Community Choice Aggregation may be coming to Trinity County, and with it an avenue for current PG&E customers to plug into Trinity Public Utilities District power services.

Community Choice Aggregation allows for local jurisdictions to come together and choose their own specific power suppliers, unlike investor-owned utilities (like PG&E) which purchase and generate their own power to sell for profit.

The idea for Trinity County to create a CCA was brought forth as a discussion item to the Board of Supervisors at their most recent meeting Jan. 18 by Sup. Jeremy Brown. In his report, Brown listed the three options of how a CCA could be formed in Trinity, and what the next steps would be for the county if the board decides on an option to move forward.

One option would be for Trinity County to form and manage its own CCA and purchase power from TPUD. Another option would be for the county to join the already existing Redwood Coast Authority out of Humboldt County. The third option, and by far the most popular and discussed option at the meeting, would be for Trinity County to form a Joint Powers Agreement with TPUD where TPUD would oversee and manage the program, and the power, for the county.

Problems discussed for the first two options included a lack of county staff and current ability for the county to run and manage its own power aggregate full time under the first option, and a first-choice power preference for Trinity dam hydropower if the county were to join with Humboldt’s Redwood Coast Authority CCA.

Power poles and power lines currently maintained by PG&E would still be maintained by the company at a contracted rate under all scenarios.

After a lengthy discussion, the board voiced their decision to draft an ordinance stating their intent to pursue forming a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with TPUD.

Sup. Dan Frasier, as acting board chair, asked county counsel to prepare an ordinance to form the CCA as a joint powers agreement with TPUD. The ordinance will be reviewed by Supervisors Jeremy Brown and Jill Cox before being signed by Frasier. As of Tuesday’s print deadline the ordinance had yet to be drafted.

Paul Hauser, director for TPUD, was present at the meeting and said that TPUD was willing to join in a JPA.

“The JPA option, I think, works great and I believe that my board very much will support forming a JPA,” Hauser said.

He also agreed that joining Humboldt’s CCA could be problematic.

“We are the only entity in California administering a first preference right to Trinity hydropower,” Hauser said.

He later explained more about first-choice preference to The Journal.

Under the 1955 (HR 4663) Trinity River Division act, citizens of Trinity County are promised first-use of up to 25% of all power generated from the Trinity dam. Currently, Hauser says TPUD uses less than half of that 25% and could easily incorporate all current Trinity PG&E customers into their grid.

Hauser also noted that while savings should be expected for any PG&E customers who end up with TPUD through formation of a JPA, current TPUD customers would see no change to their rates due to any JPA, but would still be subject to the recent rate hikes expected as reported in The Journal last week.

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