Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar Toolkit: Part Nine
This is part one of Environment America Research & Policy Center's Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar Toolkit: Establish a municipal utility or community choice aggregation.
Local governments can own and operate municipal utilities as not-for-profit ventures. Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) on the other hand, which function as profit-driven private businesses, serve most customers in the U.S.. Electric Cooperatives fall somewhere in between the two. Like municipal utilities, they operate as not-for-profit enterprises, but governed by their customers rather than local governments.
Community choice aggregation (CCA) offers an alternative in which the city, rather than the utility, is responsible for purchasing power. However, the private utility still maintains the transmission lines and provides customer services. CCAs can offer more local control over a community’s electricity sources as well as more renewable energy than some utilities provide. By aggregating demand through a CCA, communities can also negotiate better rates with suppliers. Not all states have authorized CCAs, but they can expedite the transition to clean energy where there are enabled.