, at (916) 759-7052, or visit www.retailenergymarkets.com.

About COMPETE

The COMPETE Coalition represents more than 700 electricity stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, traditional and clean energy generators, transmission owners, trade associations, technology innovators, environmental organizations and economic development corporations – all of whom support well-structured competitive electricity markets for the benefit of our country.  

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About RESA

Together with our members, we play a critical role in educating key stakeholders and are active in support of or opposition to bills that affect competitive electricity markets, consumers, and RESA initiated legislation.

Read more about RESA