AB 2145, the monopoly utility bill meant to kill Community Choice energy programs in California, continues to move forward in the State legislature. On Thursday, August 14, despite the best efforts of a broad coalition opposing the bill, AB 2145 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now headed for a full floor vote before the end of August.
However, the Appropriations Committee amended the bill, further weakening it. The new language removes a five-year rate setting requirement for Community Choice programs, signalling another victory for Californians for Energy Choice, the broad statewide coalition of over 150 local government, environmental, social equity, business, and labor groups.
Previously, on August 4, after impressive testimony from about 20 organizations* (see the video), the Appropriations Committee placed the bill on Suspense. This action signified that AB 2145 would cost the state more than $150 thousand per year to implement, an assertion backed up by a fiscal analysis released by Californians for Energy Choice.
The opposition worked hard to keep AB 2145 on suspense, where it would have died a natural death. However, despite intensive lobbying, which included hiring a lobbyist, David Balla-Hawkins, Committee Democrats voted 5-0 to pass the amended bill on to the full Senate for a floor vote. Committee Republicans did not vote, indicating they might have problems with the bill.
Californians for Energy Choice is continuing its efforts to defeat the bill. Our lobbyist David Balla-Hawkins is working on overdrive, and the statewide opposition has updated its position to focus on the remaining problematic provisions.
Although AB 2145 has been weakened, its purpose is still to undermine Community Choice, and it can still be amended on the floor to become more virulent. Organizations are being asked to send an opposition letter to the full Senate by emailing it to David Balla-Hawkins at ARTconsulting@hotmail.com and copying Colin Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* List of organizations that testified at the August 4 Appropriations Committee hearing in opposition to AB 2145: