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Civic Auditorium

The Hanford City Council meets inside the Hanford Civic Auditorium.

HANFORD — The Hanford City Council had a full agenda for its meeting Tuesday night, which included discussions on Community Choice Aggregation and a new playground at Lacey Park.

Community Choice Aggregation

In December 2018, Council adopted an ordinance that established a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program and approved an implementation plan and statement of intent.

Community Choice Aggregation, signed into law in 2002, grants California cities the right to combine the electricity load of its residents and businesses into a community-wide electricity aggregation program.

Right now, most of Hanford is served by Southern California Edison and the Industrial Park is served by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Under a Community Choice Aggregation program, the incumbent utility — Southern California Edison or PG&E — continues to be responsible for electricity delivery and transmission, owning and maintaining the power and transmission infrastructure, reading the meter, and billing and collecting from customers.

The only change under a CCA program is that power consumed by customers is purchased by the Community Choice Aggregation, with the revenues collected staying in the city to benefit the citizens and businesses.

Under a CCA, Hanford customers could receive and increased opportunity to choose the type of electricity they prefer to come into their home, like renewable energy or a lower-cost option. In addition to the financial benefits, Community Choice Aggregation structure results in the Hanford City Council having full control of rate setting, budget approval, policy setting and program direction.

An additional fund would be established in the city’s budget and operate like the water or sewer fund, with reserves that would not affect the general fund.

Barbara Boswell of California Choice Energy Authority, a joint powers authority, gave an update presentation to Council Tuesday night.

The start-up cost for the program would be about $541,000. Over 5 years, Boswell said estimates indicate that Hanford could accumulate around 10 million in net surplus and reserves. On the agenda for Council consideration was to:

  1. Approve $100,000 Community Choice Aggregation bond payment to the California Public Utilities Commission;
  2. Authorize and direct staff to enter into a Community Choice Aggregation Service Agreement with Southern California Edison;
  3. Authorize and direct staff to enter into an agreement with California Choice Energy Authority for Community Choice Aggregation Implementation Services in an amount not to exceed $160,000;
  4. Approve 2018 Renewables Portfolio Standard Procurement Plan and Authorize City Manager to sign and submit on behalf of Hanford.

After some discussion, Council voted 3-1, with Vice Mayor John Draxler absent, to approve the above recommendations. Councilman Art Brieno, who said he needed more time to research the issue, was the only “no” vote.

Due to the many steps involved, if the council continues to pursue the option — which they are not obligated to do should priorities change — anticipated implementation is not expected until September 2020 or later.

If the city eventually does go through with the program, Hanford customers who wish to stay with the incumbent utility provider have the ability to opt out of the Community Choice Aggregation.

At the May 7 City Council meeting, CalChoice will bring forward an updated CCA financial proforma and implementation timeline. Boswell said she will be back many more times over the next several months as things progress.

Lacey Park

Council unanimously approved the purchase of a new playground structure at Lacey Park. The structure is for kids ages 5-12 years old

The Parks and Recreation Department applied for and received $156,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding in November 2018.

Parks Superintendent Alvin Dias said this is the second year the department has obtained CDBG funding to make improvements at Lacey Park. Last year, the playground for 2-5-year-olds was replaced.

The all new playground structure, which will include ample shade and even a zip line, will be created by NSP3 and the entire project will cost $149,980.

Dias said the goal is for the structure to be ready by June 1.

More from Council

Council awarded a bid for the 13th Avenue and Grangeville Boulevard traffic signal project. The project will also include widening the roadway south of the intersection to match what is currently in front of Sierra Pacific High School, curb and gutter and water main extension.

Public Works Director Lou Camara said work will begin right after school is out and continue for 120 days. He said there will be some construction when school back, but hopefully roadway construction will be complete at that time.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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