Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Letters Reveal Wide Support For More Direct Access

May 7, 2013

Diverse spectrum of consumers call for competitively priced electricity

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — 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.

Media Contacts:
Bryan Lee (RESA), 301-717-2988
Andrea Morrison (AReM), 916-759-7052
Emma Post (COMPETE), 212-446-1878

SOURCE Retail Energy Supply Association

Source: PR Newswire