The ongoing saga at the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) may have reached a decisive turning point. On May 16th, the Huntington Beach City Council voted to withdraw from the embattled four-city agency.
The Huntington Beach representative on the OCPA board supported the move, calling the agency “a total disaster and doomed for failure.”
Meanwhile, Irvine City Councilmembers Larry Agran and Mike Carroll have placed an item on the May 23rd City Council agenda to discuss Irvine’s continued involvement with OCPA.
Since rejoining the City Council in late 2020, Agran has called out OCPA for its corruption, broken promises, and price-gouging of Irvine electricity ratepayers.
In fact, last December Councilman Agran introduced a motion for Irvine to give OCPA a notice of withdrawal from the agency, effective July 1, 2023. However, Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmembers Tammy Kim and Kathleen Treseder refused to support Agran’s motion. Their NO vote means that Irvine is stuck in OCPA for at least another year.
In calling for Irvine’s withdrawal, Agran said: “OCPA promised Irvine electricity customers cleaner electricity at cheaper monthly rates. That fundamental promise has been broken. Irvine needs to get out of OCPA so that we can pursue real and meaningful environmental initiatives instead of continuing to waste Irvine taxpayer and ratepayer money on this failed enterprise.”
For his part, Councilmember Carroll — who formerly chaired the OCPA board — has said that he believes Irvine needs to get out of OCPA now, or it will be left “holding the bag” when the agency falls apart. Irvine is the only member to have put City funds into the agency, loaning it $7.75 million in startup costs and underwriting a $35 million credit facility for energy purchases.
The wider effect of the Huntington Beach action is not yet clear, as OCPA has never done an analysis of the impact of member cities leaving.