During the October 12th Irvine City Council meeting, Councilmember Larry Agran expressed strong concerns regarding the City’s funding of the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA).
At his first opportunity to speak, Agran noted that weeks ago he had submitted a request for the City Council to agendize a presentation and discussion of the OCPA for the October 12th Council meeting. However, none of his Council colleagues responded to Agran’s request. (Under Mayor Khan’s heavily-criticized “Rule of Two,” a request to agendize any matter requires support from a second Councilmember.)
Instead, Agran was forced to use his time during the “Council Announcements” portion of the City Council meeting to raise his concerns.
Last year, the previous Council agreed to fund the OCPA through 2022. So far, the City has advanced $7.5 million of Irvine taxpayer money to the energy start-up. However, Agran stated that since taking office last December, the current Council “has yet to receive even one public briefing, with appropriate disclosures and accountability for all OCPA financial dealings.” (Irvine City Councilmember Mike Carroll is Chair of the five-member OCPA Board and Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan is also a board member.)
Agran pointed to recent news articles that report the energy start-up is likely to be delivering dirtier, more expensive electricity than the City’s current provider, Southern California Edison. If that happens, Agran said that “it would seem that thousands of Irvine businesses and homeowners alike will choose to opt-out as customers of the Orange County Power Authority.”
Agran continued: “If that happens, what are the chances of a timely, successful launch of the Orange County Power Authority next year? And if the OCPA fails, how many Irvine taxpayer dollars will be lost? These — and other — important questions need to be answered, and quickly.”
Before he could finish speaking during his allotted time of five minutes, Agran was interrupted by the Mayor. But Agran insisted on completing his announcement, emphasizing that he was renewing his request for a full discussion of the Orange County Power Authority be put on the next Council meeting agenda, which is scheduled for October 26th. (Once again, Agran’s request was met with silence by the Mayor and her Council majority.)